ARC Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published October 1st 2015 by Oneworld Publications

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.
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.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

Wow, just wow! I knew this book would be enjoyable, considering the mass of 4 and 5 star ratings it already has on goodreads, but I was still blown away by its sheer epicness! Going into the book I had next to no clue what it was about. I knew that the two main characters broke up just before the planet was invaded, and it's set in the future in space, but that's it. And the book was so much more than that. Yes, that was all true, but was such a simplification of the actual events.

Illuminae is set in 2575, and begins on a planet called Kerenza. Seventeen year olds Kady and Ezra broke up before school began, and within a few hours the planet had been invaded, thousands of people were dead, and they were aboard spaceships fleeing the invaders, BeiTech. Unbeknownst to them, BeiTech had released a deadly bio-weapon, which sent a mass-spreading and mutating plague to the refugees about the Copernicus. Thinking it was helping the remaining ships, the Alexander and the Hypatia, the AI, AIDEN, blew up the Copernicus, killing all but a few. AIDEN had turned against the fleet, and set off a chain reaction which led to the deaths of thousands more of the refugees and military.

The format of this book was something I've never seen before. Rather than being written simply in prose, or even in verse, it's an amalgamation of documents - emails, IMs, interviews, reports, transcripts, etc., that the Illuminae group have pieced together of the events of 2575. I've always wondered how dual authored books are written, and I wonder this even more now, because Kaufman and Kristoff must have had some job in formatting their story in this way. I actually think that being written in this way helped to speed the pace of the story. Considering Illuminae is over 600 pages, I read it in just under two days - and I was expecting it to take ages to get through. The story was exciting, well paced, and I honestly could not put it down. I even lugged the book around with me all day yesterday and read it whenever I had time free.

The characters of Kady and Ezra were lovely. The book is written in the third person, so we never got to really hear their thoughts, but through their communications, with others and each other, their personalties came out. Kady was by far my favourite, but that may sinly be due to the story following her a lot more. She was cheeky, sarcastic, but still kind and loving. When Ezra was in danger, she did everything she could to help him. The rebuilding of their broken relationship was so cute, and it's something I need a lot more of in book 2, especially considering the last document we read in Illuminae.

There were times I was quite honestly freaked out reading Illuminae. The plague scared the life out of me, and the fact that it could mutate and re-infect those already cured seemed like everyone's worst nightmare. Having a crazy AI whose idea of helping the fleet was blowing up one of the ships, and turning on the others when they tried to leave, didn't exactly help either. I think most Sci-Fi lovers have seen this scenario played out multiple times - think Terminator, I-Robot, etc., and they know just how bad the consequences can be. Again, the ending of Illuminae left me needing to know what happened next in this regard. Frankly, I don't know how I can wait until next year for more.

Illuminae is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was so unique that I don't think anything can compare to it, and I'm left reeling by its story. I'm dying for the sequel, and think just about everyone else who has read it is feeling the same. This is definitely one to read, by basically anyone - I'm not a great Sci-Fi lover, but this was simply perfection!

Dates Read:
August 5-7, 2015

5 Stars  

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