Book Review – Illuminae

Title : Illuminae

Authors : Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers

602 pages

Rating : 5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

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. 


“She is catalyst.
She is chaos.
I can see why he loves her.”

-Amie Kaufman and Jay kristoff, illuminae

WOWZA. It took me longer than average to get through this book, but only because I had a busy week. I am generally not a big science fiction fan, but this one got me and hooked me on their writing. The concept of all the text being chat communication, reports, transcriptions, etc is so unique and I am HERE for it! (I got to use this to cross off one of the Advanced prompts on the Popsugar Reading Challenge for 2019!) Everything about this story is captivating; the characters are likeable and make you want to root for them, there is intrigue in the plot, and then how can you go wrong with a rogue computer trying to save/destroy everyone simultaneously? And then that twist at the end!! No spoilers here, but gosh that was killer!

So lets start with the characters. Kady and Ezra are exes who get caught up in their home planet being bombed and destroyed by a rival corporation. They get separated and have to deal with the fallout and intrigue by themselves, as family members and friends are lost. Ezra gets conscripted into the military to fly fighter jets and Kady becomes the hacking extraordinaire I always dreamed to be. Their character arcs are so important, Kady becomes the badass female MC I live for and Ezra is a love sick boy who just lets his girl be amazing and not stand in her way. It’s always best in books when you want to root for the characters instead of hoping terrible things happen to them.

Next we have the intrigue in the plot. After all the refugees from the bombing are split onto 3 spaceships, it’s discovered that the enemy corporation attacked with a biochemical agent as well. The refugees become infected with what appears to be PTSD symptoms that would eventually subside, except the virus mutates and it can no longer be cured… At this point the authority figures start the obvious cover up (because we can’t have mass hysteria and panic amirite). Debatable whether this is ever a good choice, but our good friend Kady will not stand for it!! She makes it her mission to uncover what the higher ups are hiding to bring it to light.

Lastly, we have a rogue AI system who’s programming begins to malfunction after the initial attack. The computer system is programmed to control everyone on the ships, however it starts to confuse protecting with destroying…

Overall, this book had just about everything I look for in a book plus more. The ONLY critique I could possibly come up with is… nope, honestly can’t come up with one. If I owned the next two I’d have binged them all at once. NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Y’all need to go pick this one up if you haven’t already.

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