ARC Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

ARC Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, Random House Children's on October 20, 2015
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 608
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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.

Right from the start, you know ILLUMINAE is going to be a unique book; the storytelling is done completely through documents like emails, online journals, combat reports, surveillance footage, Im’s, schematics, and the creepy log of an AI.

So basically, our two heroes, Kady and Ezra (Kady’s ex), were living pretty boring lives on this mining planet, when suddenly, this company called BeiTech attacks them (the planet, not Kady and Ezra specifically). A few thousand people survive on ships with the help of AIDAN, the AI in charge of the battleship Alexander Ezra is on. Kady is stuck on the Hypatia, a science vessel, while her mother is transferred to the Copernicus, to study a new disease that BeiTech brought with their attack. Suddenly, this disease is more than just a simple problem of quarantine and treat; it’s victims are going insane and brutally murdering everyone in their path. And if that’s not enough, BeiTech is still after them. Even worse, AIDAN, the AI charged with protecting the fleet, begins having less than protective ideas.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. I love this kind of Sci-Fi (it’s very reminiscent plot-wise of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly), but I wasn’t sure I would like the storytelling. It took a little to get into, and the first third or so moved pretty slowly, but once all hell broke loose around the midway point, I couldn’t put it down. Everything became so ridiculously intense. I seriously thought everyone was going to die. Or be eaten by psychotic cannibals. Which I guess is still dying.

This book is action packed, which was another fascinating thing because of the style of storytelling.

There were times, especially early on that I wasn’t sure what was going on or which characters were involved in the conversations. This is probably due to the style of storytelling, and it’s hard to get a good sense of a character by reading an email. But as the book goes along, you figure out who is important and who maybe isn’t as important. They make it pretty clear.

There’s an entire section about AIDAN, the AI, and that is creepy as all get out. It’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey all over again. I mean, seriously. Destroy that thing now.

One of the best parts was that I wasn’t expecting the ending. At all. I’ll say the same thing for the twists. There were some fantastic twists that completely blindsided me. This book will certainly keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat up until the very last page.

I would love to get my hands on a hard copy of this book, since there are some really interesting and gorgeous illustrated pages that the ebook just doesn’t do justice. They were still super cool to look at, but I can’t wait to see them physically.

This book is a fight for survival from page one up until the last chapter. And it’s a bleak, ridiculous, terrifying, thrilling ride. There’s really even a sweet romance that helps give some humanity to the main characters, and is the real connection that you hold onto during all the killing and insanity and hopelessness. If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, you must get your hands on this book.

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