Tuesday, December 29, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': illuminae

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff



synopsis: 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.

full review under the cut!

WOWZA. That is the first thing that I have to say about this absolute whale of a novel. If you've seen the book, then you know how awesome it is, just at first glance. It's huge, first of all, and the designers of this novel did an incredible job of making the outside reflect all the craziness that happens on the inside. 

When I first heard of this novel, I didn't think that I really wanted to read it. I'm not a huge sci-fi person, and it can be really hard for me to get into that type of world. However, when it came closer to the release date and I saw more and more people absolutely RAVING about how much they loved this book, I knew that I would have to give it a chance. And that was even before I realized how different and amazing the format would be. When I saw some pictures on twitter of random pages from this book, I knew that I would be absolutely hooked. And I was right. Like I said, this book is absolutely enormous: almost 600 pages. Yet I read it in a day, flat. It is because the pages aren't completely filled with words, because of the odd format of the novel, that you can just fly through a hundred pages before you even realize. I think that the way the story is told: through chats and emails and reports and diary entries, is a huge part of what makes this book so popular and easy to get swept into. 

When I think about the plot to this story, two words come to mind. 1. Epic and 2. Staggering. Kaufman and Kristof truly held nothing back in the telling of these events, even when it got gruesome, uncomfortable and downright insane. I loved the grittiness of the story, especially when it got mixed in with the falling in and out of love that our two main characters do. Even though I've never been stranded on a halfway functioning space station, being pursued by an evil corporation and living in fear that I'll be afflicted by a zombie disease, I still felt like I could relate to the story. Because of how crazy the plot was, I appreciated that the characters, Kady and Ezra, were just kids, and acted as such, even in the face of terrible things. Though I feel like some people would find this annoying, I actually thought it was really awesome: not making the kids in this book grow up too fast, even when the circumstances were calling them to do just that. Sure, they had to do hard and sometimes awful things, but they were able to retain some of that wild abandon of a kid in love, and I really liked that aspect. 

When I first started reading this book, I was supremely confused. I didn't see how the format was going to allow for the type of worldbuilding that this novel needed. However, fifty pages in, I was completely crystal clear on what was going on and why, and it was clear that I didn't need to worry about the worldbuilding at all. Kaufman and Kristoff do an amazing job of both placing the reader right in the middle of the action from the get go and also doing some hand-holding until the events are clear enough. So if you're reading this book and you feel like you can't quite grasp what's happening in the first bit of it, just hold on for a little, and you'll all of a sudden click and get off to the races. 

There are so many things to discuss. Okay, starting with Kady. She is incredible and amazing and wow I was just so impressed with her character throughout the novel. From being separated from everyone she knew to then finding out about the fate of her mother and probable fate of her father, she kept it really together. She even reached inside herself to find the drive and steel that would allow her to save a lot of lives, including her own. Her hacking skills are off the charts, and while I'm sure that is going to cause a lot of trouble for her in the next book, I definitely hope we get to see a lot more of it. Throughout the whole creepy ordeal with Aidan and with the Phobos virus, I would've completely lost whatever mettle I have, but she kept on surprising me, and I loved it. 

As for Ezra, I liked him too, but he was in the limelight a lot less than Kady was, and even then, more just to prop her up. I really feel like Kady is the main star of this novel, which I don't hate at all, but I felt like we needed more time to get to know Ezra more, especially since, for like a third of the book, his parts weren't even him, but AIDAN masquerading as him. I feel that we will get more of a glimpse at him in the next book, but for now, I settle for a healthy like of Ezra. 

AIDAN. These were the parts that really creeped me out. Its like all of humanity's worst nightmares about AI all rolled into one, and then taken up a few more notches for good measure. AIDAN gave us the first real shock of this novel: aka the destruction of the copernicus, and just got weirder and creepier from there. Even though it kind of redeemed itself in the end, I still think that Kady bringing a piece of it along with her into the next novel is going to have a huge consequence that no one will be able to see coming. I mean, what's standing in the way of that little piece infecting every ship and computer in this world? I think that AIDAN was a really awesome conflict to introduce, and I really can't decide what's worse: the thought of a defective AI unit taking over the galaxy or the 100% mortality rate of Phobos spreading around. 

As for Phobos, that was the scariest part of the novel, for me. AIDAN was creepy, sure, but this virus is terrifying. And you know that this novel is not going to be the last we hear about it, for sure. For everything that got revealed in this novel, there is still so much that we are still in the dark about, which, of course, makes me 100% more excited for the next one, but is still frustrating. What did  Kady mean when she said she knew "everything" at the end? Who the hell really is Ezra's mom? Where did Phobos come from and why did it get unleashed on Kerenza? What the heck does BeiTech want? Everything is so crazy and convoluted still, I just feel like there are so many unanswered questions. My heart was in my throat for the majority of this novel, and if you like heart-pounding space thrillers, I'd say this is the book for you.




  1. Great review! This was one of my favorite books of the year. And that cliffhanger-ending? The illustrations? Just everything about it was so amazing! *-* I’m glad you liked it! :D

    Also, I love your little snowflakes, they’re so cute! C:

    Caroline @ Just Another Bookish Blog

    1. Thanks for your comment, Caroline!!! I definitely thought this book was one of the most creative and amazing releases of this year!!! I'm glad we both enjoyed it :)


80% Read the Printed Word!