Book Reviews

Illuminae: Spoiler-Free Review

“Perhaps bravery is the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

Illuminae is a book that has been incredibly hyped by the book community, and now that we’re nearing the series finale, I figured it was time to give it a shot. The story is told through transcribed files, depicting IM conversations and camera footage following the bombing of an illegal mining territory by the Biotech Corporation. Our main characters, Kady and Ezra, were among the survivors that escaped the attack. Fleeing from Biotech on a fleet of three ships, the two are determined to survive the organization’s pursuit. Unfortunately, there are unusual things happening on both sides of the fight – the two might need to take on the enemy and their own army to make it out of this.

First of all, the experimental structure of this book gives me life. I adore the way Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman chose to tell this story. The IM conversations, video transcriptions, and computer data provided such an authentic storytelling style. I’ve never seen the likes of it before, and I’m really excited to experience more of it in Gemina and Obsidio. I was amazed at how clearly I was able to picture events, despite them being conveyed in this style.

I’d heard mixed things about the characters going into this, but I’m actually impressed by all of them. Kady was honestly a gem, and I loved following a woman with magnificent tech talents. You don’t see that enough in YA. Ezra was definitely an annoying teenage boy, buy that made his character realistic. AIDAN grew on me, despite being artificial intelligence with some screwed up thought processing. And the side characters – especially Byron and McNulty – really added to the story.

The banter between characters made this an emotional read, despite the fact that we’re basically just reading a bunch of documents. I never felt disconnected from the characters because of their interactions with one another. And I mean, can we take a moment to appreciate the love-hate relationship that Kady develops with AIDAN?

These authors aren’t afraid to go there, so don’t get super attached to your faves. I also appreciated the “cursing” scattered throughout the documents. It’s realistic, and the authors even joke at how ridiculous it is that you can write all the deaths and violence you want in YA, but you can’t write the “F word.”

The twist at the ending was a bit predictable, and I can’t say much about it. I had a general idea of who was behind Biotech’s actions since that person was mentioned. Regardless, I’m excited to see how things unfold.

I gave Illuminae 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. It was a unique and entertaining book, and I grew unexpectedly attached to these characters and story lines. Unfortunately, it didn’t 5-star “wow” me. But there’s always hope for the sequels!

Have you guys read this novel? What did you think of it?

5 thoughts on “Illuminae: Spoiler-Free Review”

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! The formatting alone is definitely a reason to give it a try. It’s a unique experience.

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