May 30, 2016

Review--Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & 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.

How do you review a book like Illuminae? It's one of the most unique books I've read in awhile! I am amazed at how Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff wrote this! It's so complex, yet still readable! I think that's what kept me away from it in the beginning, that it was so non-traditional in its storytelling. I wasn't sure I would be able to see what the story was actually about! But in fact, it wasn't all that hard. Sure, there were some parts I was confused, basically when we strayed away from Kady or Ezra's parts and I wasn't able to grasp what was going on there, but overall, I felt like I followed along fairly well, all things considered!

Illuminae, as you probably all know by now, isn't told like your regular story, this one is told in basically everything but the traditional sense! We have IM chats, emails, notices, journal entries...basically everything you could think of! And the story really comes across rather clear for the most part. It was when "new" characters would be popping up that I didn't quite grasp what was going on. But I did have a minimal understanding of those parts, so it wasn't a total loss!

Basically we follow two teenagers, Kady and Ezra who live on another planet that was doing some illegal things. Kady and Ezra had just broken up when a large company known as BeiTech attacked their planet causing what remaining citizens to evacuate, if they survived and managed to get on one of the fleeing ships. Kady and Ezra who had wound up running together managed to get on these ships, but they were separated when Ezra was injured and he had to go to the "hospital" like ship where all the other injured were going.

After that it becomes a race against the clock to stay ahead of the other BeiTech ships chasing after them, but then things start to get a little chaotic when one of the ship's AI, called AIDAN starts to act of its own accord. So we basically have the machines are alive and cognizant thing going on here. But thankfully(?) it's just one machine they're dealing with.

The danger felt very real when reading these different formats of text. Again, how would you describe this kind of book? There's still a good deal of tension and anticipation as Ezra and Kady manage to communicate with one another when Kady hacks into other people's accounts and IM's Ezra a lot! She's one fierce and super smart teen! We get to see them reconnect with one another this way and it was quite interesting, because again, these two are separated, so all their swoony moments are happening in IM chats or emails. It was surreal in a way, but also amazing at how you start to care for these characters when we're basically just reading one large file on everything that happened!

I tend to forget when I was reading that this seriously starts out with a letter saying the contents are a recount of what happened. And in the end, we get quite a few shocking twists and reveals!! I felt like one was coming in some sense, but I had no inkling of how it would turn out! But I was still blown away by yet another shocking surprise!! And just wow! Seriously WHOA!

It's going to be interesting to see where this series will go after everything that happened in Illuminae! I'm glad I have Gemina to read soon! Yeah, I gotta squeeze one more other book in before diving back into this chaos!! And I really do mean chaos as a good thing! Illuminae is chaos! And I can only expect chaos from the next books as well! But the thing is, it's a controlled chaos! We're all over the place with how this story is told and it gets pretty chaotic! Did I mention we also get AIDAN's point of view? THAT was seriously trippy! And while we knee deep in chaos, never once was I (overly) confused! It's astounding the way that works! Like I said, I had some "mild" confusion when we started getting emails/notices/conversation transcripts or whatever from completely new people. Introducing characters is probably the hardest thing in this book and even trying to talk about them is hard, because we're literally getting another person's account of said character! Almost two really, as you usually have Kady or Ezra in the conversation transcript or whatever, and then you gotta wonder who compiled that data and is it a trusted source?

Illuminae will seriously throw you through a loop, but trust me it's one thrilling and exciting ride!! If you're looking for that read that is totally out there and beyond comparison then seriously consider reading this one if you haven't already!

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars--yeah...I'm going there! Sorry! It's pretty much a nearly absolutely perfect read for me, but again, I had some mile confusion with a few of the "data pieces" in the beginning that brought about new characters in a way that wasn't as smooth as I could've hoped for. I managed to follow along with the overall story arc rather well, but that mild disorientation in the beginning can't really be overlooked. But that being said, this was a slightly new reading experience for me (as I have read one that did something similar) and there was new book, new world confusion you sometimes get, but thankfully this didn't last as long as most and that's why I am only deducting the mildest infraction on the book's part! So yay!


  1. I loved Illuminae, as well. I read it, and also listened to it as an audio book. It has a lot to day about war that is relevant right now. I was lucky enough to go to an author event and, since it was only 11 people, have a really great conversation with the authors. I am totally hooked! I just wish I could get my hand on Gemina! They gave away a copy, but I didn't get it (sob). Have a great week.

  2. I loved Illuminae. So glad that you got a chance to read this book. Gemina is a book that I'm looking forward to.

    Grace @ Books of Love

  3. I've had this one sitting on my shelf for a while and I was worried about the unique format, but now I really need to check this out.

  4. Your first line of this review is SO on point. I had no idea where to start! This book was stunningly brilliant. And I can't wait to read Gemina! Although, I'm not too pressed to read it immediately, since it's a companion sequel. But I definitely want to read it, in the future!

    Lovely review, Jessica. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  5. I have put off reading this book for so long. I don't know why. I think I just do not like the cover so I never put it high on my radar. I will be listening to it this coming up month. I am so glad you loved it. Can't wait to see what your thoughts are on the second book.

  6. I'm going to be starting this very soon, so yay!! I have the audio and physical copy, so I plan to flip-flop since I've heard the audio is incredible, yet I really want to see the awesome unique pages in the physical copy as well. :) Great review!! So happy you enjoyed it so much!

  7. This one was absolutely fantastic! I’m so glad you enjoyed it too–it’s definitely one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. Great review :D

  8. How amazing is Illuminae?! I too loved it so much. The format was so cool and different. Like you it scared me off from reading this book, but when I started reading I understood that the format worked.

    Aidan was so scary. I couldn't even imagine being trapped on the ship with a computer trying to control everything for the worse o_o And the end? Damn. I was so excited about the twist! It can only mean the next book will be even MORE amazing :D

    I am sooo freaking excited for Gemina! I wish I could have it now, October is so far away!

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

  9. Ohhhh thank god. Illuminae worked well enough for you. This is definitely a book you can't explain in a category and i loved it for that.

    Great Review couldn't have put it better myself :)
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  10. This was probably the best book I've read all year! Such an amazing story! I am speechless when it comes to this book.

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