Friday, October 16, 2015


by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Summary from GoodReads

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.

Thoughts on the Book

I got a copy of this at BEA.  It was kind of amusing how I came across one of the most coveted ARCs.  I went to a signing then was wandering around looking for my friend and saw someone handing these out, so I was looking trying to see what it was and the woman was like 'oh it's a YA sci-fi book', so I figured I would be down with reading that and grabbed it.  A while later I found my friend, we're walking around talking and I mentioned getting this ya/sci-fi book and she asked for the name.  She totally freaked when I told her and I had to immediately lead her over to where they were handing them out, luckily there were some left (it had been at least an hour after I got my copy) so, yay!  It was such a low key book drop all the way in the corner of the venue.

My Review

This book is about a planet with an illegal mining operation being attacked by a rival mining company.  Some refugees from the planet made it onto two research vessels and the only warship that came to their rescue.  A plague breaks out, introduced by refugees, and the warship's AI is highly problematic.  Oh yeah, and one of the ships that attacked the planet is chasing after the three ships with the refugees.

Oh My God.  This book.  Just look at it, it's soooooo cool.  I love every little bit of it, the cover is cool, but then take off the dust jacket and it's even cooler!  The inside cover is awesome too, but I think that's just for the ARCs, I want to see what they do for the final version.  I love the theme of the book and how everything fits into that theme.  It's so unique and so awesome and wow, what a great book.  

The way it's written is so different from anything else I've ever read.  It's a mix of confidential reports, IM logs, emails, transcribed conversations.  The beginning was a little rough to get into, it kept switching between Kady and Ezra's interviews and each interview picked up where the other's left off.  So it was difficult to follow who was being interviewed.  But once those were completed the rest of the book read quite easily.

I love Ezra, he's such a great character.  He's so anti-authority, snarky teenage boy, who's a total softy.  He cares so much about everyone.  Kady I wasn't too fond of.  She's awesome, don't get me wrong, but she comes off as very holier-than-thou and standoff-ish.  AIDAN I have mixed feelings about, totally crazy machine, but then at the end...I think it'd come super close to passing, or actually pass a Turing Test.  Which is a terrifying notion.

At first the story felt like there was way too much crap going on, the initial attack, being pursued by the Lincoln, the crazy AI, then the plague?  Way too much.  But it really wasn't, the story tied it all together beautifully.  At points while reading, especially during the second half, I had to put the book down.  I couldn't take it, what they were going through was just too much.  The ending especially was way difficult to read.  And I was excepting a cliff hanger, a really really bad one that I would curse the authors for while anxiously watching the calendar until book 2's release date.  And there almost was one, but then there were those few pages, almost like an epilogue, but not because this isn't your typical book.  The last part, the almost epilogue, that very last surveillance footage summary, it left me with tears in my eyes. Then that last line.  Beautiful.  Loved it.  So freaking good.  So glad it ended the way it did.  It was complete, it was amazing, it was everything you could want with a book. 

I was actually surprised at the end.  I totally called the two big "shocking" things earlier in the book.  Like when Ezra said something I was like that's it! That'll be the shocking revelation right before the final climax of the series, or at least the kicker for book 2.  Then near the end, I called something else, which if I allude to it it's automatic spoilers.  In the final IM conversation in the book it confirmed both things I figured out, and it didn't make a big deal out of it.  I found that surprising.  Illuminae is so not your typical book.  It's allure isn't mysteries and tensions.  It's all about what is happening and how the people involved are coping with it.  This is going to be a book that sticks with you a long time.

I give this a 11/10.  Such a phenomenal book.  I'm so glad I stumbled upon it at BEA.

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