Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


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.


Review: I’m not sure what to say about this book that hasn’t already been said. This book gets a ton of hype. Everyone seems to love it, and I’m not any different. For me, it mostly lived up to the hype. It has all the humor, darkness, and action that I was promised.

I'm pretty sure that the whole Internet has already seen this book naked. (What a dirty, dirty book.) But, if you haven't, this is what's under the dust jacket.


If you’ve been living under a space rock and don’t know what this book is about, I’ll tell you. Shortly after teenagers Kady and Ezra break up, their planet is invaded, and they are forced onto different rescue ships. When a plague breaks out and the ships’ AI starts malfunctioning, Kady and Ezra have to work together to figure out what is happening. The story is told as a casefile. It includes emails, reports, interviews, IMs, etc.

First, if you’re worried about the structure of this book, don’t be. It’s very easy to follow and not confusing at all. I wanted to read Illuminae because I was told that it was experimental, but it isn’t very experimental. There are other stories that have been told in similar ways. So, please don’t let the casefile structure put you off reading it. It’s not as intimidating as it seems, and the book is a quick read despite its chunky size.

I think the authors handled the nontraditional structure brilliantly. I was surprised at how much tension this story has. I thought that the document structure would make the plot lose immediacy, but it’s actually suspenseful. I stayed up way too late to finish the book because I couldn’t go to sleep without knowing how it ended.

One of my favorite pages.


I was also surprised at how quickly I got attached to the characters. They have very distinctive personalities that really come through in their conversations. It’s amazing how much character development can happen through dialogue alone. Ezra is my favorite. I literally laughed out loud at some of his dialogue.

Also, there is a twist at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming. Looking back, I should have seen it, but I didn’t. It’s hard for a book to catch me totally off-guard. I’m usually pretty good at picking up on little clues and guessing what’s coming, but this twist snuck up on me.

My only complaint (and it’s a fairly big one) is that the story has a lot of sci-fi tropes. There is a stereotypical badass heroine; a zombie-ish plague; and an evil, super-powerful AI. I feel like I’ve seen this before. I wanted more originality in the story.

Despite that issue, I’m excited to continue with the series. I like the themes that the book explores (such as keeping sight of what’s important in life), and I’m interested to see where the series goes next.






  

22 comments:

  1. I actually picked this book up at the bookstore, flipped through it, and was immediately confused by the different structure. With much shame, I admit I put it back on the shelf and moved on. But I'm glad to see that the structure doesn't hinder the story! I'm definitely going to have to give this one a read since it's been getting so much hype!
    Great review :)
    Erika @ Books, Stars, and the Pages in Between

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    1. I hope you like it if you read it. I didn’t find the structure confusing at all.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I read this book a few months back and I loved it! I don't read much science fiction so I don't really know the tropes, but from just a readers standpoint, it had me hooked after about 100 pages. I couldn't put it down. I love the format and wasn't scared or worried I couldn't follow, though personally this is the first book I've read with this type of format. Great review!

    Carrie @The Book Goddess

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    1. The formatting did help me get past some of the tropes. The formatting made them a lot more interesting.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I absolutely adored the crazy formatting of this book! Glad you loved it too!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I did! I’m looking forward to the next one.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. I agree that there were a lot of clichés here, but once I got swept away by a wicked twist I was hooked! The unique formatting and everything else just made of for the overuse of familiar tropes! Happy you enjoyed this one too!

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  5. Nice! I have been hearing lots of good things about this one as well! I keep debating about it but it does sound rather intriguing! Great review!!

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    1. It is a very interesting book. Good characters and plot twists.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. I cannot wait to get this book (looooong waiting line in library!) I saw some of the pictures and got even more anxious!!! :)

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    1. I was on a waiting list for a while too, but it was so long that I just ended up buying the book. Luckily I found it on sale.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. I absolutely loved this book too! The cover & format were both super genius and unique. And I really loved the humor and characters and the twists and all the feels that came with this book. I think it's safe to say that I'm super excited for the next book haha. :D

    -Cari @ myaddictionbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. I’m excited, too. I was actually surprised at how funny this book is. I hope the next one also has a sense of humor.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. I am SO glad you liked this book. I really hate it when books don't live up to their hype. It just makes me so sad.

    I should REALLY get it. Great Review:)

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/

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  9. I loved this book so much! I see what you mean when you say that t's downfall is the originality of the sci fi aspects of the story, however I also feel like you're wrong. I haven't really seen a sci fi story that encompasses all of those stories in one: a powerful AI, a plague and a badass heroine. I mean those stories have been told time and again on their own, but I can say I haven't read it as a story all in one before.

    I can understand how it may feel a little unoriginal due to the storyline not being completely new though.

    The layout of this book was so much fun! How is your in colour? My book is all black and white!

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

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    1. I’m glad you liked it, too. Only the front cover (under the dust jacket) is in color. The inside is black and white.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. I totally believe in the hype for this book--which I really don't often say. I think I've just been putting this book off because I got it into my head that I needed the physical copy to fully enjoy it and I keep forgetting about it whenever I buy new books. Excuses.

    Great review! I was nervous to check out anyone's reviews of this book all this time because of spoilers and wanting to go in pretty much blind, but you definitely didn't disappoint me there. :) Hopefully I can get to this book soon and jump on that hype train.

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    1. Don't read this book on an ereader! I tried to and it reallyyyy didn't work. The layout is completely lost. I ended up buying the book and loved it. However I'm guessing reading it on a coloured ereader is different and the format isn't lost.

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    2. Yeah, I don’t think this book would work on an e-reader. The format is just too weird.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. I did not love it. I'm a little sad about that. I liked it, but that's all. And--old lady complaint here--the white-on-black pages where the lines swooped around were pretty much impossible for me to read. I just skimmed over them. And I was assuming all along that the video surveillance descriptions were written by Ezra, since they were clearly in his voice, so the twist and counter-twist seemed pointless.

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