Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Review

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This book has been intriguing me ever since I first heard about it, so going into this book my expectations were pretty mixed. But, if I’m honest, I wasn’t really expecting the story to be the strongest because of the format of emails and surveillance reports and messages from inside an Artificial Intelligence. But actually, this book thoroughly surprised me. I really loved all of the characters because they were all so interesting and witty and enjoyable to read about. The storyline was really interesting and my fears were non-existent because the story was still very easy to follow and really immersive. The writing style was really quick to read and even though two different authors were writing, I thought that the writing seemed to flow throughout. Even though I did love the completely different way of story-telling, I did think that I could have got more out of the story if it was written in normal prose, but I think that’s because I’m used to reading books written in prose. Despite this I did really enjoy this book, and I’m definitely going to be continuing this series.

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.

One of the main things that I really liked about this book were the characters. Kady was such a brave, fierce and snarky character that you could really get behind her and you wanted her to succeed because she was just so determined. And even though most of the book is from Kady’s point of view, I really loved the character of Ezra too because he was just so funny and witty and compassionate. A lot of characters die in this book, which was really sad, because you grow so fond of these sarcastic, witty, loyal characters and then for them to end up going insane or shooting themselves was a sad way for them to end but an accurate depiction of war, I think. Like, really. Pretty much everyone ends up dead.

This book was basically a flash-back to the first stage of the war, and as the reader you’re made aware of that at the beginning of the book. So you really have to work to piece together all the random emails and Wikipedia pages and blueprints and diary entries to figure out what this piece is trying to say and add to the story and say about this character. You couldn’t simply skim read this book, you had to read every word in whatever weird pattern the language was written in. But that doesn’t mean that this book was a slow one because some pages actually included very little text so it was quite a quick read. As per usual with books taking different looks on writing, there were some elements that bored me slightly – mainly the pages taken from inside the Artificial Intelligence’s mind, for reasons I don’t really know – and some elements where I didn’t particularly like or appreciate the particular way the language had been set out. But on the whole, I thought it was a great way to get across this idea of no one really saying what was happening so the only way for Kady to get information was to hack it out, and so this book you’re reading is all of her findings. I really felt like a spy. Like Black Widow.

I know that this book will not appeal to everyone, but I think if you want to start reading more experimental fiction than this is a great place to start. I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars because of the fab characters, the romance and all of the banter and humour that takes place between the characters. This was a really fun story and after that cliff-hanger of an ending, I can’t wait to see where the story heads next!

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