Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Young Adult.
Source: Purchased from Amazon
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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.
Let’s just start by saying that Illuminae has been on the top of my most anticipated list for some time now. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the book and I was nervous and thought that maybe my expectations were far too high. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case and I adored this story.
This book is one that I would highly recommend reading in its physical format. Illuminae is without a doubt the most creative book I’ve ever read. The story is presented to us by second hand documents, such as dossiers, emails and surveillance footage. This is what initially drew me in to the book. I was nervous about how this format would affect my connection to the characters but that was not the case. Through this unconventional method of storytelling, the sense of unpredictability and mystery came to the forefront and there were moments that well and truly caught me off guard and I honestly could not predict what would happen next.
As well as the creativeness of the book, we are also presented with an array of different characters. The story centred on the characters of Kady and Ezra. Following their recent split, Kady and Ezra are thrown back together by the attack on their home and the countless mysteries and inconsistencies in the reports documenting the events that have taken place since. For the majority of the book, these two are separated on different ships so their communications often take place via messages and emails. It took me a while to believe and feel the connection between them but their conversations and interactions with one another well and truly sucked me in by the end.
However, Kady and Ezra aren’t the only characters we meet in this story and one of the highlights of the book was the introduction of AIDAN, the ships artificial intelligence system. I loved getting to read his thoughts and I was very happy with the way this character was utilised so I’m excited to see where the next book takes him.
If I’m going to be picky, I will say that some elements of the book felt very similar to These Broken Stars, Amie’s other co-written series. I also would have liked to get a bit more world building as I felt that the scope of this universe wasn’t as fully explored as I’d have liked.
Overall this is without a doubt the most creative book I’ve ever encountered. The story and the characters are equally as compelling and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.