Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

  • Pages: 599
  • Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
  • Series: The Illuminae Files
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Adults

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

This book has honestly been one of my favourite reads of 2015, and it surely did take me by surprise.

Since we are on the topic of being honest, I wasn’t planning on buying this book at all – and although I have been on goodreads and been watching quite a bit of booktubers and been a part of the bookstagram community for a while even before I bought it – I’ve never seen (or maybe I have, but my observation skills are just horrendous) or read a review about the book, until I have finished it and started researching more about the book. So, I went in blind when I read this book.

I didn’t even realise the layout of the book was going to be in IMs and Transcripts – not what I was expecting to be fair.

SPOILER ALERT!!

Layout of the book:

The book reads like a compilation of hacked files from a top secret organisations, which it turns out some of it is (according to the book itself). There are transcriptions of CCTV footage, Interviews, e-mails, IMs, medical reports and documents, as well as schematics of the ships.

I was a bit worried at the layout at first, as although it was nice and different from the books that I read – I was sceptical about how the feelings of the characters were going to show through with the narrative, and whether I was going to be able to appreciate the different emotions of the characters, and of the situations. But nevertheless, it didn’t hinder with the emotions and the effectiveness of the characters at all.

I really liked how artistic they also portrayed the different pages and events – I was at awe at some of the pages and at some points I end up just staring at awe on the pages. Which leads us to some of the drawbacks of the layout of the book. As aesthetically appealing as it was, it was also very distracting and on some instances made it hard for the book to read – especially on some of the scenes where the words are loopty looping all over the page, and I just get confused which sentence comes first or what one follows next.

Characters:

The characters are amazing in this book, Kady is a seventeen-year-old girl who has a knack for programming and hacking, not only that but she is also quite the stubborn, strong-willed and intelligent character – but she also has her soft spots. She is what you call a heroine through and through, a character who may seem so far away from the realistic ideal for a character, but actually the realest out of them all because she is such a beautifully crafted character and I loved her.

Then there was also Ezra who was such a lovely character (I’m not even gonna lie, I’m in-love with him!). He was drafted to become a pilot for one of Alexander’s smaller aircrafts, and he is one of the characters that I wish we had seen more of.

The most incredible character, or if you can even call it that, was the AI – AIDAN. He is the character who has surprised me the most and possibly the one thing that scares us the most – an AI who gains a consciousness and the capacity to make decision on their own without the need for a human to help him with the programs that needs to be done. When you believe that the story is about the romance between the two protagonists, and how they have been separated due to an attack on their planet, etc. etc… well, you’re partly right, but it is also about AIDEN and his actions that you will realise no matter how it seems to be morally wrong – that it was the most practical and also the most sane thing someone has to do in order to save the fleet of survivors.

Not only are the main characters amazing on their own accounts, but I also loved the secondary characters – no matter how brief we come across them, you can tell that they have been written with genuine interest that adds to the story. They feel as real as the main characters and they have personalities of their own. Hence, I found myself wanting to learn more about the other characters within the novel.

Plot

The plot of the story is so intricately woven to create complex scenarios in which you will find yourself having to catch-up and wanting to know more at the same time. Next thing this is about two teenagers who just broke up, then an attack on their planet resulting in the survivors of the attack having to be transported across the galaxy to escape from their pursuers – into an AI attacking a ship where survivors were in with no explanation whatsoever, then there’s an airborne disease causing people to turn against each other and… well kill each other. There are so many plot twists that I couldn’t keep count of all of them, and they kept me on my toes and I loved every bit of it.

If you enjoy Sci-Fi, or is planning on reading a Sci-Fi novel at the moment, then I highly recommend this book!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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