Book: Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Pages: 604 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: 20th October, 2015
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.
Wow, what a wild ride! This is one of the most confusing, best and definitely most creative books I’ve ever read. Seriously, what even did I read there? Illuminae is brilliant. Before I say something about the actual content, let’s talk about how that content is brought to the reader. It’s files, files that show people in conversation, files that show the inner – very weird – workings of an artifical intelligence, just… files. There are chats, there are pictures, there is basically everything that can be put into data, and it is beautifully arranged and I loved it. Reading sure doesn’t get boring that way. I loved every single bit, it was immense fun to read. Seriously, I cannot get over the design of the whole book, I want to cherish it and look at it forever.
And let me tell you about the characters. Great, badass people, all of them. Especially Kady, our protagonist, whose home planet was attacked and she is now a refugee on the Hypatia, a research ship. And she’s a hella good hacker and she is brave, fighting down fear to save herself, her love and every single person that has made it away from the planet. This brilliant, brilliant, passionate girl. Even when everything seems lost, she does not give up. And she gets help from other brilliant computer people, from the boy she loves and who is a refugee on another ship, forced into the military. As well as Kady, he is brave and just such a nice and good person. Both of them have lost so much, their old lives, their family, basically anything but each other. And despite all of it, they are still good and loving, and sarcastic as hell. I just love both of them with all my heart.
And the story! In the beginning we get thrown right in and because the whole book is written in files, you don’t know what is going own so it was quite confusing in the beginning. But the longer you read, the clearer it gets. And it is so, so thrilling. Seriously, it was so hard to tear my eyes away from the pages. There was space, fighting in space, zombies and love and crazy AIs. What I didn’t expect was the brutality of everything, the clear destruction. But while I was a bit shocked, it was so fitting for the whole setting and plot, which was very dark and quite disturbing and frightening.
Illuminae was such a unique read and it had everything I wanted and so much more. I was completely overwhelmed and in love. The characters, the plot, the design – there was nothing I didn’t enjoy. Just give me more of it.