BRIEFING NOTE: This is an addictive, fast-paced adventure that I didn’t expect to ███████ lurrrrrrve as much as I did.
2021 Update: While I enjoyed and positively reviewed this book when I originally read it, I no longer support the authors or recommend their books, and have unhauled my copies. You can learn more in this video here.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | Release Date: October 20, 2015 | Pages: 602
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction | Format: Hardcover & Audiobook | Source: Purchased
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.
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Review of Illuminae
Greetings chum. I don’t even know how to adequately review such an amazingly unique reading experience. Illuminae is not your traditional book. It breaks conventional storytelling and is told in multi-media format: the book is the compilation of emails, instant message conversations, redacted memos, and more as if you are reading a confidential dossier.
“It’s not the bullets that kill you. It’s moments like these. One piece at a time.”
The year is 2575 and this morning Kady Grant broke up with her boyfriend, Ezra Miller. Hours later their tiny planet of Kerenza, which is an illegal mining colony, was attacked by a mega-corporation. Bad day, I’d say.
Ezra: And then I said it.
Interviewer: What did he say?
Kady Grant: He said, ‘You picked a hell of a day to dump me, Kades.’
And she did indeed. And unfortunately for the survivors of the attack on Kerenza, the nightmare is far from over. Not only are they being pursued by the ███████, but there’s also a terrible infection spreading throughout the fleet. You better not look at them, chum.
I absolutely fell in love with Kady and Ezra and their struggle to reconcile their new reality with what really matters. You can sense the complicated relationship between them and the love that they feel for one another. Ezra is my love with his ASCII flowers and witter banter, but my favorite character might actually be Analyst 7213 and his colorful descriptions of video feeds.
The great thing about this unique format is that you feel like you are a fly on the wall, listening in on conversations and reading diary entries that you wouldn’t normally be privy to. It is such a unique experience, and all of the characters all feel like real people. So much so that I felt incredibly sad when they die, but thankfully Kaufman and Kristoff manage to balance the heartbreak with comedic relief.
This book has so much levity and humor, I found myself laughing hysterically on more than one occasion. Each of the characters feels very real and you cannot help but fall in love with them. This book honestly kind of reminded me of Battlestar Galactica in the best of ways, tapping into the reasons that show speaks to me deep down. This overall story isn’t a new one to the genre but it is absolutely unique in execution and truly shines with the characters and worldbuilding.
BRIEFING NOTE: I read along with the audiobook at the recommendation of Taylor
, which was literally the best suggestion to ever be made in the existence of the world. The audiobook is full cast, and the unconventional format of the book lends really well to reading along… it brought the story to life in a way that instantly tugged at my heart and wrestled its way into my soul. I wholeheartedly recommend that you read along with the audiobook for a ███████ incredible experience. Just a warning that the ‘pretty birdie’ sections of audio are lowkey terrifying. You’ve been warned.
Honestly this book made me an anxious ball of anxiety and nerves for the entire time that I read it, and I didn’t see the twists coming. I am so sad that I sat on this book for so long, but I can say that this is a book where the hype is deserved. This was my first read from either author and it will not be my last.
REPRESENTATION: world is racially diverse
CONTENT WARNINGS: loss of a loved one, violence
BRIEFING NOTE: I’d highly recommend reading along with the audiobook, which is full cast with sound effects and literally sounds like a movie; it’s incredible. If you do not have Audible they do have a free trial for new customers (one free book). If you’ve already done the free trial, there’s a current promo for three months at $6.95 a month (not an affiliate link). This promo ends on December 31, 2018.