Review: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

 

bc2Title: Illuminae (#1)

Series: The Illuminae Files

Author(s) : Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Release Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Source: Local Library

Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi (14+)

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Buy: Amazon Add to TBR: Goodreads

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Review: Illuminae is by far one of the most thrilling, unique books I’ve ever read-it’s written in a series of manuscripts, hacked documents, interviews, files, emails, IM’s, medical reports and more-and follows an attack on the planet of Kerenza-home to Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, former boyfriend and girlfriend. It tells the story of their escape to separate evacuation spaceships and the problems they face as they travel through space, trying to outrun the enemy.

It was such an intriuging experience to read a story that was told through more than just the standard format-there are visuals of spaceships and explosions, and diagrams, and I just couldn’t get enough of the way both visual and textual clues were combined to amplify the mystery of the plot and foreshadowing of what was to come.We even got a look inside the perspective of AIDAN, the ships’ stubborn Artificial Intelligence System with a scary amount of power, which refuses to back down in its ruthless attempts to “protect” the surviving citizens aboard the Hypatia and the Alexander, even as it appears to be doing more harm than good.

The fast paced plot is brimming with romance, action, violence, suspense, and horror as Kady and Ezra work together to uncover the truth surrounded in corporate conspiracy whilst fighting for their lives-and the lives of those on board the ships-even as a deadly zombie-like disease spreads, the enemy attacks, and Artificial Intelligence systems go bonkers. Throughout their hectic journey I was cringing, sobbing and pulling at my hair in frustration at the never-ending obstacles and near-deaths. I never wanted to put the book down, the tension and anticipation was never-ending.

Despite the overall morbid tone of the plot, however, there’s certainly no lack of witty remarks and dry humor. I found myself laughing over the back and forth banter between the characters as they tried to hold onto their sanity and remain optimistic even in the midst of chaos and destruction, and in the aftermath of losing their planet, family and friends.

I loved the relationship between the two main characters and how we got to see the story unfold through several different viewpoints. Kady is fiercely intelligent, spunky and brave, and Ezra matched her wit perfectly with his mix of sensitivity, goofiness and arrogance, and equal amounts of snark , intelligence and determination. It was interesting to watch their relationship unfold through a series of emails and messages sent back and forth as they put aside their disagreements and looked to each other for support and guidance in coming to terms with the end of their life as they knew it. The attraction between them was evident even in the wake of their breakup and despite the impending danger and physical separation from each other.

Kady is one of those badass female characters that you’ll learn to love. Despite her initial impression as someone full of bitterness and conceit, she comes to present herself as someone who truly cares more about others than she does herself, as she risks life and limb to get to the bottom of the reason for Biotechs attack on her home planet, and fights to keep the enemy ship from destroying everyone’s only chance at survival. She’s extremely determined and independent, and her stubborn refusal to give into authority or back down is deeply admiring.

The only qualm I had was my inability to understand some of the Sci-Fi lingo and technological aspects of the story, so I was a little confused at parts because of my lack of knowledge regarding mechanics, engineering, and high-tech computer systems. This is a book that you have to pay really close attention to, there are a lot of small details that could be easy to miss.

Despite that, this book will most definitely remain a favorite of mine for years to come and I highly recommend it to any lovers of Sci-Fi, action and romance all wrapped into one.

Rating: 5 Saturns

5stars5stars5stars5stars5stars

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