Book: Illuminae (Illuminae Files 01) by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 20th 2015
Rating: 4,5 out of 5 stars
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.
Illuminae is a book that can’t have escaped anyone’s notice in the last year. From the bright orange color of the dust jacket to the very differing format, it certainly stood out in the crowd of books. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it a lot.
The book tells a space story through the use of documentations like schematics, typed out interviews, saved messages, saved chats and so on. While that might sound confusing I found it told the story rather clearly. I never once wondered what was going on beyond the normal questions I would have with a book that is setting up its plot. I enjoy the setting on the ship as well. I love space stories.
The plot builds itself up slowly. From the attack on the planet, the space travel, the virus and Aidan. I do think the format of this story helped the plot. Had the plot been written in a normal way I don’t think it would have given quite the same mind blown factor as with this format where you aren’t quite sure what to expect. It does remind me of plots of Stargate: Atlantis (sci-fi tv show) for instance. I do wonder how this will affect the next book as now we know what we can expect and we have seen it before.
So yes some parts did feel very close to having my mind blown. Mostly what I liked is some of the deepening of the characters through their own written accounts. But there is also a grittiness and violence throughout the book that felt real. There is something appealing about the confinement of a spaceship where the characters are put under strain. And let’s be honest here, people die. A lot of people die.
Having said that, there were some things that made me push the rating down to 4,5 stars. Like I said, the plot build itself up slowly. Especially the start where we meet our main characters. There is a romance back story weaved throughout the story that I found annoying at the start of the story. Mostly because at this point we know so little about what happened and I really don’t care about the romance about two characters I know so little about at this point.
Another thing was that some of the saved chats that were documented between characters were so heavy on the chat speak, that I found this annoying to read. This is a personal peeve though. And lastly I have a small nitpick with the ending of our two characters. I won’t go into it in this review because spoilers, but I was somewhat disgruntled about this.