Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Synopsis: 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.
My thoughts: I really don’t even know what to say here. I’m afraid my feelings will get in the way of this actually being a coherent review, but I’ll do my best to keep it in check.
I kinda loved this book. Like, loved it a lot. Like, it might be my new favorite book ever.
The concept of it is so cool, and what drew me to the book in the first place: the story is told in a collection of files, messages, surveillance feeds, schematics, interviews, emails, and all sorts of things. My first worry was that, although it would be super cool, the format would make the story feel disjointed and take away some of the suspense. My second worry was that they hype for this book was so giant in my head, I would be let down no matter what.
Did I have to worry about these things? No. I most definitely did not.
Did the style of storytelling take away from it? Absolutely not. It was the coolest, awesomest, most spectacular thing ever. And the suspense…oh my word, the style just upped the ante somehow, and the end was especially freaking intense. I almost couldn’t handle it. My shoulders were sore because I was so tense and couldn’t relax, and couldn’t turned the page fast enough or read fast enough because IT WAS SO INTENSE. And just so good. Ah, I can’t say enough.
The plot was fantastic. It threw in a couple of staple YA things to keep a sense of familiarity for the readers as they were taken on this insane ride, which I appreciated. But while sticking to some familiar things, Illuminae is one of a kind. It’s amazing. The beginning was all intense with the invasion and broken relationship (I really was rooting for Ezra and Kady) and getting away from the enemy–all good stuff, right? I was enjoying myself thoroughly. And then in the middle something shifts, something I didn’t see coming at all, and it flings you onto this crazy roller coaster that you cannot get off. It left me breathless. Seriously, sometimes it was so intense I’d hold my breath, and then it would be too long and I’d start wheezing over this book. Ah, this book. Everyone needs this book in their life. Have I convinced you yet?
When describing it to my sister (because it really is hard to describe. You just have to read it for yourself) I decided Illuminae = Maze Runner + Star Wars + Avengers: Age of Ultron.
So basically cool + fantastic + the best thing ever = Illuminae
My only complaint is that you missed out on physical descriptions of the characters most of the time, so besides the two leads and a few others, I had a really hard time keeping track of who was who. Names weren’t enough. By the end, I had it figured out, but I felt that was too long. I cared enough to consider taking notes while I was reading, just to keep track, however I ended up being too engrossed to break away to write anything down. Not complaining about that.
Oh, another complaint: don’t get attached to anyone. Seriously. Because of the detached perspective, literally anyone in the book can die and it won’t affect the storytelling aspect. Your heart will be shredded to pieces. You have been warned.
Go read it, go read it, go read it. While you do, I’ll be busy dying a little inside waiting for the sequel.
Rated 5/5 because it’s Illuminae