Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – A Review

Illuminae Kaufman Kristoff

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
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

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.

Amy Kaufman.jpg
Amie Kaufman

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.

Jay Kristoff.jpg
Jay Kristoff

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.

Have you read The Illuminae Files? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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The Winners of the 2019 Hugo Awards


The winners of the 2019 Hugo Awards were announced on August 18th. There are some truly great titles on this list. Let’s get to it.

Best Novel

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal


Best Novella

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells


Best Novelette

“If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” by Zen Cho

Best Short Story

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow

Best Series

Wayfarers by Becky Chambers


Best Related Work

Archive of Our Own
Organization for Transformative Works

Best Graphic Story

Monstress, Volume 3 by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

The Good Place: “Janet(s)”
Written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan
Directed by Morgan Sackett

Best Editor, Short Form

Gardner Dozois

Best Editor, Long Form

Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

Charles Vess

Best Semiprozine

Uncanny Magazine
Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
Managing Editor Michi Trota
Podcast Producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue
Editors-in-Chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine

Lady Business
Editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan


Best Fancast

Our Opinions Are Correct
Hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders


Best Fan Writer

Foz Meadows

Best Fan Artist

Likhain (Mia Sereno)

Best Art Book

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Written by Ursula K. Le Guin
Illustrated by Charles Vess


Have do you think of these winners? Let me know in the comments!

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Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron

Daisy's Run: Book One of The Clockwork Chimera by Scott Baron; new books, scifi books, what should i read next; good books coming out in november

The Book

Daisy’s Run by Scott Baron
Part One of The Clockwork Chimera series
Amazon | Goodreads
Published by Curiouser
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | FacebookTwitter
Obtained through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

What It Is

Daisy’s Run is the first in a five-part science fiction series focused on artificial intelligence, cyborgs, spaceships, and what it means to be human.

After an accident in space, the crew of a massive spaceship, the Vali, is woken from their cryo-sleep in order to repair the ship. One of these characters is Daisy, one of the two technicians/engineers on the ship. She and Sarah work together to try to repair a ship that seems to be constantly malfunctioning, until one day a tragic event occurs and Sarah is jettisoned into space.

Daisy is wary of the artificial intelligence all around her, including the cybernetic implants that almost all of the crew have. The ship is full of other futuristic technology, such as neuro-stims, which allow the crew to learn new information as they sleep by plugging a cord into the back of their heads.

As time goes on, Daisy starts to realize that the ship and everyone on it may not be what they seem, and she goes on a mission to uncover the truth.

My Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. As readers of this blog probably already know, science fiction is my favorite genre, and I’m always searching for new books and series to get into.

From the very first page, I found myself getting very strong Star Trek vibes, which is exciting since Star Trek is the most important thing in the world (yes, I am a Trekkie). A cyborg/android that appears human; Gustavo, a character that has artificial eyes that allow him to see in multiple spectrums; a responsive, personable ship’s computer; food replicators – all things that make me think of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

Scott Baron does a great job with setting and landscape. While following the characters on the ship, I could easily picture everything in my head. When the story moves down to Los Angeles, I really enjoyed the imagery of an empty city.

I did not like Daisy’s character, although I do think Scott Baron did a fine job of writing her. I simply did not enjoy her personality: I found her to be irrational, rash, and prejudiced. Her main reason for not liking cyborgs and being judgemental of her cybernetically-enhanced crewmates appears to be that they creep her out, which gave me absolutely no sympathy for her. She also has a tendency to be patronizing, which is most apparent when she’s speaking to Alfred Chu.

The main problem I had with Daisy is that her unwillingness to listen to her crewmates was so incredibly frustrating. There were times throughout the book where I wished I could reach into the story, grab her by the shoulders, and shake her until she agreed to listen to what they had to say.

When Daisy reaches Los Angeles, she encounters a completely new type of threat, which I won’t mention due to spoilers, but ultimately I believe it is a threat that would cause most people to re-evaluate their objectives, but not Daisy. She seems to be so focused on her original, somewhat irritating, goals, that she seems to just ignore the new threat entirely.

My not liking Daisy actually led to my enjoying the book more. It is very difficult for a writer to write a compelling character, and even more difficult to write a compelling, unlikeable character into a novel, and still have the novel itself be enjoyable. It was refreshing to read a book where I wasn’t rooting for the main character, but couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

The main reason I could not give this book five stars is due to two main points: The novel never addresses whether Sarah’s death was an accident or not. It’s a major plot hole that I’m surprised was never addressed. Also, I was really disappointed in the ending of the book. I read a lot of book series, and the best ones offer novels that can stand on their own even if you don’t read the whole series. Each book is a complete story. I cannot say that about Daisy’s Run: the book ends more like a television show, in the middle of an incident. There’s no closure at the end of this book, and while I will probably read the next four books at some point, I did not enjoy the story ending in the middle of a cliffhanger.

Another quick note is that all five of these books are being released on the same day. I’m not sure why that is being done, and I personally do not believe it is a good choice. One of the exciting things about book series is the anticipation between book releases. Think of a book series you read as they were being released. For me, that’s Harry Potter. When I finished each book, I was so anxious to get my hands on the next one. I spent so much time between book releases dreaming of what could happen next, and it was well worth the wait when I could finally go to the bookstore to get the next one. I feel like releasing an entire series at the same time robs the readers of that excitement.


I struggled to choose a rating for this novel. I kept wavering between 3-4.5 stars. I’m still not really sure, but I’m settling on 4 out of 5 stars. The main issue I had with this book was the way it ended, but the rest of it I really enjoyed. Scott Baron is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.