Book Review: Illuminae

23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Series: Illuminae #1
Release: 20th October 2015
Pages: 599

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.

My Thoughts

This book. Guys-this book. Blew. My. Mind.

I can’t even. . .I don’t know where to start.
From the moment Illuminae was released, it was everywhere. On blogs, on Facebook, on Instagram. I swear I couldn’t go anywhere book related without hearing about Illuminae. And yet, I still didn’t pick it up. Not until last week when I finally gave in and now I’m kicking myself for not having picked it up sooner. This book is quite simply, one of a kind. I have never read anything like it and anything similar that comes after this will just be a sad imitation of the original.
Illuminae is told via dossier, documents, emails schematics, military files, IMs, interviews – all of those things and yes that makes it interesting and different. But if it was a shit story none of that would matter.
But this story is fucking amazing.
This might be a different and unconventional way to telling a story but it in no way diminishes the emotions. You have no problem connecting with the characters, feeling their loss, their heartache. Feeling the tension, the sense of urgency. The anxiety and fear of the not knowing who is going to survive and the excitement when someone does.
Kady is the kind of character that is the opposite of what most YA heroines are. She isn’t a tall amazonian fighter, have super powers or any of that stuff. She is a computer geek and a  smart assn who isn’t just content to sit back and let the ‘leaders’ dictate what is for the good of their people. She won’t be kept in the dark.

“I am frequently underestimated. I think it’s because I’m short.”

Kady’s relationship with Ezra, the boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/whatever-he-is, is a large part of this story. Although in the beginning they start off having broken up, you don’t doubt for a second that they care for one another. In the face of losing their home, they realise just how much they truly mean to one another. What’s the saying? You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Their connection is apparent even through their emails and IM’s. You get a sense of their character, their loves, their fears, their hilarious senses of humour and from the first page you want them to be together as much as they want too.
Amie & Jay have filled this world with not just too incredible lead characters but a cast of others makes this world full and vibrant which makes it all the more heartbreaking every time you turn the page and a document tells you how many more people have died, how many more people are infected. It’s shocking and stark and real.
But the one who stole the show, in my personal opinion, was AIDAN. The artificial intelligence aboard the Alexander-the ship Ezra is on-is damaged in the initial attack on their planet and what follows, as he, along with Kady and the others, try to combat the virus infecting those onboard and protect themselves from the ship pursing them, is a lesson in what it means to be human.

“Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”

This book is eccentric and bold and yet hold no less feeling for it’s genre or it’s quirkiness. I was riveted to every page, heartbroken at every death and horrified by the loss of life as much as Kady was. I think that’s a testament to true fantastic storytelling-that you can take something out of this world-quite literally-create a world and a time so different from our own, and yet still make people connect. Still make you feel. And Amie & Jay have done that. I cannot wait for the next one.

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