Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a unique and interesting book that I highly recommend to everyone! The format of the book, characters and storytelling combine to make a gripping and entertaining story about a military cover up, romance and epic space battles. 

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Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Date published: November 1st 2015
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 599
My Rating55663-five-stars

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 an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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Illuminae is an absolutely amazing book. Focused on a fleet of space ships we follow teenager Kady Grant as she works with her ex-boyfriend, her newly made friend on the Hypatia and an extremely intelligent and unstable AI to uncover the truth behind the attack on her home base, the virus going round the crews of each of the ships and to try to save the lives of those around her.

I cannot start a review about this book without talking about the unique format the book is written in. Kaufman and Kristoff use a variety of ‘media’ to tell the story which was hacked by the ‘Illuminae’ group-transcripts, descriptions of security footage, chat logs, documents and the ‘thoughts’ of the AI called AIDEN. Not only do they manage to tell a well developed and gripping story through this alternative format, it is also a visually beautiful book with illustrations and interesting ways to display the text.

Through this alternative format Kaufman and Kristoff still manage to develop amazing and robust characters. Without the use of a ‘proper’ narrator that provides details about the setting, character insights and inner thoughts or to drive the story along, we still get complete characters that we invest and care about. Kady is such an interesting and story character with a firm belief in the truth and took things into her own hands to not only reveal and expose the secrets of the ships, but also to save the lives on thousands of people in the fleet. She is smart, resourceful and I really hope we get to see more of her in the rest of the trilogy.

The plot is simply awesome-what else can i say about a book with space battles, a space virus, a crazy computer AI and a military conspiracy. After Kady’s and Ezra’s (her ex-boyfriends) home base is attacked by a rival mining company they are rescued by an evacuating fleet that is pursued by a warship. After a virus breaks out on one of the ships, the AI AIDAN goes haywire on another and the military covers everything up and keeps Kady and the others in the dark, we works using her computer skills to find out the truth. I could not put this book down as the story moved at a fast pace and had a perfect combination of action, a little bit of romance, science and little plot twists throughout. The two major reveals near the end of the book were executed flawlessly and I had to pause to go back through the book to try to pick up the little hints that led to the reveal. There could have been times were the plot descended into cliche’s with the AI going rogue or the outbreak of a virus, but they story is constructed in such a way that is is avoided and I feel done in a new and interesting way. The ending was again a reveal, but did not really lead into an obvious direction for the next book in the series Gemina, but i am excited to see where it leads.

I really enjoyed Illuminae, a well planned and written YA Science Fiction book. For the different format alone you should pick it up as it is something new and different, and once you start you will certainly stay for the story.

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