* This review does not contain any spoilers*


Illuminae


Illuminae

Genre:  Science fiction
Publishing Date: October 20th, 2015
Point of View:  Multiple pov, mixed media
Pages:  599 (UK paperback)

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. 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 biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

| Goodreads |


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HOW I WENT INTO IT

Going into this book I was definitely scared. After having it on my shelf for years, putting it on my tbr countless times, and having everyone hype this up beyond belief, I thought there was just no way this was going to live up to all of that. Sci-fi is also a genre I barely ever read. It doesn’t usually capture my interest and quite frankly, most times it just makes me feel dumb because I don’t understand what’s going on.

THE POSITIVES

The sci-fi wasn’t too intense for me (someone who doesn’t read sci-fi). Like I mentioned above, I was scared there would be too many things in this I couldn’t wrap my mind around and I would end up feeling lost. This wasn’t the case at all. Technicalities of the space travel and the systems of the ship were discussed, but only to a certain extent. It gave enough to make it feel real and I definitely didn’t understand all the details, but it didn’t go on for pages and pages so I never felt truly lost. Very grateful for that.

The format made it so interesting and compulsively readable. The whole book is basically one big compilation of files that tell the story of what happened on this spaceship. Interview transcripts, e-mails, chat messages, and diary entries make up the bulk of the story. Yet it also includes surveillance footage transcripts, action reports, posters, medical files, spaceship design, and much more. It was so much fun to take these bits of information from all of the different files and connect everything. It also kind of worked on me the same as short chapters do; “I’ll read just this next file… just one more”. Which ended up making me read this book in 2 days. That’s 300 pages a day when I usually only manage about 50.

It was easy to root for these characters. No matter how dramatic or unbelievably intelligent or witty these characters were sometimes (discussed below), I loved them with a passion. Kady is smart, brave, and doesn’t hesitate to stand up for what she believes is right. Ezra is, to me, one of the most likable characters ever. I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything was going to be alright. And then there’s James McNulty… man… we saw so little of him yet I cared about him SO much. Sidenote: Maybe I’m childish, but I loved how much these characters ⬛ing swear (it was covered up with blocks just like that). Half the fun of this book was trying to figure out which swearword was under there judging from the context.

I actually enjoyed main relationship! That’s saying a lot coming from me, someone who rarely sees the romantic relationship in the book as a plus. At the start of the book, the main characters have just broken up, which makes for an interesting dynamic. Now that the world seems to be ending it’s kind of hard to stay mad at each other. I was 100% convinced of their chemistry (which you could feel even though they were just texting) and I wanted them to find their way back to each other. This book made me feel like maybe I should be trying out more books with an established romance (or second chance romance). 

This book almost made me cry. When it comes to tv shows and movies, I’m a big crybaby. With books, I’m a rock. You could probably count the number of times I’ve cried over a book on one hand. This ALMOST did it. So close. Let’s consider that a win. There were some moments that hit like a punch in the gut. There is also quite a lot of discussion of difficult emotional topics such as grief.

It’s not only intense but also funny. There’s nothing funny about the plot, but the characters’ interactions definitely are. Everything and everyone they have ever know might be completely ⬛ed but that won’t stop Kady and Ezra from making fun of each other. They are both just very witty people, which was highly entertaining. Not only with each other but also with friends and enemies alike. Nobody is safe from their wittiness. An example:

Kady Grant: I wasn’t goint to make it anywhere without another truck. So I stole one from a BeiTech Crew.
Interviewer: I’m sorry, you what?
Kady Grant: I’m frequently underestimated. I think it’s because I’m short.
Interviewer: They didn’t want it back?
Kady Grant: Probably. They were pretty busy jumping out of the way.

The villain is great and unique. I don’t really want to spoil anything so I’m not going to say much, but there was an interesting take on a villain and it will definitely be competing for my best villain of the year award.

THE (SEMI) NEGATIVES

The characters were quite dramatic and soooooo witty. I mean… when you’re in a space battle lasting months and everything around you is going to ⬛, you pretty much have the right to be dramatic. The wittiness was overall a positive. However, some of the dialogue between the two main characters was a bit excessive. It wasn’t so extreme that it actually bothered me, but it did make me think: would these teenage characters really say this? That sort of thing.

The format didn’t permit us to get to know the characters as deeply as I would have liked to. Since we’re reading so may files and reports, but are rarely ever in the mind of any of the characters, it makes it harder to really get to know them. Of course, we do see their personalities in the things they say and do. We also get a few diary entries from Kady. I do feel like the authors did a great job given the format, I just want more from them because I’m greedy.


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TO SUMMARIZE

If it wasn’t clear already, I LOVED it. Even though it was a pretty long book, it absolutely flew by. I was fully invested, the format was really fun, and the characters were precious to me. I kind of feel like I have to smack myself for letting it sit on my shelf for so long.

RECOMMENDING IT TO YOU

I would recommend this to basically everyone. Even if you’re not generally a fan of sci-fi, it’s such a fun action-packed ride. The only thing I can say is to maybe stay away from this if you don’t care for the strange format or if you really don’t like the super witty, intelligent teens thing.


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Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!


14 thoughts on “Illuminae || I can’t believe I let this book sit on my shelf for 4 years

      1. Oooh, yes! I loved “One Word Kill” and “Limited Wish” by Mark Lawrence that I read last year, and they are very short. Also, ‘Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch (still need to read Recursion as well…).
        I just started “Skyward” by Brandon Sanderson and it’s sooooo good. The setting reminds me of the 100 TV show.
        Aaaand, that’s all I can think about at the moment 😀 Ahaha

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I get irrationally excited whenever someone gives Illuminae a review. And then, if it’s a good one, I get irrationally emotionally excited. (I just really love this book!) I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I LOVE this review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE the Illuminae Files!!! It’s one of my favourite books to date! I’m glad you enjoyed it too and I definitely agree with you on ALL the points you made 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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