Stunning Space Opera: A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaecoverTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Hardback: 599 Pages
Source: Gift

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.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Five years ago a friend loaned me a copy of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I got a quarter of the way into the 700 page tome and decided it just wasn’t for me. I absolutely hated the non-traditional formatting the author used to tell his story. I considered taking scissors to the book in order to “correct” it a handful of times before I finally called it quits. I promised myself that I was done with “unique” formatting. My OCD simply couldn’t handle it.

I stuck with that promise until Christmas, when I asked for Illuminae. I couldn’t help it. I knew going in that the formatting was going to be interesting. I knew that I would probably hate it. The reviews were just too good to ignore. Plus, I can’t get enough space opera. So, I broke my promise and I read it. It took me a grand total of three days to blow through all 599 pages.

Guess what? I didn’t reach for my scissors once.

Illuminae is wonderful.

Kaufman and Kristoff took a risk with the storytelling and it really paid off. I was certain there would be issues with character development due to these decisions. I was wrong. Katy and Ezra were extremely well developed and easy to love. They even utilized IM chat speak in order to show the differences in personality. It was very well done (if a tad bit annoying at first).

This book was like reading a puzzle. The reader is constantly storing information provided in the dossier in order to piece together the entire story. It made the story more engaging. Nothing was obvious or predictable, and nothing was given away too soon. I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book.

To top it all off Illuminae is the most beautiful book I have ever owned. Each page is more visually stunning than the next. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating this graphic masterpiece. It is truly stunning.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction or just wants to read something fun and attractive with a nice romance. My only suggestion would be to buy it in hardcover or paperback, as this book would be nearly impossible to read in ebook format.


- The Butcher (1)

10 thoughts on “Stunning Space Opera: A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. I love Illuminae! I had the same fears that the formatting would take from the characters but it was absolutely perfect, I couldn’t ask for a better book and I love the hardback its stunning 🙂 I can’t wait for Gemina!

    Liked by 1 person

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