Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The 5 Star Book - Another Illuminae Review

As you may know, a couple Friday's ago I went to a book signing for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (I made a recap post over here).  Anyway, I wasn’t sure when I was going to pick it up but last week I decided I was in the mood for a sci-fi and just started reading it.  I finished it less than a day later.  This book has got some insane hype surrounding it over the last few months - I don’t have a single friend on Goodreads who has given it less than 5 stars - and in my opinion, it unquestionably deserves that hype.  Now, onto the review.

In case you haven't heard already, Illuminae is a sci-fi told entirely in emails and instant messaging and documents and transcripts of audio files and things like that.  It follows Kady and Ezra, a couple who have recently broken up, and what happens when their home planet is invaded.

 That's pretty much all I'm going to say about the plot, because one of my favourite things about this novel was how at the start, the reader doesn't really know what's going on and slowly the pieces of the puzzle add up to make a clearer picture.  This was definitely thanks to the formatting of the book.  Also due to the formatting, the reader cannot trust anyone, because all you see of them is what they shared through technology (at least, that was how I felt, especially after reading a certain other book recently).  This added an extra layer of uncertainty to the novel.  Another thing to add about the formatting: it led to some beautiful looking pages.  Words tumbling across the page and pictures made from words are a couple of things to expect when you are flipping through.  I have included no pictures because 1.  Spoilers! and 2.  It would take away from the magic of this novel if you'd already seen these "typographical anomalies".

Despite initially feeling like I couldn't trust them, I grew to love the characters - mainly Kady and Ezra (I was terrified of AIDAN and I'm not going to mention anything more on that).  Ezra is pretty much the definition of adorkable, whilst Kady is smart and never gives up.  Many of their conversations had me laughing out loud - something I absolutely wasn't expecting from this book.  Even though you don't hear any of the characters' thoughts and only get to know them through emails and all that, the book was very successful in developing the characters' personalities and making me care about them.  To be honest, by the end of the book I wouldn't have cared what happened to anyone else as long as Kady and Ezra were okay!

My other favourite thing about this book was that there was never a dull moment.  Things were happening non-stop, even though the novel was around 600 pages, which I thought was amazing.  It kept me interested and at times I literally could not put the book down.  This shouldn't really be surprising though, considering just how many things were stuffed into this story: romance, sci-fi, zombies, thrills, political intrigue, dealing with grief... etc.  This book touched on so many topics and did them all extremely well which is kind of insane.

It's hard to talk about this novel without mentioning all the things it made me feel.  It certainly toys with your emotions, but somehow that was a good thing?  Although so much of this book is simply depressing and awful, you can't help but feel hope.  Despite all the horrible things that happened, I came out of this book feeling like anything is possible as long as you don't give up trying - and I'd say that's an important note because I hate finishing a book feeling like all hope is lost.  It also left me anticipating the second book, which I was not expecting (highlight for spoilers)[(mainly because I really didn't think that Kady and Ezra were going to make it out alive and how could I bear to continue the series if they were not in it?)] but is definitely a good sign.

I'm wracking my brain right now to think of something negative to say about this book, but I am coming up blank.

The final thing that I want to mention is that the whole time you are reading this book, you know that it is a bunch of files that this Illuminae group is sending to someone else, which brings up a thousand questions.  Who is Illuminae?  Why are these files so important?  Who are they sending them to?  And most alarming of all: WHAT IF THIS WAS ALL FOR NOTHING?

So, if you like reading, you should probably pick up this book.


  1. "So, if you like reading, you should probably pick up this book." LOLOLOLOL love that ha!
    I've never read anything by these authors and I have to say the cover is a massive yes yes for me but although the way this is told, looks pretty interesting I don't think it's the format for me. Normally I don't get along with books written in messages and letters and whatnot so I'm not sure how i would do with this one but maybe I can try in the future :)

    1. Haha I'm glad you appreciated that line :P
      The cover is great, isn't it?
      I can see what you mean about the format - when you have a history of not liking those kind of books, it wouldn't make you want to go out and buy this. Hopefully you get to at least try it out at some stage!

  2. You just made Illuminae seem ten times more intriguing than I thought it was. Aww, I can't freaking wait to finally get my hands on it - the writing sounds really unique, the characters well-crafted and I adore the cover, as well!
    Amazing review! <3

    1. I'm happy you feel that way!
      I'm excited for you to get to read it! I hope you end up liking it as much as me.
      Thanks very much :) x


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