Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Number of Pages: 608
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.0/5.0)
This book is full of surprises. 😍 If I hadn’t bought the physical book, I don’t think I would’ve ever wanted to read it. First of all it is because I’m more into fantasy than science fiction. Second of all, when I first heard the book was put together into a collection of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—, it didn’t appeal to me. I couldn’t see how that would work out. Plus, I was skeptical I’d be able to understand the book since I bet there would be many scientific, technological, futuristic, galaxy-ish terminologies I wouldn’t know the meaning of. While those are true, there are also many good things about this book. 😀
First of all, let’s talk about the characters and their developments. There are so many characters sometimes I get confused which one is who. I can’t really remember them because they aren’t really well described. There are limited descriptions on how they look like physically. Also, their names are hard to remember. When reading their chat history documents (IMs), emails, or other reports, they use their family names for their usernames. When they converse casually, they call each others their nicknames. As a result, they all get blurry in my head. 🤷 Therefore, I begin to associate them with what they do, for example the hacker, the captain, the lieutenant.
With how the story is told, it is hard to see the character developments and to really connect with each one of the characters. Everyone appears on glimpses. We know the characters, but we don’t really get to see what’s their story, why they are who they are, and what the reasons behind their actions are.
“I am frequently underestimated. I think it’s because I’m short.”
Kady is weak. No. Weak is too condemning. Kady is constantly in grief and unmotivated at times. I disagree with her a few times, but she is smart and persistent when she has set her mind on something. I did come to like her in the end because of her baddassary in her last scene. 😎
“You have me. Until the last star in the galaxy dies, you have me.”
Ezra is so funny and sweet. That’s just it. Also, I kind of picture him as a combination of Kai and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. 😂
“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.”
I like AIDAN a lot. He/it is my favorite. ❤️
Second of all, the romance in this book is very unsatisfying. 😒 Both Ezra and Kady have already known each other and have just gotten out of their relationship. The reason of their break up is also vague. It’s more of a reason to have an argument rather than to end a relationship. They do get ‘back together’, but I don’t see any other reason for it other than they come to realization that it is better to love each other and be together when they have no one else and the universe is ending. I wanted more of them than what is presented in the book. I kind of hoped Kady and AIDAN were involved with each other romantically, if only AIDAN were a human. 😂 Their story is more interesting than Ezra and Kady’s.
The next is the plot. I like the overall story. I think this book is a mix between The Martian and The Lunar Chronicles. With Ezra and Kady’s poor relationship development I would’ve liked this book less if it weren’t for AIDAN. I think with this AI it sheds lights on human and their technology. Not only does it help them, it can also be human’s destruction. Furthermore, maybe like human it also has a mind and a feeling of its own.
I was expecting that this book focuses more on Kady and Ezra saving the universe together. It didn’t. Although I was saddened by it, I’m glad AIDAN makes up for it. There are also some surprising plot twists and good action scenes that keep me going with this book. Moreover, the phase of the story progresses pretty well. Although the book has almost 600 pages, you’ll find that you finish the book before you even realize it. 😀
The last one is the writing. I think it is brilliant. You can make out shapes from it. I think it gives a good visual effect and appeals to readers’ emotions. The language however is sometimes tiring. It is because once in a while with all the formal English in records, such as medical reports and military files, I found some words that I was not familiar with and didn’t know the meaning of. Aside from this, the rest are amazing, kind of poetic, and quotable.
Overall, I really like this book. 💖 After thinking for some time, I decided to give this book 4.0 stars. With its beautiful package and how it is incorporated as one full story from collective hacked documents, I think this is a winning point. It’s creative, original, and unique. On the other hand, because of that it also comes with a price. The plot line and the characters are kind of all over the place and not deeply rooted. With everything that happens in the book and how they are described, readers can get a grip of the situations but they aren’t really invested in the story. Therefore, some readers may find themselves confused and disconnected. Nonetheless, for me it was a pleasure experience reading this one. I will definitely read the next book.
That’s all I have to say for this review. Let me know what you think about this book. Do you have any recommendations for books similar to this one? Thank you for reading. And I’ll see you with another book review! 😘