Review: Illuminae

Illuminae,  Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Published October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, 608 pages

Source: ALA Midwinter Meeting


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.

This book can basically be summed up as totally cuckoo-bananas.  There really just aren’t enough words for me to describe this book without getting dangerously close to spoiling things.  Kady is completely a bad ass.  Ezra hurt my heart.  And AIDAN – I don’t think I have the words.  If I did find the words I think that AIDAN would appear into my computer to black them out – much like large portions of the book!  I didn’t know that reading something with so many portions blacked over would be so fascinating. Or so many pages with so little text.  Cuckoo bananas I tell you.  

I didn’t think I was going to pull for Kady and Ezra to be together when I started reading.  After all, they break up as the book begins and then they’re on completely different rescue ships.  But in drunk emails and then in hijacked IM sessions I fell for the two of them and I was pulling for a Happy Ever After ending.  Foolish foolish me.  AIDAN had other plans.  AIDAN sucker punched me through the book quite a few times while reading.  

Things with the plague went just a bit too far for me – but other than that I was completely sucked into this book.  The size is intimidating for sure, but this book flies!  The format is unlike anything else I can think of and definitely helped keep this so compelling.  I was up and down and mad and laughing while reading this.  I was also a bit shocked at the violence and grossed out  at times – so keep that in mind if you’re squeamish.  I would never have believed that I would have enjoyed two AI book characters so much this year – though Erin Bow’s Talis in The Scorpion Rules wins on personality I think.  (Sorry AIDAN – be merciful)   If you’re at all curious about this  story-telling format and can handle the violence and the sucker punches in plot you definitely should give Illuminae a chance.  I cannot wait to get my grabby hands on the next book!   Nikki at There Were Books Involved has a fantastic review if you don’t believe me. 

4 stars!

Thank you Knopf Books for Young Readers for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.


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