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.