Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, Book One
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published Date: 1 November 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

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.
(summary from Goodreads)

Illuminae is a real piece of work, both in style and narrative. An elaborate artwork, it is part science fiction, part romance, part horror, wholly action packed and 100% freaking awesome.

I've been waiting two years for Illuminae and it was worth every minute. I loved the whole layout of this novel. It's something different and inventive. I wondered how a narrative would play out through emails, chats, files, schematics, etc, and the answer is masterfully! At first it was a little jarring, figuring out how best to read Illuminae, but soon enough I was so into the story and characters it became natural. And that is why Kaufman and Kristoff rock. What they've created is heart-pounding, thought-provoking, memorable and artful. Honestly, it was more than I was expecting. I was prepared from some science fiction, some romance, some angst and I loved all of that - but the horror blew my mind. There's a truly creepy edge to Illuminae that completely sucked me in and had me reacting. Little birdie. Don't look at me. Whoever thought simple things like that would forever be changed for me? If/when you read Illuminae - and you better! - you'll understand what I mean. And through it all there's the mystery of who has put together this file, for whom, and for what purpose. Illuminae ends with a killer cliffhanger that has me demanding the next book in the series already. I've been wondering what book will be my top anticipated release now that I finally have Illuminae - and now I know! The yet untitled Illuminae book two of course!

So I'm going to put it out there - I kind of love AIDAN. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that. That crazy AI really grows on you. I love what AIDAN brought to the story - so many hard-hitting questions of morality and humanity. I found myself often questioning my own ethics and beliefs based on AIDAN's actions. Some I wholeheartedly disagree with...but others. It's a tough one. This depth to the story is something I can rave about. AIDAN and everything he encompasses is definitely an interesting discussion point. I'd be happy to discuss Kady and Ezra too, of course. Those two are what pulled me into the story of Illuminae. Their relationship at the beginning has so many unanswered questions and getting to know them opened such a wider narrative and world. I adored the easy relationship between these two, even when they weren't "together". Ezra is so heartfelt and funny. Kady is a little more closed off, which made her story that more impacting. She's kickass in so many ways - from her computer skills to her bravery and forthright attitude, her willingness to protect those she loves and her heart-wrenching fear. I'm really looking forward to reading where Kaufman and Kristoff next take their characters. Now to just wait...

Illuminae is brilliant. It's a book to experience. Strap in and enjoy the ride.




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