Review: Illuminae – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

23395680This 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.

Rating: 4/5

I’m so glad I waited until I got hold of the paperback to read this one – considering the rather creative format, the effect would have been dampened by reading it on my iPad. And while the epistolary format didn’t work for everyone, I certainly enjoyed it for the most part.

This was very much a YA sci-fi – and I say that with love. I don’t think it’s the kind of book that will have crossover appeal to readers of ‘adult sci-fi’. Ezra and Kady are very much teenagers in this one, not serious mini-adults, if that makes sense? Again, this isn’t a criticism, just an observation.

The authors are fantastic at ratcheting up the tension. I read the book in the course of a day – things were just too intense for me to put the novel down. I am also very impressed at the way they deftly portrayed the awful decisions those in power have to make when it comes to prizing the safety of the whole over the well-being of the parts. Finally, another point in this book’s favour was the way they managed to make me like characters in only a few short sentences – only to kill them off a few pages later.

All in all, it was a good, solid story. I did have trouble keeping facts straight (who is on what ship doing what?!) and I thought the last few pages were a bit over the top in the big-bad-villain kind of way (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean). Also, I’m flipping terrified of artificial intelligence now, thanks guys. (The exact day I finished the book there was a full page article in the newspaper from a professor about how we need to be wary about how much AI we incorporate into our lives. THANKS GUYS.) Despite my complaints though, I’m rather excited for the next instalment.

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15 thoughts on “Review: Illuminae – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

  1. I really enjoyed this too! My least favorite part of the book was Aidan the AI. For some reason I just didn’t like his “voice”, and I just thought the humans were much more interesting. But I loved how much of a horror story it turned out to be!

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  2. I have heard so many amazing things about this book! I am dying to read it! The way it is written sounds super interesting to me, I haven’t really read many books that aren’t in regular writing format(that doesn’t sound right xD…?) Not to mention action is my best friend. High intensity books with death, death, and more death are the books for me! I do very much believe that my loving of death is 100% normal… I am not evil…

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  3. I started reading this one last year but I stopped because I got to all those ship diagrams and I got bored (whoops) but before that I was really enjoying myself so I shall go back and keep reading this!

    Lovely review, Hannah <33

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