Illuminae (Illuminae #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Book Review

Title: Illuminae
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: Illuminae #1
Publication details: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Science fiction, young adult

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.

Before starting with my review, can we just admire how beautiful the cover is? Above is the book with the jacket. And below is without. So beautiful!

Okay, now on to my review!

A very refreshing and gripping sci-fi read!

Set in the space, Illuminae follows two main characters, Kady and Ezra, as they try to flee an attack from a mega-corporation but only to find themselves anticipating and trying to survive an impending attack from a known and an unknown enemy. The book started with a memo to a "Director Frobisher", followed by vague interviews of the main characters, then the presentation of the events starting with the Battle of Kerenza.

When I started reading I had no idea what the story is about so I was really intrigued. It easily drew me in and made me want to know what happened to the colony Kerenza, and to the battle carrier Alexander, science vessel Hypatia, and freighter Copernicus.

There were a lot of threads wove in together, bordering 'overdone'. But I think the authors were able to pull them all together, creating a plot-driven, action-packed story.

What I liked about Illuminae the most is the medium to which the story was indirectly told- through a dossier or compilation of interviews, logs, reports and other documents about the incident. It's not really unusual for a book to contain a document or two to break the flow of narration of the book, but I don't think I've ever read something that's entirely compilation of documents. And despite its way of presentation, I still think that the book is fast-paced, especially toward the end.

I had a hard time comprehending one plot element, the artificial intelligence. I didn't really find it believable, but I don't know. Lol Maybe I am just not very familiar with that element.

There was also a plot element that almost got me emotionally. Haha! But things went somehow well in the end.

I liked that the authors were able to tie all the threads in the end, but at the same time bring one last twist, something to look forward to in the next book.

Our main characters are the usual 'ordinary yet talented' people who 'stepped up' to do something. This is especially true for Kady. It's very cliche, but thankfully, it did not annoy me.

With Ezra, I felt like he was detached to what was happening around him. He's playing the cool, snarky yet good guy, but I just couldn't buy that. Like Kady, he's also an instant hero, but he's enjoyable to read nevertheless.

I think the medium of the storytelling is the reason why I was not able to relate to any of the characters. Illuminae is more plot-driven, but in general, I think the characters are okay.

As I've mentioned I liked the medium of the story. It made my reading more enjoyable and refreshing. Here's some photos:

Neat, eh?

Though we have two authors, I liked how everything seems seamless. Though I had a confusing moment in the beginning, I did understand the rest of the story easily. The flow of events is also smooth considering the medium.


Overall, I really liked Illuminae, and I am excited to read the next book! If you're up for a refreshing, action-packed read, I recommend you read Illuminae too!

Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of four Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over thirty countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.