Book Review: Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20, 2015

Series: The Illuminae Files #1

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: hardcover, 599

Source: library

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Purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble

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.

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What an entertaining story this was! In this first book in The Illuminae Files trilogy, we are introduced to our main characters, Kady and Ezra, and follow their adventure that starts on a normal day and ends with them fighting for survival in space.

How we meet them, however, is a bit different than the usual novel. The format of Illuminae is a series of hacked documents, including interviews, emails, medical reports, and so much more. This did make it take a bit longer to get absorbed into the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed it! For one thing, it made me feel like I was actively investigating a series of incidents (aka, playing detective, which is just so much fun). For another, the majority of the files were only a couple pages long, which made it easy to read even just for five minutes at a time. Which I did, whenever I had a spare five minutes.

I don’t know the details of how Kaufman and Kristoff co-wrote this book, but whatever they did, it worked for me. The cinematic quality helped set the stage for an intriguing setting and made it easy to envision. Dialogue felt realistic, down to the misspelling that happened more often when characters felt pressure or panic. And the sarcasm and wry humor was right up my alley.

Sure, the story kicks off with the deaths of thousands of people, but god forbid there be cussing in it, right?

Overall, this book was just so much fun. This unique format won’t be for everyone, but if it sounds like something you’d like, I urge you to give this book a try.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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