Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files, Book 1

Synopsis: 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.

Review by Melliane: I had heard so much about this novel that I was very curious to immerse myself in the story. I also want to thank infinitely the adorable Lexxie who had the kindness to send me the novel for me to discover it when she saw that I was interested.

From the beginning, the format of the book convinced me! Indeed, I am a big fan of embezzlement of styles and here we find a dossier presented with all possible forms: emails, discussions on radio, videos, diagrams, and many other things, how not to be intrigued? I often find myself carried away very quickly by this kind of story and although I’m not usually necessarily a fan of science fiction, I really had a great time with this story full of ideas. Thus, we truly follow two characters here: Kady and Ezra. We first discover them on their planet, shortly after their breakup. The last thing they expected, I think, is to be found in the middle of an attack with terrible consequences for their planet. Forced to run away, they will be transported in two different ships to try to understand what exactly is happening, the secrets hidden, and this disease that seems to decimate them all little by little …

As I said, we find ourselves very quickly carried away by the story and it’s true that we also connect very easily to the main characters. Kady is a girl who wants to appear strong but who needs those she loves and who is willing to do a lot for them. During this conflict, she will succeed in managing her relationship problems with Ezra and even understand why he reacts as he does. She is a rebel with a big heart who is determined to understand what happens. We suspect that this can be very frustrating in that situation to remain in limbo this way. We try to know, to understand and see the interactions between all the characters. Then we have Ezra … This young man is different from Kady, he follows the rules as they are dictated or certainly as best as he can and can not really handle all the events. Yet, like her, he is desperate for his friends. It was touching to see their relationship and their feelings through all the documents, besides the authors weren’t really nice with us at the end of the story but I’m relieved now.

It was a great discovery and I’m really curious to read more now that I’ve seen that a second novel is coming out.



Review by Cass: This is a unique book because the story is told through documents (emails, interviews, videos transcripts…). It really is a book that you need to read on paperback format (I do not know how it could be in ebook format), as the presentation of the words is a very large part of the book.

I felt the first 300 pages as a reportage. This presentation of the story didn’t allow me to feel something specific, I followed the story from afar. I must admit that I even fell asleep on the book :/ Things are moving more in the second part and I was able to stay awake :p but I didn’t feel any attachment to the characters, I didn’t either connect to the love story between Kady and Ezra. Finally, I think that the character I liked the most is Aidan, the artificial intelligence.

I believe this is a book you’ll love or not. It has the advantage of being different in terms of narration, but much less in terms of the plot. I think I will not read the next volume of this trilogy.


27 thoughts on “Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

  1. Fun double review! That’s great that Lexxie sent you her copy so you could read it. I got an ARC at BEA last year and this was seriously one of my favorite books for 2015. I can’t wait for the sequel this fall. I do think this is one you should read in a physical form too.

  2. I’m glad you both tried Illuminae, it sounds like Cass liked it a little less – but I like what you both mentioned about how unique its presentation is, which, of course, is one of the main reasons I want to try it 🙂

    Hope you have a great weekend – thanks for the dual review!

  3. I made it to a quarter of the way before I set it down again. I find it a bit bothersome to read. I’ll probably pick it up again when I have the time and energy to focus my attention on it.

    Glad you both enjoy it.

  4. This book was so interesting. I didn’t think I was going to like it, plus the hype really worried me, but I actually ended up enjoying the visual component and thought it complemented the story quite well, even though the plot was kind of cliched. But it was fun. Great review, all!

  5. I read a book that was like this and told in the format of journal entries, emails and press releases. I found that I didn’t connect with the characters as much and because of that, didn’t enjoy the story as much. I’m very much a character driven reader, so if I’m not invested in the characters, I’m not invested in the story. I think I might not read this one because of the format. I’m really glad you guys enjoyed it.

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