Monday, 12 October 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Published: October 22nd 2015
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on 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. (from Goodreads)

What the eff even was this book, like why am I feeling sorry for a murderous AI? What is it doing to me? I don’t understand? Stop it? Give me the sequel? Yes?

So I was worried about the format of this book before starting it. I didn’t know how to feel about a story told through reports, interviews, transcripts etc. and I was a bit scared I might not like it. But while it took a bit of getting used to, it really did tell the story well and I actually ended up really appreciating the format and the tremendous amount of effort that must have gone into it. Seriously, some of it was so detailed - like the Unipedia pages! I was amazed. 

As for the characters. Well. As I said, the authors got me to sympathise with a literal killing machine so I don’t know what messed up sorcery they were using when they wrote this, but there you have it. I really liked both Kady and Ezra, who were the two main characters. Kady was a hacking expert and used her skills to find out what was really happening, because she knew the officials were not giving everyone the whole story. She was determined to find the truth, and she was so…passionate about it? I don’t know, but I definitely felt for her. And she saved lives with what she did. She had to make some hard decisions, she had to experience some awful things, but she saved lives. I loved her scenes at the end, especially with AIDAN. Something about the way all of that was written…it got to me. I also liked that she wasn’t afraid to let people know that she wasn’t going to give up. Some of her dialogue was a bit much at times (by that I’m talking about the intimidation/trash talk, it was a bit funny when it wasn’t meant to be) but it got the message across and I am very much looking forward to book two.

Ezra was not as gifted as Kady in the technology department but was a good pilot among other things and was pretty funny - some of his conversations with his friend Jimmy really made me laugh. He also obviously cared about Kady (to the point where he was being cheesy at times) and honestly, I’m still not sure why they broke up at the beginning of the book? It was half-explained, but I would have liked more. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% invested in the romance because I think it was a tiny bit cheesy (the dialogue, mainly) and the two of them didn’t actually get to spend much time together in person. But I’m on board with it and think it could really be developed in book two (if book two even follows the same characters - I really, really hope it does!).

Plot-wise, whoa. Okay. Let’s try to be coherent here. Ermm well it wasn’t what I expected. This book was pretty dark (a LOT of people died - including characters you may get attached to). There was a list of all the names of people who died in a incident, and it included their pictures too, and it was kind of disturbing. But a good use of the format. Though, speaking of format, what are they going to do for book two? The same sort of thing? I’d be happy with that. Some crazy stuff I would never have guessed also happened in this book. That twist. That damn twist. I just didn’t see it coming! I should have, but I didn’t, and I loved it. And back to the format - it was really cool. It complemented the story very well - some of the reports were so engrossing! Sometimes there was a bit of info-dumping which was slightly dull, but rarely, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. And some things were surprisingly humorous (for a book like this, anyway - that drunk email!).

Overall, I really enjoyed Illuminae, more than I thought I would, and would definitely recommend it to sci-fi fans (especially if you liked the Skychaser series or These Broken Stars).


  1. This book sounds so weird! Someone else reviewed it recently and I just can't decide if I should bother with it. You've got me leaning more towards it but I'm still uncertain!

  2. I have this to read soon! I'm so glad you ended up enjoying it. I love the format of it, but it's good to hear it worked so well for a lot of people. You never know! i didn't realize it was going to have a sequel - good to know!



Comments are better than frosted cupcakes :)