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

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In the year 2575, seventeen year old Kady breaks up with her boyfriend Ezra. Little did she know that would also be the day that their planet was attacked. Still reeling from their breakup, Kady and Ezra must work together to get safely inside one of the spaceships that can get them off of their planet and reach a safe point. After making it to the ships, they are separated, and Ezra makes it onto the spaceship Alexander, and Kady makes it onto Hypatia.

Little do they know, their problems are just beginning. Not only is a virus spreading and causing those contaminated into attempt to harm others, but the corporation who invited their planet is hot on their tail trying to wipe out any remaining survivors. The commanders of the ships are remaining tight lipped about all of the details, so Kady decides to take things into her own hands by hacking into the computer systems. It turns out that the one person who can help her uncover the truth is none other than her ex-boyfriend, Ezra.

Told through a series of case files, IM’s, emails, interviews, and more, Illuminae is a fast paced story about two regular teenagers forced to step up in order to save themselves and the ones they love.

I am a huge fan of epistolary novels, and will basically read anything told in email/text/IM format. I think they are fun and unique, and I just love reading them. That said, I was a little hesitant to read Illuminae, because generally sci-fi is not my thing. After seeing so many positive reviews coming in from people I trust, I decided to give it a try. I bought the book, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for probably 9 months. I finally decided to pick it up, and I was instantly hooked. I read the book in two sittings!

Initially, I did find myself confused until about 100 or so pages in. It took a little bit for me to understand the language and learn who the different characters were and how they related to each other, but once I got that part down, I flew through the book. I stayed up way too late reading it during my first sitting, but I was dying to know what would happen!

I really loved all of the characters. It was refreshing to not see another YA book fall down the “insta-love” rabbit hole. Instead, we see a couple who has been together for a while, but opted to break up. They’re mad at each other, but you can tell there are still feelings there. The feelings develop and change throughout the book, and I liked seeing the relationship change sort of in the reverse of what I normally see. I found Kady to be a wonderfully competent character. I hardly ever read books where a woman is into computers, coding, hacking, and other technical skills, so I loved that it was Kady who played that role and not Ezra.

I also loved that the story was told from both Ezra and Kady’s points of view, based on which one of them was IMing or interviewing at the time. It felt like it made each character more developed and well rounded, and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the fact that I’m generally not a huge fan of sci-fi, I loved this one. I felt like it was done really well, and written in a way that didn’t feel confusing on insanely far fetched. I found myself wanting to know more about the times they lived in, and to learn more about their planet and the way things worked in this new world where space travel is possible, so I actually really liked that aspect of the book, which completely surprised me.

The book was really fast paced, and there was a ton of action! The end of the book was so intense and I just loved how everything played out. Illuminae did leave on a cliffhanger, so if you plan to read it, make sure you have Gemina ready to go! I made that mistake and am (very impatiently) waiting for my copy of Gemina to get delivered from Amazon tomorrow!

I highly recommend this one, even if sci-fi isn’t usually your thing, give it a chance and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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4 thoughts on “Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. I’m so with you here!! the first 100-pages had me SO confused.😂 But then I was hooked (especially when AIDAN came in ajfksalfd I love that psycho computer system) and I couldn’t put it down at all. The unique formatting just made it ❤ and also the HEARTBREAK IT PUT ME THROUGH AHHHHH.❤️💔 Will you read Gemina soon now?! IT'S SO SO GOOD TOO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! I’m dying to read Gemina! I ordered it as soon as I realized I liked Illuminae so it’s supposed to get delivered today! I can’t wait!! At first I was like “why does everyone love AIDAN, he’s psycho” but then by the end of the book I was like “okay, I get it!” I just looooove epistolary books! I need ALL the books told through IMs/texts/emails/etc. ❤️❤️

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  2. I am very excited after reading your review! A friend gifted me both of these recently. I love the formatting from what I have seen skimming through them. As someone who already appreciates the genre, I find it very promising you were able to connect so well as a reader who doesn’t normally get into sci-fi as much!

    Liked by 1 person

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