Friday, 2 October 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release date: October 20th 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 215

Source: NetGalley

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.

There was so much hype surrounding this book that I was initially kind of nervous about reading it. But it ended up being just as great as I thought it would be! Illuminae is such a well-written, innovative and captivating book. Sci-fi fans everywhere need to pick this one up as soon as they can.

I really enjoyed the format of this novel. As everyone knows, it's not written in the normal prose form. Instead, we get to know the story and characters through IM messages, emails, official reports, journal entries, interviews, etc. And all these documents are hacked and retrieved by Illuminae.

Our protagonists are Kady and Ezra, whose home planet suffered an attack, and only a few escaped with their lives, now survivors on three different spaceships. Kady just broke up with Ezra before the attack happened, so things are pretty awkward between them at first. But they need each other to escape. The two of them end up on different ships, and communicate through IMs to figure out what happened and how to fix the numerous problems cropping up on the ships.

Since I was reading an eARC of the book, the text of some pages were way too small for me to read, and I couldn't even zoom in. So there are a few things I missed out, like the Wikipedia-style entries and a few other one-page documents. I feel like that really would have helped me figure out what was happening, because things get pretty technical in this book. But once I got past that and into the actual plot, I was sold.

Kaufman and Kristoff weave complex threads together to tie into a fantastic sci-fi novel that'll give readers a unique experience. I thought I wouldn't get to know the characters as well through a format like this, but I was completely wrong. I loved Kady's spunk and initiative, and her technology skills are off the charts. I also loved Ezra, and found it adorable how he'd tell Kady what he feels for her. They're apart for most of the novel, so interactions are just through IM conversations. And yet, that was enough to develop a working relationship between the two.

The eARC I read was 215 pages, but it was a lot longer than it seemed. I heard that the actual paperback book is over 600 pages, and I'm not surprised. This is a super long book, but there are no dull parts at all. Okay, the beginning is a bit slow and it took me a while to warm up to the style of writing, but other than that it's great.

I have a few little issues about the ending of the book, but I won't get into that because of spoilers. Regardless, I'm really excited to see what comes next for these characters I've already grown to love!

*Thank you to Random House for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5


  1. Excellent review. I picked up the ARC at BEA and it was a hardcover ARC and it was 599 pages. I thought this was a great book. I hope you love all your new books.

    Grace @ Books of Love

  2. Yay :D I'm so glad you mostly loved this book Richa. I loved it a bit more, hih :) But so glad you didn't hate it, lol. <3 Gorgeous review sweet girl. Hope you will buy the finished copy :) I'm getting a bunch of them, lol.

  3. Yes, lots of hype but I'm glad it wasn't disappointing :) When I first heard about Illuminae I wasn't that excited but people seem to be really enjoying it so I'll have to pick it up. I'm glad the non-prose style worked well and I'm eager to meet Kady and Ezra :D Great review!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf


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