Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Publication.Date  October 20th 2015
Published By:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
AuthorAmie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Illuminae on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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.

“Are you afraid?"
"Energy never stops, remember. It just changes forms."
"I am still afraid.”
“Am I not merciful?”
“You have me. Until ever last star in the galaxy dies.
You have me.”
“I am frequently underestimated. I think it's because I'm short.”
“Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”
“Don't look at me!”

     Illuminae is not just a book. It's a phenomenon.

     It's also an unstoppable, all-consuming tornado carrying within itself a whirlwind of blood-chilling, spine-tingling, mind-warping events, ideas and emotions. It's a living thing with a beating heart and a truly badass character. Everyone's been talking about it long before I even got the opportunity to hold an early copy in my hands. This book was the hottest topic at BEA 2015 - it even got the stairs display, which only adds to the awesomeness of it all. Oh, and it has an official support group - the #IlluminaeSupprtGroup - and believe me when I tell you, you will need it when you're done reading.

    Before I continue on with my shameless raves, I need you to know one thing - initially, I had a very lukewarm approach to this book. I wasn't entirely sold on the idea behind it. It seemed to me that it had too many things going on, and with the very different narration style (a so-called "found footage" type of storytelling), I thought the authors would not be able to pull off anything solid. (Boy, I've never been more wrong in my whole life, not even when I tried to convince my husband that Ford was French!). Not only did they pull it off, they fucking nailed it. NAILED. IT.

     So, now that we have my embarrassing episode of book-doubt behind us, let's talk about this beauty. As you probably already know, the story is told through found footage of different sorts - from emails, to video recordings, top secret military files, personal messages, schematics to reports and more. When I first started reading, I was not entirely sold on this particular format of narration at all, but the more I read, the more it grew on me, and by the half-way point, I wasn't even paying attention to the format itself at all, I was so engrossed in what was going on. I honestly couldn't stop reading. You'd think the "found footage" format would make this story choppy and unclear, but dang, it just made it all flow effortlessly and seamlessly. I don't know who came up with the idea to go with this particular format of storytelling, but that was the best literary choice ever.

     The plot itself is too freaking epic for me to fully wrap my mind around it, but let's just say it has everything you'd want in a book, and then some. If you're a science fiction fan, you will have a blast with this book (especially if, like me, you love stories set in space and on different planets). If you're looking for a blood-chilling story, your mind will be blown to pieces by the unstoppable, deadly virus turning people into a murderous mob of wild beasts. If you add to this the suffocating and claustrophobic setting of a crippled space ship doomed to be blasted to pieces by the pursuing battleship, your mind will then go into overdrive.  There are literally chapters and passages that will have you panting, shifting in your seat, sweating and yelling "DON'T LOOK AT ME!" at your spouse. Then again, if you want to curl up with a seriously well written, authentic, kind of cheesy, but still incredibly heartfelt love story, Illuminae has got you covered, too. And let's not forget about the deeper, more meaningful side of the story, because Illuminae is more than just a bloody fear-fest and mind-bending space battles, it's also a very intelligent and illuminating meditation on humanity, sacrifice, purpose, free will and more. This book is just... God, I can't even.. It's soooooo good! (See, that is precisely why we need the #IlluminaeSupportGroup).

      Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are a writers match made in bookish heaven. I honestly don't know how they did it, but they set the entire YA universe on fire. And it's still ablaze.

This and more Illuminae designs can be found in my Society 6 store

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