Thursday, July 7, 2016

Illuminae Review: Kady

Book: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Genre: YA sci-fi
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pages: 599
Release: October 20th, 2015



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.




If you haven't physically seen this book before, stop reading this review and go pick it up. Do it now. This book is hands-down one of the most unique books I've read, and I'm ashamed I didn't read it when I first saw it.

Set in 2575, this book follows Kady and Ezra, who's day goes from bad to worse when their home is attacked by a rivalling company. These two find themselves on two different evacuation vessels, desperately trying to outrun an enemy fleet chasing them through space, wanting to kill al survivors and destroy any evidence of the attack. But it's not just the BeiTech fleet bent on killing them that's an issue for the survivors; problems are surfacing from within, with a mysterious plague spreading aboard one of the surviving evacuation vessels, and with the AI that is charge of protecting them is reaching some rather extreme conclusions, and ultimately, solutions to save them...

First off, this book is composed of a series of documents, including hacked private messages, classified reports, battleship schematics, audio recordings, etc. It doesn't exactly follow a linear narrative, with the documents all scattered in type, but all relevant to one another, chronologically. What made it fun was that there were some parts that weren't directly spelt out for you, but if you paid closer attention, you could actually piece together specific things that actually enhance the story. For example, checking the timestamps. Kady made numerous attempts at breaching the system's security wards, and if you take a closer look, you'll realize she was absolutely relentless, attempting them every few hours before successfully deleting the security personal's profile within the day. Those little things truly speak of Kady's character, and really emphasize her proficiency at computers and her determined nature. 

I absolutely loved Kady's character. Her character checked off so many boxes: a strong moral compass, courage, brilliance and sassiness. It's been a while since I've read of a well-written sassy character, which definitely made it a plus. Kady was never content to just sit by and wait for other people to tell her about the situation; she took matters into her own hands, finding out everything she could, before information made it to the other civilians, or purposely didn't make it to them. Her hacking skills were incredible, and her logic was equally as strong. Her ability to make on-point conclusions based off observations, or even her ability to cause distractions in order to accomplish her goals were all brilliantly executed. What I particularly loved about her was her ability to love as fiercely as she did; she refused to leave the people she loved behind, and even after she had lost her personal hope, she refused to let her hopelessness be the reason why others couldn't be able to find out the truth, or have a chance at surviving. She stuck to her heart and wasn't afraid of doing what was right, no matter the personal cost.



"The only life I'm risking is my own, Captain. I could have shut down your engines. Left you drifting in the black so you'd have no choice but to wait for me. I could have blackmailed you. Made you buy your own life by saving the one I care about. But I didn't. I won't."
"And why not?"
"Because that'd make me just like you."




I absolutely loved the concept of AIDAN. I won't say too much about it, but it was brilliantly done. The logistics and "thought" process behind its motives were pure logic, and easy to understand on the most basic sense. Its inability to properly understand human emotion made it entertaining to read about, especially its blunt analysis of Kady's seemingly "irrational" behaviour. AIDAN was the perfect foil to Kady; equally as smart, but without a proper heart to act upon, it really emphasized the strength of Kady's morals. I really enjoyed AIDAN, and look forward to learning more about it in the next book!


I still cannot fathom her pattern. My brain the size of a city, and still she is beyond me.

They are beyond me. These humans.

With their brief lives and their tiny dreams and their hopes that seem fragile as glass.

Until you see them by starlight, that is.




The constant shifts in document types made the story very exciting and interesting to read about. I was eagerly awaiting to see all the nifty pages, to see how they would spring up, and what relevance they would play to the plot. There were just so many "ah-ha!" moments, incorporating visual pictures, words, and numbers to truly give you the big picture of what was going on. You can't help but feel entirely immersed in the story, feel like this is real, that this actually happened, that these documents were actually stolen from classified sources. It's like one big puzzle, with smaller puzzles along the way that have small clues to help you solve the bigger puzzle!

There's not much more I can say about this book without giving it away, but this overall is a fresh and unique take on storytelling. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next one!



21 comments:

  1. Great review, Erika!
    I'm amazed you were able to write such a level-headed review after the mind blowing affect of this book. I know I wouldn't have been able to keep it coherent after finishing Illuminae.
    Noe only that, you mamanged to deliver such a *powerful* non-spoilers review. The temptations to talk all about it must have been so high.
    I'm so glad you picked it up. When I first heard about Illuminae, last year, I was hesitant at first. But so many of my favorite booktubers raved all about it. When I picked it up, I didn't expect much. Even if I *would have* expected much, it would still have surpassed all my expectations.
    Just... a.. few... more... months... to Gemina. We can do this!
    And until then, we have Nevernight to anticipate in August. Will you read it? (:

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Zoey! ^.^ It definitely was hard to write a non-spoilery review! There was so much I wanted to talk about (I mean, I could go on for ages about AIDAN alone). Funny story, I actually saw this book at the bookstore when it first came up. I flipped through it but put it right back down, because I was confused how there could be a story. But like you, I saw nothing but stellar reviews, and decided to give it a try. And now, I'm practically dying as we wait for Gemina! Argh, just a few more months....

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  2. Great review. This is such a unique book. I loved the characters and the format. I can’t wait to read the next one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Thank you! This is hands-down the most unique book I've read!

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  3. I am so sure I've heard of this book somewhere before but I can't figure out where. Anyways I've actually haven't read any sci-fi books in a long time so this might just be the book for me! XD The summary sounds interesting too so I'll be definitely checking this out soon! :)

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    1. I'm not really a sci-fi person, and I was expecting a ton of intergalactic concepts I wouldn't be able to understand, but thankfully it was nothing like that! Everything is all very relatable, with no mind-boggling new technology or anything. It's definitely worth the read!

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  4. I absolutely love Illuminae and I'm thrilled you did as well! Kady is one of my favorite characters. I love her sass and determination! AIDAN is such a unique character. Here's hoping Gemina will be just as good, if not better! I hope that I like the other two main characters just as much as I liked Kady and Ezra.

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    1. Thanks, Genni! I have absolute faith that Gemina will be just as good as Illuminae. I'm really looking forward to seeing Kady and Ezra again, working alongside the two new protagonists!

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  5. I have heard so many great things about this book - however I am ashamed to say I haven't read it yet. Its sitting merrily on my TBR pile... although it may be time to move it to the top. It sounds fantastic - great review!

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    1. Ahhh, I really hope you'll get to it soon! Illuminae was sitting on my TBR for over 6 weeks after I physically got it, and I can't believe I waited that long to read it. Definitely move it up on your TBR list, if possible! :)

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  6. Ooh, super happy you liked this one! I actually have Illuminae right now, but hesitant to pick it up because of the hype! Still, I hope I get around to it soon - the writing style is definitely unique, and I'm all for great characters! Really loved your review, Erika!
    Any chance you could link me to your Bloglovin' page? Seems like the link on the sidebar of your blog is broken :/

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    1. I definitely hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have! I for one definitely think it lives up to the hype!
      Ack, the bloglovin' link is broken? Thank you so much for telling me! I'm going to check it out this instant. But my bloglovin' link is https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/books-stars-pages-in-between-14004747

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    2. Thank you! Later realised I was already following you though...whoops! >.<

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  7. YAYYYY YOU READ IT! *Confetti*
    I loved your review! Wasn’t it such a great read!? Aw man I can’t WAIT for Gemina! I had a little bit of a hard time getting into it but it was so so good! I actually think that AIDAN was one of my favorite ‘characters’ - the whole concept was awesome! (And slightly terrifying too).

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    1. Oh my gosh, YES YES YES. Truth be told, your review was one of the reviews that finally convinced me to read this book. I had doubts about it, since I wasn't sure how it could possibly tell a story through the various types of documents, but I was so glad I picked it up! And AIDAN is definitely my favourite character. Speaking of AIDAN...*small voice* is it weird for me to be shipping it with Kady? Because...I mean...they both grow so much together. Way more than Kady and Ezra did... I think I'm just being weird, haha.

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  8. I'm not really into science fiction book but this looks like it's worth a try since I've read a lot of good things about it ^^
    Lovely review :))

    @ "Book Addict"

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    1. Thank you! Even if you're not a sic-fi person (I'm not really one either), I'd at least flip through the book just to appreciate the unique formatting of the book ^.^

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  9. Excellent review!!! I just loved the format for this one. I can't wait to read Gemina.

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    1. Thank you! I can't wait for Gemina either. I desperately want to see what the authors come up with next!

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  10. “Am I not merciful?”

    YES. I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. This was such an amazing book. Kady was an amazing and fierce lead, Ezra was a hilarious love interest, and the twists and turns at the end were just pheonominal. So glad you felt the same way! ♥ Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! xD

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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