Image and synopsis from Amazon:
“This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.”
I’ve been waiting a while to read this book, but I am so glad I finally did. This book was brilliant. If you plan on reading Illuminae, you need to get a physical copy. The story is told through a compilation of military reports, emails, surveillance footage, and other files. Amazingly, these files worked together to form a seamless, coherent story about the refugees from Kerenza after their planet has been invaded. This is hands down the most creative book I have ever read. I honestly wasn’t too sure about it for the first 100-150 pages. There were too many names, strange texts, crossed off sentences and I had no idea what was going on. After those first 150 pages, I started to see a pattern in the documents and was enjoying reading it. There were also helpful little notes at the top of each document to describe what I was reading. Take your time, work through this book and you will not be disappointed. Since this was such a visually stunning book, I wanted to include a few pictures in my review.
Sometimes the entire page would be black with a few sentences across the page, there were reports with words and sentences crossed out because it wasn’t included in the “final” report, and there were emails between a variety of characters. Once I got used to the format, it was easy to become immersed in the story.
The story itself was exciting with non-stop action. I appreciated this fast-paced story, but you should know that the story doesn’t have a lot of down time. The story revolves mostly around Kady and Ezra, but is really about all of the people of Kerenza dealing with the aftermath of the invasion. They are desperately trying to escape to safety with another ship pursuing them. While Kady is very involved in uncovering the conspiracy behind the attack, she also has some very sweet moments with Ezra. Kady and Ezra are not even on the same ship for the entirety of the story and yet I adored their relationship. Their chat conversations offered us a small reprieve from the nonstop action and dire outlook of their ships, the Hypatia and Alexander. I love how their relationship wasn’t forced into the plot of the story. It was very natural. As the synopsis states, they broke up before the events of the novel. After they leave Kerenza, Kady realizes that there are much more important things than what her and Ezra previously fought about. They realize how important they are to each other, and that they might be all they have left.
Reading this book was an interactive experience for me. I felt like I was there in the action with all of the characters. It has so many exciting elements- a pathogen quickly spreading to the people, an enemy ship pursuing the escapees and a questionable AI who is supposedly there to protect the crew. AIDAN, the artificial intelligence on the Alexander, plays a large role in this story. I found his (its?) role to be very interesting, but also quite creepy. I loved how we got an inside look into the way his mind (computer?) works. And with the conclusion of this story, I cannot wait to get my hands on Gemina.
This book is so different from anything else I have read, but I feel like I cannot give it anything less that 5 stars. The world-building, characters and plot was beautiful. Please get a copy of Illuminae and experience it for yourself!