Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: October 20, 2015
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Adventure
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
When I heard that Amie Kaufman (co-author of the Starbound series) had a new book, I knew I had to get it ASAP. I ended up trading another blogger on Twitter for the ARC and ████, am I happy that I got to read it!
The presentation of Illuminae is so original. One page is the schematic of the ship, the next is an IM conversation between two characters, the next is an interview of a completely different character, and so on. It will have you turning your book this way and that to devour every little morsel of information. I honestly didn’t even know how to read some of the pages at first! But despite the collection of such different formats, the pieces never feel disjointed or confusing. It is just a seamless, flowing, cohesive story.
The story itself is just as unique as the presentation. It is action and intrigue from page one. You’re really thrown into the story without much introduction to the world or characters, so the first few pages you’re thinking “what the ████ is going on?” but it soon starts to come together. You start to get to know the characters through their actions and dialogue. You get to know the world through the situations presented. I don’t want to write too much about the story because I think going in blind is probably the best way to experience it, but it will keep you turning the pages and ignoring your responsibilities.
There are loads of things that I love about Illuminae, but I’ll name just two of my favorites.
First, the romance. It’s such an understated, slow burning romance. It is quite the opposite of insta-love and very realistic. I find this very hard to find in most YA these days and find it so refreshing.
The second thing that I love is the cussing. I ████ing love it. Here’s why – teenagers swear! *gasp* A lot. Probably more than I do. It makes the dialogue that much more real and raw. It is appropriate for the situations and tensions in the book. And while there is technically no actual swearing in the book (all swears are censored with ████ type), if you have any sort of cussing-vocabulary, you read the blanks effortlessly. It adds to the story and frankly, had it been missing or been replaced with watered down psuedo-swears, I would have noticed and it wouldn’t have felt nearly as authentic. I don’t know for a fact if this choice received any push-back from anyone working on the book, but because swearing is somewhat taboo in the YA community, I have to assume it was at least a little bit. I applaud Amie and Jay for choosing to present the story in the most genuine way even if it doesn’t conform to industry standards.
I ████ing love this book. Illuminae isn’t just a book. It’s an experience. It played like a movie in my head more than any other book I’ve read before. It had me on the edge of my seat. It left me wanting more and dreading the wait until the second book comes out. I highly recommend this to anyone that likes science fiction, adventure, romance – basically anyone that can read. 5 ████ing stars!