Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Science Fiction | Mixed Media | Young Adult
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released October 20th, 2015
Goodreads | Amazon
For most of my twenties, science fiction was my favorite genre. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it made up roughly 80% of everything I read. A few years ago, however, my tastes shifted and I transitioned to reading more fantasy, literary fiction, and historical fiction and put science fiction on the back burner. I just haven’t been feeling it as much.
Then I read Illuminae, and it reawakened my love of science fiction.
The Illuminae Files is a young adult science fiction trilogy told in mixed media format. This means that rather than traditional chapters, the story is told through maps, emails, interviews, military documents, etc. It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a mixed media book, and it was a lot of fun to read through this novel.
Illuminae takes place in the year 2575 as Ezra and Kady’s planet is invaded by a greedy corporation. They escape but are being pursued by the corporation’s warships. Things are so much worse than that, however, as a deadly plague breaks out on one of the three starships that escaped, and the artificial intelligence on the lead ship, named AIDAN, isn’t working quite right. Making things even worse is that the leaders/government officials on the main ship are not telling everyone the truth about what’s going on.
Kady is a fantastic and snarky character who uses her crazy-good hacking skills to discover what secrets are being held back from the community. Ezra, Kady’s kind-of ex-boyfriend, is on a different ship than she is, and they try to grow their relationship while Kady uses him to try to save everyone.
This book flows so easily that I managed to finish all 602 pages in a single day. There’s so much wonderful suspense and conflict to keep you hooked through every single page of it. True, there are plenty of science fiction tropes here, but they’re written in such a way that it doesn’t feel like it’s been done a thousand times before.
All of the characters are wonderful, including the side characters. The settings are fascinating and I loved that this was set so far into the future that the writers had the artistic liberties to be incredibly creative with the technology used in the story.
I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the next books in this series. I’ve also heard from many people that the audiobooks are incredible and done with a full cast, so I might give those a chance.
If you want a fun-to-read, exciting science fiction series to get hooked on, Illuminae should be on your reading list.