Series Details: The Illuminae Files #1
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Blurb from Goodreads:
Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. 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 biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.
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 finally made it to the Illuminae party and boy did it live up to its hype?
The first thing you’ll notice about this book is its unique format. It’s quite refreshing and also impressive to see a book told in a form of compiled interviews, personal messages, recorded comms, data gathered from artificial intelligence, and even battleship specifications straight from its manual. I mean, I could give this a five-star rating for the format alone.
One problem about a book told in such way though is that you’ll miss reading about the things going on inside the character’s head—what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling. In this one, we’re seeing their story from the outside which takes just a little bit of the excitement because it’s always more fun when you feel like you’re going through the situation along with the characters. This may also explain why I find Kady and Mason lacking a bit more personality. They’re both brave, bold, and smart. But we barely see past the badass hacker and the skilled pilot. Also, their romance can use a bit more chemistry and less cheesy conversations.
Even though this book is basically a collection of technical reports, the emotions aren’t completely lost. There are still characters you’ll care deeply about. Thrill and action are the big players to this story but there are also soft moments that will surely tug on your heartstrings.
“The universe owes you nothing… 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 if you do something worthy of remembrance.”
This book breathes sci-fi in every page and with rich details too. But it doesn’t get intimidating like some other books of this genre. The authors did a great job putting as much details to the story without making things hard to understand. There were loads of technical stuff thrown into this book but they’re presented quite nicely so it’s easy to wrap your head around it.
Illuminae has a lot of things going on at once. A planet under attack, it’s survivors fleeing into space but with the enemy hot on their trail. A battleship’s AI that has gone rogue. A deadly virus that’s spreading fast. I just love how these were all equally explored without the confusing tangle of threads. The ideas weren’t new— because who haven’t read about an AI who somehow developed a mind of its own—but those never gets boring especially when handled wonderfully.
The best thing about this series is that you never really know what to expect from the next installment. Questions about the true motives of the Kerenza attack are still floating and our main characters still haven’t unmasked many of their enemies. They definitely still have a lot of work to do.
Overall, Illuminae is a fun and thrilling ride. This could be a perfect starter for those who are new to the genre, or for those like me, who doesn’t like overly complicated sci-fi books. There’s nothing wrong with reading this on an e-reader, but because of its format, I think this is a book better enjoyed with a physical copy.