Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“The universe owes you nothing…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 worthy of remembrance.”

illuminae

Synopsis from GoodreadsThe 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.

Feelings: First of all…am I the only person that pronounces this title as Illumin-eye? I keep hearing it as Illumin-ay…and my Latin trained brain does not compute. But I digress…

I didn’t know anything about this book when I decided to dive in. Sometimes, that works out beautifully. In this case, I was confused for a while. Then, I read the back of the book and a couple of things clicked. I had no idea what to expect or what direction it would take. Literally, all I knew was that it was science fiction and had unique formatting.

Let’s talk about this formatting for just a second, can we do that? I felt like I was reading a book/movie hybrid. You know what I mean? It was a visual production in print and I. loved. it. Some pages kept the story moving fast and furious, some slowed it down and were beautiful breaks, and others zeroed in on human emotion. Brilliant.

I’m attempting to write this review immediately after finishing it and I feel like I can’t think straight. My mind is straight up blown.

Issues: I only had a couple of tiinnnyy issues. The first was the beginning. It’s 50% intriguing that I couldn’t follow what was happening and 50% uhhhhhhhh wtfrak is going on. However, the story picked up and I was super hooked after that. Secondly, there was one part near the end that was sci-fi jargon heavy and I got a little skimmy. (Oh, you know skimmy…where your eyes just start glazing over the words and you wait for the next bit of dialogue. You’ve totally done that, too.)

Characters: One thing that I thought was really cool about this book’s formatting is the way we get to know the cast of characters. There’s no classic narrator, filling us in on the environment or a character’s body language. We got to know Kady and Ezra, especially, through their instant messages and the observations of others.

Kady’s got some serious gumption. What a fantastic character! She’s that “spider monkey”, sneaky kind of character who is wildly intelligent and resourceful. Ezra is a sensitive, but strong male lead that I want more and more and more from. I couldn’t figure out if this was a tragic love story or a happy, hopeful one…it kept going back and forth but THAT LAST PAGE. I don’t know where this series is going for these two in particular, but it’s going to be amazing.

AIDAN was a really interesting character. I’m not even sure how I feel about him/it, because he/it is just so unreliable. You could tell that he/it struggled with human emotions of love and loyalty, but for most of the book we only saw it do horrible things. As much as I didn’t love AIDAN as a character, his “pages” added a contrast to everything else going on.

Final thoughts: I’ve heard multiple people rave about the audiobook, so you should definitely check that out! I wasn’t sure how this format could come across effectively as an audiobook, but apparently it works! They’ve pulled together a full cast of characters, which I’m really intrigued by.

In the end, this is an amazing book. It may be 600 pages, but since each page isn’t full to the brim of text, it’s surprisingly quick to plow through. Trust me, you want to buy what these authors are selling; you want to catch what they’re throwing.

Pick this up if you liked:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The television series Battlestar Galactica

Goodreads rating: 4.31/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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