Review: “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

What a wild and heart-pounding ride! This is one of those books I’ve heard so much about; it was so hyped that I was afraid I wouldn’t like it as I’ve been disappointed by a variety of hyped books. But I can say with a smile on my face that this book was fantastic!

IlluminaeTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 20, 2015
Length: 608 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”

four and a half starsMy Thoughts

All right. Do yourself a favor (if you can) and listen to this via audiobook. It is absolutely fantastic. I was hesitant because I know the formatting is unique in the book, and I thought it wouldn’t come across well via audiobook. Fortunately, it did and it was actually quite fun to follow along in the physical book, because there are pictures, diagrams, and graphs along with a handful of other things that can’t cross over from audio to print.

While I would like to give this a full 5 stars, I had a small list of problems. In the beginning, I was quite confused as to why Kerenza, the colony the two main characters live on, was attached and who exactly was behind it. And then when we learn who the culprit (most likely is) I can’t help but still ask the question, “Why?” Okay, I know it most likely wouldn’t be revealed until later in the series, but that didn’t stop the nagging feeling in the back of my mind. The ending, however, did clear up some of the confusion, and made me shout, “Oh my gosh!” because seriously, I did not see that coming.

As for the two main characters, Kady and Ezra, I wasn’t sure what to think of them. But, as usual, as the story progressed, I found myself liking both of them and their romantic relationship (despite the distance). I loved how cool and collected Kady was in many of the situations, and their continued conversations with each other, under their circumstances, was incredibly fun to read and eventually turned into some heart-wrenching, on-the-edge of my seat kind of action. But God, I love how resourceful and smart both Ezra and Kady are.

And yet, books like these are reminders of why AIs freak me out so much. 😅 I’d heard quite a great deal about AIDAN and how much people liked it, but after this first book, I’m thinking… How? Maybe it changes in Gemina. Who knows? I was okay with the sort of “change” that took place in AIDAN and how it “helped.” But that also had me asking the question, “Why?” What makes that particular character so endearing to it? Hopefully, that’ll be explored in the following books.

My current debate is whether or not to listen to the next book like I did with Illuminae. 🤔

You can purchase this book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository (U.K. edition), IndieBound, or other major booksellers.

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