Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted September 28, 2015 by lockhartbecca in Reviews / 0 Comments


Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher at BEA
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***


Synopsis from Goodreads:


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.


But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review:


How do I even begin to describe how awesome and amazing this book is? The first thing I should say is that it is the most uniquely written book I’ve ever encountered. It’s not your standard book with chapters and just written word. No. This book is full of IM exchanges. Confidential memos. Transcripts of communications. A log of the thoughts of the AI system running a battleship. Diagrams of the ships’ interiors and exteriors. It’s literally a dossier of information about the attack on a planet called Kerenza and the subsequent attack on the battleship Alexander. It’s so cool looking, but still, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get it with all the scattered information. No worries. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are geniuses. They weave the story into all of these various documents and turn it into a comprehensive, coherent and completely badass story that will have you begging for the next one and praying that somehow this makes it to the big screen (because seriously wouldn’t this make an awesome movie???).


The battle scenes were definitely my favorite part of this book. Here’s the thing. They aren’t really described. We get snippets of words floating around on the pages. On black pages. And for some reason that blackness makes you feel like you’re in space. And those snippets of words and shouts and orders and screams and death and explosions make you feel like you are there. You are in the battle with the other pilots and the chaos surrounds you and you’re maneuvering and dodging and doing your damn best to survive. The chaotic way this book is written puts you right in the thick of the action.


The main character, Kady is a hacker. After breaking up with her boyfriend, her planet is attacked and she’s forced to flee with said ex-boyfriend to the Alexander and the Hypatia, two ships rescuing refugees before their planet is blown to smithereens. Kady ends up on the Hypatia while Ezra (the bf) ends up on the Alexander. Ezra is immediately conscripted into the military and trained to be a pilot. Kady keeps her head down and no one really notices her, but the whole time she’s hacking into the system, digging for information about what really happened and why. And that is the meat of the story. What’s really going on here? Why did certain events take place? You think you know the answers and then your jaw drops to the floor as the authors throw twist after twist in your face. And you’re furiously turning the pages to find out what happens and before you know it, it’s over and you’re crying for the next book.


Seriously. Amazing. The pacing is just right, not too fast, but definitely keeps you turning the pages. Even though the information is given to you kind of piecemeal, it’s still easy to follow the story that’s unfolding. I can’t gush or rave about it enough. It’s incredible and you have to read it. And while I’m on this book-pushing part of my review, you have to read it in physical format. I know they’re selling it on Kindle, but I’m just not sure how an ebook could possibly do this one justice. With the diagrams and the unique way this story is written I just think that this is one you HAVE to have the physical book when reading. Trust me on this, okay?


So I did have two tiny issues with the book. The romance. I never really felt it. It was sweet and cute and I believed in it, but it didn’t give all the feels I wanted it to. Maybe it was because Ezra was just so damn nice and I always fall for the bad boy? I don’t know exactly what it was. It wasn’t instalove or anything. I believed in them as a couple. I just missed those warm fuzzies.


And then there is a little bit of a zombie feel to the book due to certain circumstances and I’m just not a fan of zombies so that part made me cringe a little. But I overlooked it because I was already so invested in the book. And it wasn’t a deal breaker for me at all. And if you like zombies then this won’t be a problem at all. Just thought it was worth mentioning.


But other than those two teensy, tiny things, this book was phenomenal. I’ve decided that Amie Kaufman is a master of all things space and I obviously need to go read some more of Jay Kristoff’s work because he is a master as well. I can’t wait for the next one!


Have you read this one? What did you think? 

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