A Review of Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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.

– – – – –

Rating: 4.75/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: page 419 is a LIFE RUINER, page 598 more than made up for it; interesting take on what I’m calling the zombie plague (in space!); lots of space-y science fiction yumminess; AWESOME, intriguing formatting; snarky, wonderful characters with epic growth arcs; this whole read is just…asdfghjkl;!

Me at page 100: What is going on?! I’m so confused, I’m so confused, someone explain this all to me!
Me at page 200: Formatting—awesome! Story—well, I’m still confused. Also, apparently eyeballs are a big deal to the afflicted.
Me at page 308: Oh no, oh goodness, OH MY HEART! That…things just got WAY intense, way quick! I can’t handle it!
Me at page 419: NOOOOOOOOO! How dare you?! HOW DARE YOU!?!? My heart hurts! Someone rip it out and stomp on it, that might feel better than this!
Me at page 599: I need book two.

I think you all get the point, yes?

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Okay, so I know you’ve all heard this before because it’s been raved on and on and on about by practically everyone who knows anything about books, but THIS COVER?!?!?! I mean ohmahGOSH, they went all out with the design of this book. The dust jacket is gorgeous, the hardcover itself is so freaking well-done and just…gah! And the BOOK! The formatting of this book had to have taken a year in itself to do, and it was done beautifully. I literally… I don’t think this read would have been nearly as insanely intense as it IS, if it weren’t for the epic-scale formatting and hard work put into making it stand out. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of laying eyes on this thing in physical format, you need to go do it. I mean now? Drop everything, drive to your nearest bookstore, and seek a copy out. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

…Back now?

On top of the gorgeousness that is the cover and formatting…is the gorgeousness of the story itself. This plot is HUGE—it spans several months, many hundred kilometers of deep space, and thousands of lost souls. The difference is…this isn’t a story told in beautiful, sparkling prose or in-depth, confusing metaphors. No, this story is a series of documents—all realistic, scientific, and well-written. There are, therefore, many different and varying points of view…and yet they all come together in a clashing of echoes, in tragedy and harmony, to make a fast-paced, intense, emotional roller coaster read.

“Most people would say I’m pretty cold, but I think of it more as…private. People are always saying “how are you?” to each other, and I guess I don’t see why I should answer such a personal question for just anyone.”

I wasn’t sure, at the start of this, that I’d be able to bring myself to LIKE our main characters Kady and Ezra. They seemed…immature? At times self-involved? I’m not sure what it was, but at the beginning, while I enjoyed their snark and attitudes, I wasn’t convinced I liked THEM. Somewhere between page one and page 150, they managed to change my mind, though I can’t say if it was one specific thing or another. Somewhere along the line, they changed—they grew. And they continued to grow throughout the rest of this read, at turns breaking my heart and making me love them anew.

Trust me when I say this book is intense. You will laugh, you will giggle, you will find yourself scoping EACH and EVERY page for any hint, for any clue to what’s coming next. Sometimes, you’ll latch onto the hints immediately. Sometimes…you won’t see the left hook swinging at your heart until it’s much, much too late. It’s in those moments you’ll scream, you’ll curse the book, you’ll threaten to bash it against a wall…only to find yourself instead turning the pages rapidly, needing to know even though you don’t want to. It’s a confusing mess of crushed heartbeats and curious minds, and if you’re anything close to the type of reader that I am, you’ll LOVE every second despite hating the authors for hurting you so hard.

“Part of being alive is having life change us. The people around us, the events we live through, all of them shape us. And that’s what I think you’re afraid of. Maybe not of dying. But of this you, the you you’ve become, ceasing to exist.”

Believe me when I say, this is a MUST read. I don’t say that about books often—this?! Definitely earns that title in my esteem. I’d recommend to lovers of science fiction, space journeys, and unique, heart-shattering, epic reads! I just have one last question: when does book two come out?!

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6 thoughts on “A Review of Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. I started this one a few days ago, but the Christmas rush has kept me from reading more than a page or two at a time!! It’s killing me. I’m hoping for some downtime to just sit and read after Christmas – I’m loving it 25 pages in… great review! Makes me want to dive in even more.

    Liked by 1 person

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