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I Belong

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

IlluminaeTitle: Illuminae

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: The Illuminae Files (Book #1)

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 608 Pages

ISBN-10: 0553499114 (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0553499117 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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.

Quick & Dirty: Illuminae is one seriously dramatic and terrifying young adult sci-fi novel. This novel isn’t for the squeamish.

Opening Sentence: So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Holy moly! Illuminae is one seriously dramatic and terrifying young adult sci-fi novel. It is set in the distant future of 2575. My heart was pounding reading the documents of Kady Grant’s harrowing adventure. I definitely recommend Illuminae to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction story and for those who like the found footage/documentation type reads. I felt Illuminae was an all-round fantastic book! Its’ synopsis is one that I feel truly encapsulates this book!

Illuminae starts off crazy and doesn’t stop. It begins with an interview of Kady Grant and Ezra Mason (separately) about what happened on their home mining camp of Karenza. Kady’s day starts off with her breaking up with her boyfriend, Ezra. It ends on a spaceship racing away from the world she knows after it was attacked and destroyed by the BeiTech Corporation.

Things do not slow down from there. Kady knows some shady stuff is going down. She uses her hacking skills to uncover documents and footage that lays out the story of what is happening on the spaceships. She also uses her considerable skills to find out who survived and didn’t survive the attack on Karenza. A catastrophic event occurs in space and Kady makes sure she can find out the truth of the event.

Kady wants nothing to do with Ezra. She made sure he escaped the planet but that was all she wanted to do with him. After the second tragedy, Kady has to initiate contact with Ezra again. She needs his help to further uncover the truth. Ezra and Kady are on different spaceships so she needs to manual help with hacking. After Ezra’s help, Kady uncovers a terrible truth, that the people on her colony were exposed to a terrible and deadly virus. This virus is crazy and so very terrifying. I felt this was way worse than the zombie virus. The infected are blood thirsty, insane crazies who still have their mental faculties of problem solving intact. They use that towards killing more people and infecting them.

If the virus wasn’t enough to deal with then the insane AI, AIDEN, just takes the cake. AIDEN’s directive is to protect life at all costs but somewhere along the way its directive got skewed. AIDEN does some really f’ed up stuff to those aboard all three spaceships with survivors of the Karenza attack.

I’m going to straight up say that I loved Kady. She did everything she could to uncover the grisly details of the entire book. She even pretended being stupid with computers just to throw people off her trail. She was pretty badass throughout the book. When push came to shove, she was prepared to throw her life away in order to save her fellow survivors. She was terrified but she never completely broke down.

My copy of Illuminae was off of NetGalley. I couldn’t read some of the more detailed pages so I did miss some information. The small print just wouldn’t show up on my computer screen. I would wholeheartedly recommend getting a hard copy of Illuminae. The electronic copies are going to be hard to read. I know I will be picking up a copy. I want to see what I missed.

There were times during the writing, that I was surprised by the language and some other details. I do not want to spoil anything except to say that everything comes around and there is a satisfying answer to everything!

**Side note: I may not be the only crazy one to catch this Easter egg. But I’m a huge fan of heavy music and I laughed my butt off at the use of the band members’ names from Lamb of God. Although the memo itself was quite sad and tragic. So I laughed at that but felt bad because it was a bad scene.**

Overall this novel is not for the squeamish. There are LOTS of deaths, some might be graphic. There is a lot of cussing, of course it is covered with black squares that I can’t recreate here. Plus, I’m a weenie and just terrified of space and space movies. I definitely recommend this book to for those who are not faint of heart. If you are not a fan of the document type books, I think you should still give this one a try.

Notable Scene:

Hey K,

I’m not sure if you’ll get this. I mailed you last month, but maybe it didn’t go through. If things aboard the Hypatia are anything like things over here, it probably didn’t. Maybe you’re busy. Or you don’t want to talk to me. I get it.

It was my birthday yesterday. Eighteen years old, can you believe that? Good news is I can drink legally, now. Bad news is there’s nothing to drink. Even the water’s in short supply. :P

They’ve got me doing tests. Not just me – there’s a whole bunch of us. VR sims and psych analysis and physicals. They’ve drafted a whole bunch of the Kerenza refugees into the UTA over here. Not sure if they’re doing the same on the Hypatia. Wartime conscription they called it. And now I’m eighteen, they’re looking at me. Which I guess means we’re in deeper **** than anyone figured.

I had a dream about you last night. No, not like that, relax.

It was the day of the attack, and I see you in your truck in the parking lot. And I run up to the window and knock, but you don’t let me in. You just stare, like you don’t know me. And I pound on the glass and yell your name, but you just shake your head. And then you drive off and leave me there. Weird thing is, there’s someone who looks exactly like me sitting right next to you the whole time. And he’s laughing.

And then the ships come.

You think it means something?

Anyway, I hope you’re ok. Write back and let me know. Even if it’s just to say you got this.

Love E

The Illuminae Files:

1. Illuminae


FTC Advisory: Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House provided me with a copy of Illuminae. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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