Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

So… it’s been a long while since I last wrote a review — even though I read quite a lot of books — and here we are in 2016, I’m now back to book blogging, this time with my friend Aggy, and I’ve just finished a book so good I just had to go straight ahead and write this review!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman  Jay Kristoff, aka probably the book with the most hype in the last months of 2015. And while I try not to jump into the bandwagon of all-that-hype, Illuminae got me curious. Well, more like I really really wanted to read this book, but I figured I had to get a hard copy… except the hardcover was SO expensive! Luckily, I found a softcover version on sale, so  I ordered a copy. This however, took forever to arrive because it was sold out *gasp* but it finally arrived yesterday, and I started reading right away, and lo and behold, I have finished reading! And I really wish the second book is already out, but meh, we all have to wait until probably the last months of the year for that. Torture.

Anyway, first the obvious. Illuminae is not the usual book with chapters of words stringed together (what am I saying?) Instead, it is a “collection of hacked documents” which basically means part of the story isn’t told in narratives. We get e-mails, chats, surveillance reports, conversation transcripts, schematics, and a log of a computer’s thought processes. Brilliantly executed, although if I want to get technical about it some parts don’t quite fit the narrative, especially at the end. Also, the voices weren’t quite as distinct as I would normally expect. Like, if I didn’t read the heading of the documents, I might not be able to distinguish who was talking/writing. Oh, and some people would probably find the whole format pretty confusing, because you kinda have to put pieces together to understand what’s going on. Fortunately, I love having to do that.

Nevertheless, Illuminae tells a great story in a great way, and it was hard to put down. Also, I actually cried twice and I don’t usually cry much when reading (care to guess which parts made me cry?). I loved that the book was full of surprises I never saw coming, including some plot twists that totally made me go “wait, what?!”. Illuminae is jam-packed with action, but also a lot of feelings, and well let’s admit some parts were cringe-worthy but sweet at the same time. I do think Kady and what’s his name Ezra seemed to be a little older than their supposed ages, but I guess being stuck in the middle of a life-or-death situation would do that to you. Well except for the blunt age-appropriate fact somewhere in the beginning, and I quote:

Ezra Mason: … It was so stupid. The world is ending all around us and we’re screaming about college application and commitment and <censored>. I mean, can you believe that?
Interviewer: You’re seventeen, right?
Ezra Mason: Almost eighteen.
Interviewer: Then yes, I believe it.

LOL. So yeah. This book, everyone. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe, it made me smile, it made me “aww” and it made me “what?” and I love this book because of all that. Over.

Illuminae Book Cover Illuminae
The Illuminae Files #1
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

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.

If I had my way, I'd spend the rest of my days at the corner of a coffee shop, reading, writing, and talking to the one I love.

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