Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: ILLUMINAE | The Illuminae Files_01 by Kaufman & Kristoff

ILLUMINAEThis 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.

BRIEFING NOTE: 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.

4 Stars

Science Fiction| Young Adult Fiction

My inner fangirl is just screaming ‘YAY!’ right now, I mean seriously, can I get a Illumin-yay for this flipping amazing book? Although there is a slight issue, which I will get more into shortly, but overall LOVED this book. Honestly this read like six hundred pages of text messages but more fulfilling. Aside from the characters, we have interviews, military reports, pictures, diagrams, transcript recordings – just the best visual aid within the novel that is so unusual in a series that made this so much fun.

But, I think I am getting ahead of myself on this review… so lets dive in.

At first, it took a smidge to grip me when I first picked up the novel. I think I went into this thinking ‘HOLY CRAP…. this would take me FOREVER to read’ – I mean seriously, 600 pages… But once it really picked up, roughly a hundred pages in I think, it really sticks to you; I was definitely addicted to it. 

Mostly the world building is surrounded by the two perspectives of Kady and Ezra (along with a few supporting cast) which is a couple who recently broke up. Without their development, I highly doubt Illuminae would have evolved in the same way. As a reader, you really depend on them to get a feel for everything, really making it hard to not have some type of love hate emotions towards their characters. 

Although I did like Kady and Ezra for the most part, I preferred them more as a solo unit than as a couple. I understand the purpose of the relationship, but my biggest pet peeve was how Kady treated Ezra along with how Ezra was so hell bent on getting Kady back. At times, she was somewhat a heinous bitch who needed to be slapped. I do not say this because I swooned over Ezra, I say it because at times Kady’s personality irked me. It really took a few chapters for her to really realize the bigger picture to grow thus took a while for me to start connecting to her.

AIDEN was definitely my favorite aspect of Illuminae. Once the aspect of the AI really came into play, it was intriguing to say the least. AIDEN was both crippling and heartwarming in just one sentence. As a matter of fact, once AIDEN was in full force perspective, I even re-read the pages a couple times just to experience the moments again. It was heart pounding.

Holy snap crackle and pop comrades…I was not expecting that ending; hell I wasn’t expecting over half of what happened to occur within Illuminae. Shit that was a whirlwind of a roller-coaster. I am pretty confident my heart is still reeling. All those damn twists and turns.

OK. We are good, for now…. Seriously I really did enjoy Illuminae. Aside from my own icky pet peeves I would have rather seen handled a different way (but still liked the overall outcome) I cannot wait to see where this series evolves towards. The world building was beyond heart pounding, both phenomenal atmosphere with just outstanding depth to my imagination. As a reader, I lived it with the characters. Very few authors can achieve that in the aspects of how this novel was written ans still be as entertaining. 

For my first Kristoff and Kaufman book ever, this really set a bar for me. I will definitely be continuing the series as well as checking out their other books! I cannot get enough of their writing style. Especially considering many of my book buddies rave about their other works, hook line and sinker my friends – I am there!

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