Tuesday, 3 November 2015

'Illuminae', by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author(s): Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Release Date: 22nd October 2015 (UK)
Publisher: Rock The Boat (Oneworld Publications)
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher (ARC)

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.


First of all, I need to state that I loved this book so much that I am reviewing it twice. I have taken upon myself the mission of spreading the word about this masterpiece as much as I can and get everyone to read it. It is a heavy burden that I will carry gladly.

I have been mesmerized by this book since the concept of it was first released. Telling a Space Opera adventure with a badass female character in the lead through a collection of files, transcripts, pictures? Sign me up!

Seriously, this book is gorgeous to look at:

What I appreciated most about this book is that it doesn't let you be a lazy reader. When you have pages full of text in a 'regular' book, you sometimes skip paragraphs because 'eh, it's just description'. With Illuminae, you have to pay attention at every turn, because you don't know what details will matter and what might help you figure out the motherload of all plot twists.

For the first 100 pages or so, I had more questions than answers. Who is the Illuminae group? Who is the 'Director', and why do they want to know what happened since the invasion of Kady's planet? Why does the collection of files revolve around Kady and Ezra, of all the thousands of people living in those spaceships?

After that, I just got so engrossed into the story that I trusted I would get my answers eventually, and simply enjoyed the ride. And what a ride it was!

Every single one of the characters in this book feels like their own person. And believe me, with so many people involved in the story, it is quite the achievement. From Kady and Ezra to the fleet and inhabitants of the ships, from AIDAN (the Artificial Intelligence system, which was so much like Ultron it was uncanny, and being a Marvel fan I absolutely adored him) to the bored staff that are reviewing footage, everyone has their own personality, their qualities and flaws, their own sense of self. It was absolutely amazing to read.

As for the romance, I need to throw my hands in the air in surrender and admit that Kady and Ezra did unexpectedly grown on me. I did not know at first how I was supposed to connect with their relationship when they are, well, broken up, in a constant near death situation, and in two completely separate ships.

Excuse the pun, but I shipped it. I shipped it hard!

And the feels. Don't even get me started on the feels.

Illuminae is a brilliantly put together book with an amazing concept and an even better execution. For hardcore fans of science fiction or people just looking for a way to dip their toes into the genre, this book will appeal to every reader. And I mean every single one. If you haven't picked this book up yet, what are you waiting for?