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BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

| 14 October 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Oneworld Publications/Rock the Boat
October 2015
Paperback, £8.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli



“Am I not merciful?”

It’s a normal enough morning on Kerenza. Kady has just broken up with her boyfriend, Ezra, and is sitting on the other side of the classroom and thinking about all the things she wants to say to that jerk. Ezra is stewing over being broken up and worrying about how awkward it’s going to be between them. The planet is going about its business: going to work, going shopping, going and doing things they always go and do.

It’s a normal morning, until their planet is invaded.

I’m staring out the window and coming up with all the things I should say to the jerk, when these ships fly right overhead and all the windows start shaking.

Suddenly, Ezra and Kady have to work together to stay alive. But when they’re split up and sent on two different ships, both Kady and Ezra find themselves battling against a bigger picture: are they being told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Or is there something bigger and badder working against them? Not only that, but a deadly plague breaks out on the ships and it’s contaminating people left, right and centre, its symptoms almost identical to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and shock. Who can they trust? Who can’t they trust?

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

Illuminae is a book worth going into blind. It’s hard to talk about without accidentally giving spoilers and force-feedings feels you will most likely want to feel for yourself. When I first heard about this book, I became consumed with the need to read it. So much so, that when people started receiving ARCs and posting reviews/status updates on goodreads, I logged off and swore to not read a single one until I’d finished the book.

If I survived, that is.

I haven’t read a single book by either Amie Kaufman or Jay Kristoff, but the first ten pages of Illuminae made me realise how badly I need to change that.

This book is unique in every way: from the layout, to the voices, to the way things progress and change and hit you upside the head with man-sized shovels. Told in a series of translated interviews and footage, emails, IMs and by an amazing AI (Artificial Intelligence) named AIDAN, Illuminae is nothing like you’ve read before. He’s the most complex, heartbreaking character, a robot trying to understand why humans behave the way they do, a robot that goes slightly rogue because of said humans.


This isn’t just a story about Kady and Ezra, or the people of the invaded planet Kerenza, but it’s about AIDAN, the government, the world, space, and pretty much also about the air they breathe. It’s one of those books that is action-packed from the start, and packs so many punches that you don’t see coming. It’s a book that strangles the breath from your lungs, that forces you to keep on reading until the very end and even then it refuses to let you go. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have managed to pull off something that not many others can do in a YA Sci-Fi book: they made it original and unique. 

Illuminae is, most likely, the most talked about book of 2015, the most anticipated, and the most favourited. It deserves all the hype it has and more. I urge everyone to read it, whether you’re a fan of the authors or sci-fi or not!


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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