by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a young adult science fiction thriller that is perfect for fall and will have you holding your breath. Completely riveting I consumed this 600-page tome in less than two days. Off planet, space ships, artificial intelligence, hackers, a romance and war. Eek gads Illuminae has it all!
Caffeinated Breakdown of Illuminae
- The year is 2075 and we have two rival mega-corporations at war over an illegal established planet. On the day of the attack Kady and Ezra who broke up the night before are in class when the planet is attacked. They are separated but saved by the same fleet of ships. Incidentally, the enemy is pursuing these ships.
- The ships are now over capacity and damaged. With the enemy threatening a decision is made to recruit all non-military civilians with any usable skills.
- Ezra is enlisted as a pilot. I liked him and found him to be loyal. He is very much a team player but has rebel streak. Kady? Let us just say Kady is not a team player. She does however put her considerable computer skills to good use hacking into the system to find out what is being kept from them.
- The second chance romance is sweet and I liked their playful banter. Their reason for initially splitting up is explored and I loved how romantic Ezra was. While it is not the focus, it is a powerful thread that will have the reader emotionally invested. I shed tears people. Real tears! The two of them communicate secretly online. Who says instant messaging and email isn’t romantic?
- In between chapters the tale is enhanced using dossiers, emails, instant message, hacked documents, schematics and military files including medical, interviews and so much more. All of it held me captive and amplified this science fiction thriller.
- As if being pursued by a warship capable of destroying everyone on board isn’t enough, this fleet of ships has to deal with a mutant virus. This thread felt plausible and the documentation on the progression of the virus was freaky. The authors provides just enough detail to have the reader pulling the blankets a little tighter. It was frankly, creeptastic!
- This writing team brought us an action packed story with twists and turns the kept the suspense high and the reader guessing. While I was able to guess a few twists, it was all brilliantly done and geektastic. The characters are strong and Kady is a serious badass. The story despite all that is happening had layers of humor, sweetness and comradery. I became attached to these characters, feared for them, and loved seeing them in action.
Illuminae had me emotionally invested in the story and characters providing me with an exhilarating book high. For fans of thrillers and science fiction, this is not a trilogy to miss.
Personal Note: I struggled with the ARC version of this book. I was unable to expand some of the dossiers and the print was too small to read, as were some of the images. I ending up popping them open for a closer look in Adobe Digital Editions. Therefore, I totally recommend you buy the physical book of Illuminae. Unbelievably the physical copy is actually cheaper. Perhaps the finished digital copy will enable the reader to enlarge images. Having stated that, Illuminae was brilliant, suspenseful and original.