Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Title: Illuminae
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Format: Hardcover

Page Count: 608

Rating: 

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.

BRIEFING NOTE: 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. (taken from goodreads.com)


“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all.
It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you.
The only way it will remember you is if you do something worthy of remembrance."

When your best friend and #1 reading buddy plops a book in your lap and tells you that YOU MUST READ IT RIGHT NOW, you don't waste time: you crack that sucker open and start reading. As soon as I heard her raving review of Illuminae, I knew I was in for a ride. Boy, Kristoff and Kaufman did not disappoint. I guess there's a reason that 99 percent of the book blogging community has been singing this book's praises for almost two years now.

Okay, so let's start with the basic structure of this novel, which is unlike anything I've ever read. The entire story is crafted through a series of military files, artistic renderings of artificial intelligence, interviews, and most predominantly, instant messages. I'll admit that at first I really was hesitant about embracing such an odd storytelling method, but in the end, I think it really worked for this strange piece of science fiction. Not only did it feel a little bit more authentic, but it also lent an extremely original feel to this already fascinating space tale. Additionally, I find it extremely impressive that I was able to bond with the characters despite the unusual writing style.

I will admit that certain parts of this document story telling confused me. With so many references to coding, hacking, artificial intelligence, space travel, etc., it was a bit difficult for a non-sciencey person like myself to keep up. I don't venture into the realm of science fiction very often, possibly because I end up with a headache whenever I do. These references definitely didn't deter my admiration for Illuminae, but they did have me skimming sections of the novel occasionally.

Like I said, I find it insane that I grew to love the characters through little more than text messages, security video descriptions, and interviews. Bravo to the authors for impressively crafting deep, compelling characters in such an unusual manner.

As for the plot... well, that was a wild ride. We've got everything from ginormous space ships to futuristic battles and dangerous plagues. Seriously, buckle your seatbelts because it's going to be a bumpy ride with this sci-fi novel. I flew through it in almost one night, which is pretty crazy considering how busy I've been lately.

Final statement: I'm sure you've already been told to read this book by someone, but let me join in the choir and say that this book rocks. Definitely give it a shot if you're in the mood for science fiction with a splash of romance and reckless shenanigans. Oh, and don't worry, I've already made plans to pick up the second book, Gemina, ASAP.