Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Book Review

July 7th – 12th 2018

I like books that are told in abstract formats. Text chats, news articles, interviews, letters, emails, this book had it all. Coming off the tails of the Themis Files, I was still craving science fiction, still craving alternative formats, and I’d had this book since I was in college. It seemed to fit the bill.

This book was easy to get into. The format made the 500 pages fly by, and I finished most of it over one night (staying up probably way too late). It suffered from some common young adult novel tropes, but it’s a young adult novel, so that’s to be expected.

We start with an interview about the destruction of a small mining planet. It’s immediately evident that there is a lot happening here. We’re introduced to our two main characters, Ezra and Kady, who had just broken up on the day that their planet is being invaded. The majority of the book takes place on the rescue ships that they leave on, in an attempt to escape from one of the ships that had caused this destruction, the Lincoln.

On top of trying to escape, there are airborne pathogens which are causing people to mutate into killers, the artificial intelligence on the ship can’t be trusted, and Kady just isn’t quite over Ezra. Their relationship blossoms over the emails and text communication that we see them have, right up until the explosive finale.

I found the story compelling. Though Kady was sometimes frustrating as a main character, and the circumstances lended towards being more convenient than they should have in my opinion, I was still excited to turn every page. The formatting definitely contributed to that. I would not have enjoyed the book nearly as much as I did if it had been told in a more standard way. I’m excited to get into the sequel, and plan on finishing this series this year.

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