Book Review: Illuminae
Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1)
Published By: Knopf (US) and Allen & Unwin (Aus)
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Page Count: 599
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Audience: Young Adult/
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. There's been a lot of hype surrounding this collaboration of Amie Kaufman (known for co-authoring the Starbound Trilogy with Meagan Spooner) and Jay Kristoff (known for The Lotus War trilogy). Let me tell you, the hype is richly deserved.
Kady Grant and Ezra Mason live in a small settlement on a distant planet. Their home, Kerenza, is the site of an illegal mining operation run by the WUC. When it is attacked by BeiTech, a rival corporation, three nearby ships come to the rescue of the civilians on the planet. This is somewhat awkward for Kady, who broke up with Ezra that morning and subsequently finds herself having to save his life.
Kady and Ezra are separated during the rescue, with Kady ending up on the science vessel Hypatia and Ezra on the military ship Alexander. It soon becomes obvious that there is more going on than those rescued are being led to believe and Kady, being a curious sort, sets out to find what information she can with the help of Ezra, who is conscripted into the military.
The Alexander is run by AIDAN, a supercomputer charged with protecting the lives of those in the fleet at all costs. But AIDAN seems to be developing megalomaniac tendencies and might actually be trying to kill them all. It's up to Kady and Ezra to find out what's going on, save as many people as they can, and get the true story to the rest of the universe.
Kady is a brilliant heroine. She's brave and smart and very human. Ezra too shows great courage and heart. I fell in love with both of them from the very beginning.
The book takes the form of a dossier put together by a source identified as The Illuminae Group for the director of BeiTech. The dossier consists of interview transcripts, comms messages, emails, transcripts of security footage and other sources and is compiled chronologically, starting with the destruction of Kerenza. But this is more than a book, it is a work of art. The book is visually stunning with artwork scattered throughout, enhancing the telling of the story.
Illuminae is one of the most original books I've read in a very long time, and might just be my favourite book of the year. Parts of the book made me laugh, others had me weeping, and my husband got very sick of me saying, "Oh my goodness, will you look at this page? How beautiful/clever/amazing is it?"
While this is definitely a sci fi book, it's primarily a book about relationships and truth and what it means to be alive, so if sci fi isn't your thing, don't be put off by the label, go and have a flick through it in your book store, and I'm sure you will fall in love. You may also find that some of your favourite YA authors have been killed off in the making of this book, along with thousands of other innocent people.
You will also not be able to see the phrase, "Am I not merciful?" without shuddering.
We do not have enough birdies to convey my love for this book. This is a book I can see myself reading over and over again and discovering something more each time.
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.