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

May 5, 2016
Illuminae, The Illuminae Files #1, Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Format Read: Hardcover (599 pages)
Genre: Yong Adult/ Science Fiction/ Thriller
Series: Book One of The Illuminae Files
Source: Purchased
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
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.


This book gets five stars, for it's unique use of interviews, pictures, IM chats, emails, diaries surveillance and documents to tell a story. I enjoyed slowly finding out, what was happening. The humor and lighthearted moments balanced out a book filled with tragedy. Ezra and Kady are two teens in love, trying to figure out if their relationship is worth saving. They have to figure this out  on two different ships, while coping with the aftermath of their planet being invaded. Kady was a bad ass heroine, and Ezra was a charismatic guy. But it was hard to ever get fully invested in either. The character development, could have been better, but there were memorable characters who made appearances throughout.

The deadly plague described in the book was terrifying, and included glimpses into haunting madness. The use of ship diagrams and formal correspondence among the military was a different approach at information dumping, which worked well for the most part. However the format lends itself to problems, because reading it could be a chore. Some of the information communicated in unique ways probably would have worked better, in a traditional format. The reader takes on a observer role, so that makes it harder to relate to characters. The plot slowed down towards the middle of the book, but picked up and never slowed down again towards the end.
"I wonder if she is the kind to close her eyes and hope, rather than force them open and see the truth, wonderful or terrible as it is."
The AI was my favorite part of this book. There are parts where the AI is communicating it's thoughts and intentions. The pondering and reflection included in the AI's dialogue was fascinating. There were great action sequences, and parts of this book  genuinely surprised me. The romance didn't bother me, which is great because that is usually my least favorite elements of stories. Despite some of it's downfalls, it was fun reading a format that I wasn't used to. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy sci-fi, and are willing to devote some extra mental exertion sifting through the pieces to this puzzle.


Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is a winner of multiple Aurealis Awards, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty-five countries, most of which he has never visited. Being the holder of an arts degree, he has no education to speak of. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

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