Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Also in this series: Gemina
Released by Knopf Books on 20 October 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 599
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780553499117
Source: Purchased

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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.

Months ago, I started hearing about the book Illuminae for the first time. I honestly had no idea what it was about then, but I heard the word ‘space’ and I was immediately intrigued. Then, as the ARCs were distributed, and the reviews came in, I heard it was not written like books are usually written, but it was more of a compilation of files. That got my attention even more, so that’s when I decided I was going to buy myself a copy. I went for the more expensive – but beautiful – hardcover, mainly because of that amazing plastic dustjacket.

Illuminae is compiled of a bunch of files describing the events that happened from the moment the planet Kerenza was attacked. It tells you the story of Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, who had just ended their relationship three hours before their planet was attacked. During evacuation, they got separated and placed on different ships. Kady got onto the Hypatia, and Ezra onto the Alexander. The three ships – the Copernicus included – make their way towards jumpstation Heimdall, which is a six-month journey. And of course, a lot can happen in six months.

What I said on Goodreads:

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My full review:

To be honest, I don’t know how to write this review. I’ve started over at least four times, and this is my official fifth time I am writing this review. Maybe it’s the way the story was written, that I now think I should do a different review format as well? Maybe I should write a poem, seeing as it’s close to Sinterklaas in my country – and a lot of people write poems for the people they’ve bought gifts for. No, okay, I am crappy at writing poetry, let’s not do that.

Illuminae was an amazing book, I loved every bit of it. I especially liked the way it was formatted. It was basically meant to be a bunch of files send to the executive director of a company by a group that calls itself the Illuminae Group. Emails, IMs, camera footage, footage taken from the AI of Alexander, there is a lot of different kind of files in this book, and I really enjoyed seeing all those.

We mainly follow Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, who broke off their relationship three hours before their planet was invaded. They get evacuated onto different ships and eventually – reluctantly – Kady contacts Ezra because she needs him for something. Another main character in this story – in my opinion – is the artificial intelligence, AIDAN (Articifial Intelligence Defence Analytics Network), who I thought was a mixture of Ultron and Vision.

I really liked Kady, right from the start, because she had pink hair (which we didn’t find out until later in the story tho, but still), and she can hack very well. She’s the one who – together with a guy named Byron Zhang – uncovered much of the truth that happened on the ships. She was just so heroic at the end of this story, and honestly I was very afraid for her throughtout the story. View Spoiler »

This story also reminded me of that one episode of Doctor Who, called Midnight, where you just find out how cruel and awful humans can be if their lives are in danger. How easily they can murder innocent people just because they think something is wrong with them, how easily peer pressure works and people who were first against killing could suddenly be persuaded to kill. Ugh I hated that episode so so much. I can handle weird, scary aliens, because I know they aren’t real, but people – people are real and so so scary. This book was just like that, and sometimes I just had to put the book down because I was so frustrated with the choices some people made in this story. I get that they were scared, but think – just THINK.

The setting was just really cool, I love everything that has to do with space and spaceships, and oh gods I just loved seeing those schematics of the ships in the book. I heard that the next book will take place on a space station, which I assume is the Heimdall jumpstation they were heading to, and gods I can’t wait to see that!

View Spoiler »

In the end, I really loved Illuminae and I will certainly pick up the next book when it comes out next year! Did you read this book? If so, what did you think of the formatting? Did you love it as much as I did, or would you have rather had a normal story? Let me know in a comment!

My opinion in one gif: