Book Review: Aurora Rising

I needed something – anything – to listen to while I was making expensive saltwater at work. I got this audiobook from the library because it was marked as “Always Available,” thus no wait time.

The Book

Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
2019
Amazon Link

There’s really not much you need to know about this book in terms of warnings or generic “people may not like this.” Unless, of course, you want to count the fact that this is so very YA.

On With The Review

This book was just not my thing. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of YA – and, in this book, all the typical YA elements made it so, so much harder for me to read. In a nutshell: play the Mass Effect trilogy to get a better story with better characters and better villains.

Reasons I think this is a fanfic of Mass Effect but with teenagers and YA tropes:

  1. Everyone was overly sexualized. Except in the book it was dumber because things “sounded like two [insert alien animal here] trying to have sex”.
  2. There was an ancient, dead species who left clues for a way to defeat an ancient villain.
  3. A techy character with intensive disability (Fin in Aurora, Joker in Mass Effect)
  4. A snarky computer (Magellan in Aurora, Edi in Mass Effect)
  5. A war between the humans and the warrior race (Syldrathi in Aurora, Turians in Mass Effect)
  6. A species that infects another and takes over their body (Raham in Aurora, Thorians in Mass Effect)
  7. Upstart humans have become important in the military and are part of the interstellar school for badasses
  8. Psychics/Biotics

If you played Mass Effect, there is literally no reason to read this book.

 YA tropes in this book I hated:

The characters were too young to be sent off as soldiers on their own. The book acted like they were a normal crew of warriors for the GIA (which, if I’m being honest, I don’t remember what it stands for other than ‘The Man’), but it seemed to me like they should have been some sort of black ops or elite group. They also had 0 (zero) grunts and were all highly trained officers. The idea behind the space travel was that as one got older, it got harder to stay awake through the fold (a wormhole), and that was the excuse as to why only young people appeared in the book. I thought, however, that the lack of older characters – especially commanders who might send orders to the ship – was appallingly lacking.

Another YA trope that got me hard was the “everyone here is an outcast because they’re terrible, but now we’re family” sort of thing. Kill off all the parents, ostracize all the children, make everyone in the whole group look for a new family. Then, once they find this friend group works, they attach to each other like leeches. It makes for extremely awkward, repetitive dialogue. When the characters turn out to be “the best, but just bored at school or with personality issues that are magically solved by being in this family,” I just don’t dig it. In this book, every main character fit into this trope, and there were altogether too many main characters for my taste.

Next: the eyes and hair. I literally could care less about people’s multicolor, flower-shaped, or red eyes or their silver hair or whatever. Why is it so common in YA to have fancy eyes? I’ve never liked that trope, never found it interesting. It makes these characters with weird eyes have hardcore Mary Sue complexes, even beyond the “everyone hates me” tropes mentioned above.

Also, the “oh no, I’m super hot and have all these great powers, but I’m a weapon” boo-hoo nonsense. At least you’re not a whore like Scarlet, the diplomat of the group (which why do they have a diplomat in the army? Shouldn’t that be a separate field? Whatever).

I had thought this book couldn’t be worse than City of Bones because it was sci-fi, but lord it made me angry because it was so cliche and not creative in the least. If you’re a sci-fi fan, you’re getting nothing new out of this. Nothing.

1/5 Discoball Snowcones

What I’m Reading Next:

I’m going to finish How to Fight Presidents soon enough, but I’m also reading the indie book The Gossamer Globe! Stay tuned.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Aurora Rising

  1. Priscilla Bettis says:

    Hmm, maybe young people with terrible home lives would enjoy the book (because of the absence of parents and because of the ersatz family made up of characters that are other than blood relatives). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Better luck with your next read!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I do think teens would be more liely to enjoy it. I really do wish I’d be more discerning when deciding if I’d want to read a YA book. It just seems there’s more YA fantasy and sci-fi than adult Spec Fic.

  2. Berthold Gambrel says:

    It’s funny; this sounds awful, and as you say, like a total Mass Effect rip-off. Yet, for some reason, I felt strangely tempted to read it. Then I saw it was nine bucks on Kindle and said “Nah.” 😀

    I’ll be eager to hear what you think of “The Gossamer Globe”.

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