Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann & Jay Kristoff

October 5, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

IlluminaeIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: Illuminae #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: ARC Tour
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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.

Illuminae can officially go down as one of the most unique books I’ve come across. With a format unlike anything I’ve read, it tells the story of a war that starts after a planet was invaded, wrecking all sorts of havoc on the survivors as they fight for their lives.

I’m not even sure I can begin to explain the plot. There is no first person storytelling here. Instead we are told the events of the story through email, documents, interviews, reports,etc. Did I lose you there? I hope not. I must admit I was extremely wary at first, maybe even turned off to the whole thing. I opened the book (which is huge by the way), and read a few pages, unsure if I would get used to this style. But the more I read, the more amazed I was at how brilliantly the authors were able to pull this off. I mean, the amount of work put into this novel is astounding and it shows. But back to the plot. We meet our semi-main characters – Kady Grant and Ezra Mason. They had broken up the morning their planet was attacked but somehow managed to escape, landing themselves on opposite ships. Feeling alone, they find themselves connecting to each other through Kady’s amazing hacking abilities. Even though we bounce around through all sorts of files and such, there is definitely a strong focus on them. Kady plays a key role in all things involved in the war, needing to know what is going on and looking for her mother. If the approaching warship that attacked her planet wasn’t enough to worry about, a bio-weapon plague that makes people go insane and become disturbing murderers has been unleashed. Oh and a ship with a mind of its own with artificial intelligence (AIDAN) deciding how it is to save the fleet, even if destroying the others are what it takes.

So Kady was basically everything. I mean, the girl was tough as nails, willing to do anything to get the information she wanted. She was probably the smartest person aboard the ships, yet she stayed in the background laying low as best she could. That is until it was time to take action. Selfless and strong, she made one hell of a heroine. Ezra was so in love with her. I enjoyed reading their email exchanges, their exes-banter that grew into a longing to find their way back together.

There were some moments that blew my mind and left me like, ‘whaaaaaat?!’ I was very on the edge of my seat the closer I got to the last page. In fact, when I got there I didn’t want it to end. I needed more! I am so thankful I gave this unique style a change and didn’t give up on it. It was so worth it.

“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 if you do something worth remembrance.”


About Amie Kaufman

I’m a young adult author from Melbourne, Australia, represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. I write fantasy, science fiction and all things speculative.

My favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, my dog Jack, gardening, plotting and executing overseas travel, napping, my music collection and reading. Also my husband.

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy. Part 3, ENDSINGER, is out now. He’s also co-author of the upcoming ILLUMINAE (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi… thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015, and NEVERNIGHT, the first part of a new fantasy trilogy kicking off in 2016.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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