Review

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaeThis 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.


What initially appealed to me about Illuminae was the creative story telling. The novel is comprised entirely of emails, files, security camera footage and diagrams. It’s extremely fun to read and quite innovative, taking the mixed media novel to a new level.

This sprawling epic novel spans battles, epidemics, artificial intelligence (definitely inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey) and romance all set in the vastness of space. There’s always been something enticing to me about stories set in space. I find something fascinating and romantic about the idea of travelling to distant galaxies, surrounded by the silence of stars.  And Illuminae definitely delivers with its mysterious, slightly haunting tone.

While I didn’t care all that much about Kady and Ezra’s relationship, they are both really strong characters. Kady is tough and smart, Ezra brave and loyal.  Rather than just focusing on the action, Illuminae also looks at the human side of events – what happens when you are violently torn from your home and forced into a life you don’t want to lead.

Illuminae is dense and action-packed, compulsively readable and impossible to put down. I never knew what would happen next and was constantly mind-blown by new plot developments. The ending is especially crazy and I’d love to get my hands on book two!

Recommended.

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