Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Rating: 5 stars
Series: The Illuminae #1
Release Date: October 20th 2015
Goodreads Synopsis:I started this book Sunday night. I finished Monday night. If we're being technical I read the first page on Saturday, but regardless - Every time I had to put this book down because I had to do something else, I couldn't. I couldn't even sleep without reading another 100 pages. There's something compelling about this book, because it is a conglomeration of everything, and it's a good conglomeration. Illuminae takes what you expect from a sci-fi, from a dystopian novel, from a romance, and tosses it out the window to create its own totally new experience.
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.
(And my friends/fellow blogger buds at Wonderland Novels didn't read it yet so I will try my best to remain not so-spoiler-y, although they really should read it!)
That being said, Illuminae starts out following the attack of the small colony Kerenza by a corporation known as Beitech. Survivors Erza Mason and Kady Grant, the latter having dumped the former earlier that day, are two of thousands of survivors onboard the three ships - Copernicus, Hypatia, Alexander. You're introduced to a ton of characters as the book goes on, and for the hundred or so pages of the book I wasn't sure where everything was going, besides the fact that they were trying to escape the Lincoln. But then Copernicus blows up... and it starts to get really fishy.
From all the emails and artsy dialogues and comms with all the characters, you start to see that while everyone is trying to do the right thing, is it really the right thing? AIDAN (Alexander's supercomputer) was programmed to protect everyone, but sacrifices others in the process who are deemed "harmful" to protecting Hypatia. Captain David Torrence orders to shoot down those who tried to protect Copernicus. Acting-Captain Syra Boll has to flush out the survivors from Alexander into space when she finds out some have the Phobos virus. And the way Illuminae displays these decisions, whether in be in caps or swirls or words or names flashed across a page, tears at my heart.
A lot of these scenes were so artfully crafted so when they were revealed (as Kady never responds directly to Ezra asking about her mom), my feels were broken. The two moments I have to say rank the top of the 'Raisa actually got really sad' scenes had to do with Kady's mom and the one with Acting-Captian Syra Boll and 'Chatter' Mikael Carlin. When you read these, you'll see why.
Illuminae took the whole dystopian genre to an entirely new level. Space, literally. There will be many characters you love. There will be many characters you question in terms of judgment. There will be AIDAN, and I couldn't tell if he was good or bad until the very end. I felt bad for everyone. I was attached to everyone, without even reading about them in the typical descriptive storytelling format. Zhang's banter or McNulty's talk about the "Astro Princess" or Ann Chau's strong conviction for the Hypatia and the crew. Whether they die or not, that remains to be seen if you read the book! But they're all tested, and some of them even go mad.
I didn't think this book could get scary. But it got scary. I'm not even scared of scary movies and I was scared of the 'DON'T LOOK AT ME" mantras of the afflicted. There's even a few visuals to match, that's the creepy part. And because I played Bioshock, I ended up comparing this to the splicers (the zombie things).
Before I make this into the longest review ever, I gotta say a few words about our main characters. Ezra and Kady. Their love isn't defined by kisses or hugs, but rather words of caring and looking out for each other and unlike other books, it felt real. Even though Kady broke up with him, she still cared. And Ezra tried to win her back (and succeeded) using the sweetest gestures ever! (If only a guy sent me computer roses).
This book broke a lot of tropes. Kady, sure she stood out, pink hair and all. She had a boyfriend. But she was antisocial. And she loved her mom! And while she was extremely determined to save Ezra, she was also scared. Moral righteousness or for the greater good, you ask? Most of the higher ups spoke for the greater good, even AIDAN, so this was not a walk in the park full of rainbows everyone will survive book.
This book came to life, in forms you would least expect - emails, texts? Everyone seems so dull in their texts in real life. But that isn't the case there. Kaufman and Kristoff utilized everything, from art to posters to font change, to bring us the masterpiece that is Illuminae.
Liked or disliked Illuminae? Hopefully liked it? Tell me what you think in the comments below!