Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Stars: ****

The tale of Kady and Ezra is told through the eyes of Illuminae – a company contracted to collate all the information possible about a serious space incident.

It’s the year 2575. Their world has been attacked by Beitech Industries, who then begin to chase the three spaceships who have rescued the refugees from Kerenza IV: Copernicus, Alexander and Hypatia. Little do the ships know, when they accept survivors, that they have brought with them a deadly disease. Trapped on a ship with nowhere for it to go, it’s a race against time to not only evade their predator, but also to quarantine those with the virus before it’s too late.

Kady and Ezra (who broke up right before the attack), are both aboard different ships, must work together to keep safe and stay alive. Kady, an expert hacker, finds details aboard the ships that she should never have known, whilst Ezra is conscripted to become a pilot of a Cyclone. AIDAN – an AI supposed to protect them – seems to be doing anything but.

All the odds are stacked against them.

Illuminae was another book that came up on Mr B’s Emporium recommended reads list for me. I have to say, I am not usually a fan of sci-fi books or films, particularly based in space (Star Wars? No thank you!) but I thought I would give this a go. After all, the other books I had been recommended were excellent choices for me. I trusted the bookseller!

This was so different to most books I’ve read before! Illuminae is written through a range of different ‘documents’ that have been collated to tell the story. We see email exchanges, video surveillance observations, classified documents and musings of the AI. Each one depicted a different aspect of the story, and gave an insight into different character’s viewpoints. This created such a fast-paced, interesting read! I love the way it switched between formal tones of reports to the informal chatter of friends on IM.

The main character’s aren’t just dealing with the fallout of the invasion of their planet, but also Kady and Ezra’s relationship has ended and we slowly learn through the book why this happened and see them attempt to repair it. It gave an extra layer of depth and emotion to overlay the action; both of their stories played a very important role in the story though, they were not added just for the sake of it which I was glad for. Romance was second to the main storyline, yet still felt genuine and necessary.

The best part? It’s taught me I can like sci-fi books. The worst part? This is a trilogy and my bank balance won’t be thanking me for buying the next two!

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here:

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