Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review

Ezra and Kady have just broken up and aren’t speaking to each other. Then, their planet Kerenza is suddenly caught in the middle of a war between two corporations and Ezra and Kady are both evacuated onto different ships. But on one of the ships, disease hits. There are many secrets, and they have to fight for both the truth and survival.

First thing, the characters. I wasn’t really expecting to like them as much as I did, as I had some concerns about whether they would be unrealistically brave heroes rather than seeming human to the reader. However, I didn’t find this issue. Yes, the characters were strong, brave and heroic, yet at the heart of this novel was an essence of humanity and the urge to survive, and this came out very effectively in the characters. Their bravery was only out of love for each other, which wasn’t unrealistic, and the fact they acted bravely didn’t mean that we weren’t shown their fear or anxiety, its just that their motives were strong enough for them to rise above that. Kady was such an awesome character, she had amazing hacking skills and pink hair! I loved Ezra, he was just so human, which is what this book is really about, humanity. AIDAN was also a really interesting character (if you count it as a character) and having an artificial intelligence really added to the view of humanity presented in this novel.

Another concern I had about this book was the format, however again this wasn’t an issue at all. I had so many worries starting this book, but they were all proven wrong, thankfully. I adored how this book was written through messaging, diary entries, emails and so on. There were also some beautiful diagrams of the spaceships! But all this wasn’t just there for the sake of being original, it actually really added to the novel, and helped with how humanity was being portrayed. By having all of these conversations and everything straight from a character, rather than just a third person narrative, we always had an adapted version of events. Not to say the narrators were completely unreliable, it’s just the way their personality and perspective comes through in the writing, it gives more of a sense of humanity. This book is just such a work of art, there’s no other way to put it. Read it!

The plot keeps you on your toes, but at the same time it wasn’t overly complex, which was yet another thing that worried me before picking this up. It wasn’t a simple plot by any stretch, but I found I could follow it easily enough. There were many twists and concerns. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that I could predict some of the events that occurred. But this wasn’t enough of a problem for me to drop a start from its rating. I found that it was definitely a page turner, which was a result of the plot and also the fact that sometimes the writing on the page is minimal, which means you just keep turning as you think oh, I probably have time to read a few more pages, there’s only a little bit of writing. And before you know it, you have finished the book!

I would say this is a must-read. This is because of the sheer originality of it and also how it just contains the essence of humanity and our thirst for survival. The book is just stunningly beautiful, each page organised to perfection, carrying the words to tell their story. It is simply artwork. Also, you won’t want to stop reading!

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