Summary: “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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Wow, so Illuminae is unlike any other book I have ever read before. First, it’s in epistolary format, which means that instead of chapters with dialogue and description, this book is told entirely through documentation. I went into this expecting that, and worried that I wouldn’t love it. But I did. It didn’t seem like either of the authors (and there are two) were just purely trying out a new type of story–it actually felt as though this formatting was the only way to tell this story. It was creative, it was hooking, and it was fantastic. Sure, I found some of the informational documents boring, but the chat room conversations (especially between Kady and Ezra) and the inner-thoughts (though, I think this was more like a log of description) of AIDAN were my favorite.
Not to mention, I loved the characters. Kady and Ezra are both realistic, use a plausible amount of curse words for their age (which is a lot, mind you, but it’s all blacked out), and oh-so romantic. I mean, there’s lines like this: “You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. You have me”. How do you not fall in love with someone who says that? How do you not ship it until “every star in the galaxy dies”?
Also, even though I thought I wouldn’t, I loved AIDAN. A lot of reviews are saying he’s less of an antagonist and more of an anti-hero. At first, I didn’t see that, but as the story progresses and you are more enveloped in AIDAN’s thoughts, you begin to see him as less of a villain and more someone who’s deeply afraid of the world. So, of course, I fell in love with him too.
“Part of being alive is having life change us. The people around us, the events we live through, all of them shape us. And that’s what I think you’re afraid of. Maybe not dying. But of this you, the you you’ve become, ceasing to exist.” -page 491, Kady
I don’t read science fiction that often, but because of this book, I think I’m going to try more. I loved the plot; it was captivating and unique. I highly recommend you try Illuminae, but I will warn you that it isn’t for everyone. The style takes a little getting used to in the beginning, but I’m lucky that I loved every second of it. I read Illuminae in a few sittings because I was that hooked by it. I hope you enjoy it too.