Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20, 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.
Disclaimer: I read Illuminae in ARC format over the summer but won the hardcover version on a blog. I am reviewing the ARC version in this post but any quotes/excerpts used were checked against the published version.
It seems pointless to do a review of ILLUMINAE this long since its release date. I’m sure there are already a billion and one blog reviews of the book out there and it’s unlikely that I will have anything new to add to the conversation, but I digress. I read the book over the summer, I really enjoyed it, and I’m gonna review it. So, if you are reading this, THANK YOU because I’m sure you’ve already read all the other reviews out there or have read the book and written one for it yourself.
I’ll start with the obvious reasons this book was bad-ass:
The premise is awesome.
The visual storytelling format is awesome.
The authors are awesome.
IT’S SCIENCE FICTION.
A screenshot of some reservations I originally had:
Originally, when I flipped through the brick-thick ARC, I though I was going to have problems staying focused on the story because of all the visuals. Turns out it wasn’t a problem and just gave the really cool effect of playing a video game or thumbing through THE ARCHIVES. And, yes. Let me tell you. I felt like a Historian from the future piecing together clues from the past while reading ILLUMINAE. It was sooo cooool. Reading the first interviews with Kady and Ezra about the initial invasion that kicks off the story made me think of the first time British civilians looked up in to the sky and saw the ominous dark clouds that were the German Zeppelins first used in WWI.
But my reservations were quickly overridden:
I cannot stress enough how satisfying it was for me to read this book. As a History major, feeling like I was putting together a picture of the future-past by reading oral future-histories WAS AMAZING.
I felt cool like this:
ILLUMINAE is the kind of book that will appeal to a very wide audience. It’s the kind of book that my gamer husband would read because it plays out like one of his video games. The book is very reminiscent of Dead Space and Bio Shock. Both are video games that I enjoyed and was terrified of watching my hubs play. That’s the kind of effect ILLUMINAE had on me : FUN+FEAR= DAMN GOOD ENTERTAINMENT.
The pacing was like an interval workout. Moments of intense suspense and anxiety alternated with moments of background story and character development and awesome world building. Kady and Ezra were fun, interesting, and well written protagonists that I am so excited to see be brought to life on a movie screen in the near future. Oh, and of course the A.I. antagonist was masterfully done. I mean, there were times where I felt like hugging the damn invisible-techno-electric-circuit-crazed-creepy-ass-thing.
Yeah. So this book is a masterpiece and if you have not read it yet because you had similar reservations like myself, I cannot recommend you get over them quickly enough. THE BOOK WAS AMAZING.