Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: Illuminae

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult // Sci-Fi // Romance

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Format: ARC
Source: C2E2

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 (goodreads).

How do you review a book that tore your soul out and left you to pick up the pieces? 
Plot: Illuminae has been marketed as a space soap opera and it describes the novel perfectly. We are introduced to our characters and world in a high energy evacuation from a hostile corporation. The same energy is constant throughout the novel and the body count will more than double by the end of the novel. Prepare tissues, you'll need it. 

I'd be remiss to comment on Illuminae without taking a minute to praise its format. Illuminae is not your typical novel; it is told through multiple perspectives in multiple formats: instant messages, video surveillance footage, newspaper clippings, pictures, you name it. Everyone asked me if Illuminae was difficult to follow, but it's not. If anything, it made me more willing to sacrifice sleep in order to finish it ("just ONE more page" is something I told all of my loved ones). This is definitely a book that you want to own physically, the amount of detail and the creativity in Illuminae makes this book worth its cover price, and then some!

Characters: Our main characters are Kady and Ezra who awkwardly just broke up before their home planet was attacked. Even though they are our main characters, we do get insights from several other characters, including the ship's A.I. 

Illuminae is unique because it managed to give its characters breath with very little back story. There are characters who literally appear on a page only to die, and I mourned their death. I laughed with these characters, I sighed with relief, I held my breath, and I cried (oh did I cry) with these characters.

World Building: Illuminae's strength is that it knows no limitation. Because we are reading this novel through a "report," we are not bound to follow only one or two characters. We can explore different airships and understand the history of the planets through pamphlets and other documents. The futuristic world of Illuminae is so complete that I didn't even have a problem with the scientific lingo. Sci-Fi and I have such a love/hate relationship, and Illuminae is Sci-Fi done perfectly. 

Short N Sweet: No review  will do Illuminae justice. Just take my word for it, and believe that this is a reading experience that you don't want to miss out on! Am I not merciful?


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