Rummanah Aasi
 I have read numerous glowing reviews for Illuminae, a new science fiction series by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff. Since I didn't get a chance to read it last year, I made sure to finish it early this year.

Description: 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.

Review: Illuminae pushes the boundaries of what makes a novel. Told exclusively through interviews, chat logs, reports, emails, and security footage. While this format is very unique, it did take me a while to get into the story and figure things out. I did, however, really enjoy piecing the information together along with the characters. The different format did allow clues sprinkled throughout the book as well as build suspense throughout the book when time was running out for the characters.
 Sharing tropes and ideas from classic science fiction writers, Illuminae is an exciting ride. Kady and Ezra just broke up. On the same day, their planet is viciously attacked and they are separated on two different space vessels. Though their romantic relationship is a rocky, they both want to escape destruction, retaliate, and maybe give each other a second chance. There is never a dull moment and the book's fast paced keeps you flipping through the pages to see what new information the characters uncover.
  This first book in a trilogy is simply a long briefing report about the mining colony attack and its aftermath. All of the myriad of documents tells a different part of the story, even parts that are censored or in code. Speaking of censoring, I did find it annoying to have majority of the profanity censored. It made my reading pace a bit slower trying to find the right word so I could read the sentence coherently. I found the use of the Artificial Intelligence really clever. The book is mainly plot driven, but I would have liked a little more of character development of the main characters though we are starting to see them stand on their two feet. 
  Illumiane hints at romance and it reminded me a bit of  what I remember of watching Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey especially with the inclusion of the AI. Given its unique format, I can definitely see this book attract a wide variety of readers, those who obviously enjoy science fiction, but others who enjoy conspiracy and survival stories. I had a lot of questions while reading Illuminae and though it doesn't offer any answers, it left me plenty interested in seeing where the story will go next.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, most of which are censored/blocked off in marker. There is also strong violence throughout the book. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: Starbound trilogy by Amie Kauffman and Megan Spooner, Sky Chaser series by Amy Kathleen Ryan, 2001: Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
8 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    "While this format is very unique, it did take me a while to get into the story and figure things out."

    That's been my main fear with this book Rummanah! This book was HUGE at BEA last year so I had a chance to flip through it an the format was so crazy (gorgeous, but crazy) that I wasn't sure I would be able to read it and piece together the story. It seems like it's not that hard to do once you get used to it though, so maybe I need to give it a second chance:)

  2. I am glad you enjoyed this one. It is so different, but addictive. I am eager to see where it goes from here.

  3. Unknown Says:

    So glad you enjoyed this one, Rummanah! My sisters have been forcing this upon me for months, and I might just jump on it. I like that the curse words have been censored: fun! I hope the second book brings us more character development. Great review!

  4. I've only read a couple of pages of this one but I was hooked right away! I'm glad you enjoyed it so I'm excited to get back to it!!

  5. Aylee Says:

    I still have to get to this one! I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. I love how unique the format of the writing is, though part of me wonders if I would find it tricky to get into, at least in the beginning, like you.

  6. Kindlemom Says:

    I'm so excited to read this, it is definitely high on my must read for 2016.

  7. I haven't read the book but I did such a good job book-talking it to a group of students it was checked out and not returned yet. It intrigues me, though.

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one too, Rummanah! I can't wait for the sequel!

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