Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

illuminae amie kaufman jay kristoff

Title: Illuminae  
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  
Series: The Illuminae Files #1  
Genre: Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: October 20, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★★ 

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.


Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.

Mindblowing. Mind - Blown. My mind is blown. Blooooooooown.

What was this even? Never in my life have I read anything like this before. Goodreads tells me I’ve read 434 books so far and that’s not counting the many many novels from my childhood. Not a single one compared to this one. Illuminae is unique in every possible way. I’m so impressed and overwhelmed, I barely have the words to express how much I love it.

The book is told through files. Can’t believe I somehow missed the memo because looking at the series title alone should have had some bells ringing but I was nonetheless surprised the story was told through actual files. Psych evals, communication logs, military entries, video footage… And here’s the thing. I don’t usually like books that are anything but prose. But somehow there was this. And somehow I adored it. 

I will admit that you have to put some work in it, especially in the beginning. It takes some time getting accustomed to this way of reading and getting into the story. You cannot skip anything. Every piece of information, no matter how small, is important.

Because on a scale from one to epic, this is brilliant. It’s clever. Every piece of the ‘dossier’ feels different, is written by another character and yet there is a most compelling story in between the lines. We get to know characters through other people’s eyes, through nothing but short messages. Still they feel so real. So alive. So brave.

Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.

Kady Grant is a prodigy of sorts when it comes to finding hidden doors and pathways in computer programs. After surviving an attack on her homeland, she is now a refugee aboard the science vessel Hypatia, floating through deep space, an enemy warship slowly running on in them. Communication from command is limited at best, so Kady puts her skills in use and starts digging for information herself. That’s when she finds they might be under attack from inside as well. AIDAN, the artificial intelligence unit controlling their servers, has gone rogue. And there is not a lot of time left to stop him.

Kady is so bad ass. She’s smart and resilient and doesn’t ever take no for an answer. Her heart is true. She fights for what she believes in, even if it costs her. Even if it costs her everything. Her determination was something out of this world see what I did there? I just can’t get enough of her. Ezra Mason, her ex-boyfriend on the Alexander (the accompanying ship), is equally amazing. He’s funny and loyal and just such a lovable guy. I delighted in the sarcasm between them.

Everything worked so well, came together so smoothly. AIDAN drove logic to the point were it became lunacy but he still made a twisted sort of sense. I love it when authors manage to create a sick sort of sympathy for the villain. AIDAN was definitely a character. He had his own voice and he definitely intrigued me.

The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.

As if all of the above wasn’t enough to make this book one of the most precious reads in the YA genre, it’s also a piece of art. Pictures, word graphics, maps… The illustrations are beautiful and creative. They serve the story so well. The extra dimension adds so much depth to this book. How they came up with all of this is beyond me but I can only say I’m glad I put this series off for so long. Imagine having to wait three years for the next to books to release hahahahhaaha

Although I will say that this book could have been a perfect stand-alone. Things wrapped up pretty nicely. I don’t really need another one. But hey, they’re out there so of course I’m crazy excited. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and hope they are every bit as wonderful. 

Who am I trying to convince here I’m total trash.


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