Book Review – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae CoverIlluminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Expected Publication: October 20th, 2015

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 215 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Read: October 2015

Amie KaufmanJay KristoffGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Knopf Books for Young Readers and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
One moment, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason have nothing bigger to worry about than each other. Specifically, avoiding each other in the wake of their messy break-up. In the next second, their entire world falls apart.
The year is 2375 and one of the mega-corporations that control much of deep space has just fired the opening salvo in an intergalactic war, destroying Kady and Ezra’s planet. Forced to flee on a small fleet of crippled rescue ships alongside thousands of other refugees, the fear of enemy warships chasing them down is at first all-consuming but soon becomes the least of their worries. A deadly plague is ravaging the refugees on the ships; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be an enemy; and High Command is refusing to acknowledge that there may be a serious problem. As Kady plunges into a tangled web of data in search of the truth, she realizes that Ezra is possibly the only person who can help her save the refugees before it’s too late.

Critically
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This plot of this book is not really a linear plot. It’s a story retold from different mediums and in the form a confidential file. It’s suspenseful and full of action. There were parts that were incredibly gruesome and just plain creepy. Those things were no joke, definitely could not read this at night. There was so much intensity and strangeness, I didn’t know where to turn or how it was going to end.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly I almost took this section out for this review because I feel like I can’t really judge how the writing styles of these authors are in this book because of the type of medium they used. It’s a compilation of pictures, emails, IMs and surveillance footage so it’s really hard to say something about the writing style. I can say that the story portrayed itself very well and I understood everything that was going on.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
There are so many characters in this book, it’s insane. A lot of minor characters, people that come and go, secondary characters that stay around for awhile and make a splash as well as our main characters who are the protagonists of this story. Our narrator for the majority of this book is Kady. She’s a very headstrong and determined young lady. She’s been placed in a life or death situation and she’s fighting tooth and nail to stay alive. She’s also fierce and sassy, incredibly sarcastic and intelligent. I really liked her personality and how she told her story. Even in her moments of weakness or vulnerability, she put others before herself and worked her ass off. Ezra, our male protagonist, is different. I feel like I didn’t connect with him and his personality as much as I would’ve liked. He’s sweet and charming and funny. He’s very open and charismatic even with all the crazy and dangerous things he’s experiencing. He’s strong but he gets really stressed and worried about what’s going on and takes more of a backseat approach to the problems while Kady tries to take them by the horns and make them her bitch.

Emotionally

 I wish I would’ve read a physical edition of this book because I feel like I missed some things since the digital edition I read didn’t show some things clearly.

The plot is not actually a plot, not like we are used to and definitely not one I have read before. We are being told a story of an attack on a space colony through IMs, emails, altered and hidden documents as well as pictures. It centers around the specific experiences of these two teenagers who recently broke up before the attack on their home. I really enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would which I think can be explained by a few things. It was really interesting and kept me hook the whole time. The science aspect (the ships, the galaxies, the traveling, etc.) was really intricate but still hard to follow. I didn’t feel like I needed to go back to school to understand the lingo or what was going on which I appreciated. It was not too complicated that I couldn’t follow but complicated enough that it sounded real. Who knows if it really is but it seemed like it. There was a lot of suspense and mystery which kept you on your toes. You were a little clueless about things going on and slowly but surely things start to reveal themselves but more problems start arising. There was a specific section of the plot that revolved around a disease. I’m not going to go too into it cause spoilers obviously but it creeped me the fuck out.

Kady was amazing. I really liked her and her journey. She’s fierce and determined to stay alive and most important I think, the part that shows her personality more, to keep as many people alive as she can. She so so smart, smart enough to stay alive and to smell a rat when she finds one. She’s resourceful and educated and she’s just awesome. She’s also sassy and her personality shines through no matter how little of an interaction we see of her. Ezra on the other hand, I’m sad to say that I didn’t connect with him much. One: he’s not the main voice in the story, so we don’t see a lot of him considering the style of the book. And two: he’s weaker than Kady I guess you can say. He’s sweet and charming but he takes things a lot more to heart and is more vulnerable to his surroundings. I feel like if Kady hadn’t been looking at for him and telling him what was going on, he would’ve been eaten alive so to speak.

Maybe because of that I wasn’t really as sold on the romance as I’m sure the authors wanted the reader to be. I was more interested in the science and the fighting than in the love the main characters had for each other. Which to me is awesome but part of the specific appeal of this book was the lovers fighting to be together again.

There was so much death it was ridiculous. I wasn’t expecting so much of it and I almost felt like there weren’t going to be any more characters to continue the series. (Can you tell I haven’t read Game of Thrones?)

And the last thing I want to talk about is one of the main reasons that I gave this 4 stars instead of 5: the format in which I read it. I was given an e-ARC from NetGalley but because of the format of the book, there was no Kindle option. It was in Adobe Digital Editions format and I thought that’d be okay but it became a huge problem. There were pictures that I couldn’t zoom in on so I couldn’t read the parts I needed. Sometimes the words were too small and I couldn’t figure out a way to read them well. It was really frustrating because every time one of those hiccups would happen, I’d feel like I wasn’t getting the experience of the book that I wanted. I have a certainty that this would’ve been a five star book if I had read it in a physical copy.

So that’s it for this review! Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts on my thoughts and if you’re thinking of reading this book or not. If you have read it, let me know what you think! See you on my next post.

XOXO

Sara

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