Book Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted December 16, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files,
Published by Random House Children's Books on October 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic, Science Fiction
Pages: 608
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780553499117
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

For fans of Marie Lu comes the first book in an epic series that bends the sci-fi genre into a new dimension.    "A truly beautiful novel that redefines the form." --Victoria Aveyard, bestselling author of Red Queen

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 a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra--who are barely even talking to each other--are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.      But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet's AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it's clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

      Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents--including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more--Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.  

“Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”

Illuminae is a fantastic book by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff that takes place in the year 2575. The story centers around Kady and her ex-boyfriend Ezra, who end up fleeing through space from a crazy corporation who just blew up their home planet. The two wind up on different ships, and the story is told via their emails, IMs, and surveillance videos or military dossiers. Not only did I love the story, but the book itself was a work of art.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

As characters, Ezra and Kady weren’t the best, because it’s hard to get invested in characters via internet chats. However, they were written well enough that I believe their characters will develop more completely in the second installment. My favorite character may not have been Ezra or Katy, but it was AIDAN, the crazy AI that takes control over one of their ships. AIDAN’s character reminded me of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and he made a cool foil for the main protagonists. Plus, out of everyone, he had the best character development.


Even though the plot isn’t the most original science fiction story on the market, the cool artistic delivery of the story seemed to breathe new life into it. The use of print and graphics added emotion to the story that might otherwise be missing due to the story being told via text message, and the like. Battle scenes really came alive, as did many other important emotional parts of the story. While this story takes place in space, all of the elements that make up dystopian fantasy are present. There’s an evil corporation trying to take over the world, people fighting against them, and a feeling of oppression. I may not have bought into Ezra and Kady’s romance just yet, but I still wanted to root for them to survive their horrible situation.

“You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who’ll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back.”

Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who love dystopian fantasy, space operas, and psychotic technology. The story proves to be predictable from time to time, but the way it was delivered more than made up for that. The writing gripped me immediately, and had me LOLing one minute, and cringing in horror the next. Despite this being a romantic, dystopian fantasy, there are many scenes of graphic horror and violence, so I wouldn’t recommend Illuminae for really young readers. Think The Walking Dead kind of graphic. I think this was a great first entry to a trilogy, and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating Report
Overall: 4

About Amie Kaufman

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.

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE LOTUS WAR, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. He is a winner of the Aurealis Award, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named in the Kirkus Best Teen Books list and published in over twenty countries, most of which he has never visited. Being the holder of an arts degree, he has no education to speak of. 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.

He does not believe in happy endings.


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