If you haven’t heard about this book yet, you must be living under a rock. Basically, Illuminae is a science fiction novel that is set in the year 2575. We follow two people who just broke up (Kady Grant and Ezra Miller) who live in an isolated planet that gets invaded by a mega corporation named BeiTech. Then, three ships (Alexander, Hypatia and Coreprinus) come to the rescue to save Kerezna from BeiTech and pick up survivors from the attack. However, one of the BeiTech ships actually survived so they end up chasing the fleet with refugees. This book is told through documents, IMs, surveillance footage, and data from Artificial Intelligence and tells the story of the fleet and the obstacles they must overcome in order to survive and tell the story of the BeiTech attack. Check out the goodreads page to get a better summary of the book!
I’ll let you know now that for me, this booked lived to the hype and it’s really out of this world. 😉
Spoiler Free Review:
Though the format of the book requires a bit more set up for the plot as things cannot be said out loud from actual narration, it is consequently easier to get through most of the background information quickly. Also, because of this, once the plot really picks up, I found myself reading 100 pages per sitting (which I never, ever do). The plot of this book gets better as you go on and certainly does not disappoint.
Throughout this novel, I constantly found myself asking one question: How in the world did Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff form this idea and format each page of this book? I think it’s already complicated co-writing a novel but in this format, I found it even more compelling. You can definitely tell that a lot of thought was put into each page of the book. I really enjoyed the way they chose to tell this story and kudos to them for writing it so well!
One major critique I’ve heard from people who didn’t enjoy this book is that because of the way it is told, it’s hard to connect with the characters in the novel. Though I do see how that kind of makes sense as you don’t get to really see into the characters’ heads, I thought that the instant messages that were exchanged that we saw already gave us, as the readers, insight into the personalities of the characters. Also, I ended up liking, or extremely hating (cough, General Torrence), most of the characters in the book. Kady is serious but sarcastic at the same time while Ezra is just plain goofy (but props to him for being an amazing UTA Cyclone Pilot!). I even found myself liking AIDAN (the AI that basically runs battle carrier Alexander). I think thats really a testament to the skill of Kaufman and Kristoff.
To be honest, until the last 10 pages, it seemed like this could’ve been a stand alone. However, the ending made me extremely interested in the sequel. I know that the second book is more of a companion to this as we follow two new characters but we end up continuing on the same journey that began in Kerezna.
I know I have been giving out 5 stars a lot lately but this book really deserves it because it’s so unique! Some of the pages are so beautiful to look at and, I’ve already said this but you can definitely tell that so much effort was put into one page. You should definitely read it if you haven’t because the sequel is coming out this October!
If you have read this book, you can continue on with this post and read about my thoughts on some of the spoilers!
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! Read the book!
Kudos to anyone who actually predicted that AIDAN was impersonating Ezra the entire time after Lincoln intercepted Alexander. I definitely didn’t see the plot twist from a mile away. However, I have read reviews that say this is full of plot twists and I don’t think it is because this is the only one that blew me away. I think Ezra still being alive might have counted as one but for some reason, I had a feeling going through the book that he was still alive because we got no real confirmation so that one didn’t really catch me off guard as much.
As I previously mentioned, despite the way in which this story is told, I really grew attached to the characters at hand. I admired Kady’s (and even McNulty’s) willingness to die for the greater good, I laughed at the ‘personality’ of AIDAN, and I was extremely annoyed at the decisions General Torrence kept on making that kept Hypatia in the dark. I’m really impressed with these authors and they were definitely not merciful as they took so much liberty in killing people off. I am glad that our two main character survied though and I’m really hoping that we get to see a lot of them in the next book and they don’t just become secondary characters.
What were your thoughts on Illuminae? Did you love it or did you think it was overhyped? Make sure to tell me them in a comment below!