Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 2015
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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.
I honestly don’t even know where to start on this one.
Reviewing a book like…this…is an overwhelming task, so maybe I’ll start with this.
I LOVED IT.
Every moment of this awe-inspiring, emotion-wrenching novel grabbed my heart and blew me away. The creativity of the narration and use of multiple viewpoints, the use of white/black space to make an impact, the creative risks (well worth it) taken to entrance the reader, to make the point…it was brilliant.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Kady expected the worst thing about her day would be her breakup with Erza. What she didn’t know is that her planet would be invaded and her colony destroyed by a rival megacorporation.
When rescue arrives in the shape of shuttles from two science research vessels and a battleship, the survivors think (hope?) they’re safe, but the problems are just beginning. And the battleship in pursuit is only one of them. Determined to discover the truth, Kady hacks into the fleet’s computers and uncovers more than she ever expected.
The decision to use Kady and Erza’s interview transcripts and IM archives created the most detailed, in-depth characters I’ve seen in a long time. Their language alone revealed more about them than any other narrative form could have. I could see the growth in Ezra has he grew from a teenager to a second lieutenant, Kady’s evolution from a broken girl to a strong heroine.
When I saw the first Shakespeare reference in Ezra’s letters to Kady, I knew I’d love this book. When I found the first HAL reference in AIDAN, the Alexander’s AI, it was beyond love. HAL felt like just the inspiration for AIDAN – Kaufman and Kristoff took him and Kady on a totally unexpected journey that forced both the heroine and the AI to grow leaps and bounds.
To not give any spoilers away, I feel like I should stop here. Safe to say, the hype monster is right: this book is WORTH staying up until 2 am to finish, WORTH reading while eating/cooking/whatever. Illuminae is an astonishing science-fiction that redefined my idea of the genre.