Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publishing Info: October 20, 2015 by Source: ALAMW15, BEA 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 9, 2015
Related Posts: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1)

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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The hype for ILLUMINAE was already huge several months before the book came out so by the time I got around to reading it (you know… still three months before its release date), it was already a pretty intimidating book from all of the reactions, not to mention the fact that the ARC was pretty honkin’ big. ILLUMINAE (in advanced copy form) clocked in at about 600 pages and taking on that brick (and I mean that extremely lovingly) was a bit scary, especially when it’s right smack in prime sci-fi territory: future and space. Thankfully, I had absolutely nothing to fear because I simply couldn’t put ILLUMINAE down and it may be one of the best books I’ve read this year. 

How to review a book like ILLUMINAE… well, let’s start with the formatting. The book is exactly what the series title implies: a collection of files. From transcripts of interviews to video surveillance reports to emails to data pulled directly from the ship, ILLUMINAE tells the story of Kady and Ezra — two teens attempting to survive and reunite once an attack on their planet evacuates their community into space. At first I wasn’t sure how I would handle the formatting but not only was it not detrimental to my reading experience but it enhanced it exponentially. It was so interesting to pick up the full story from all of these forms of files and it was incredibly creative! I loved how different it felt and the representation of so many different forms really brought the world to life even more. I was fully submerged into The Illuminae Files and didn’t want to be yanked out of that world once I got into it.

The formatting also heightened the level of emotion for me. I think there were a few factors contributing to this, one of which is being able to read direct dialogue in emails and chat sessions. There’s no “he said” or “she said” or extra helpful information within a paragraph that sometimes takes away from being the moment of emotion or action. The action sequences were more contained within reports from outside observers so the reader is able to witness action in a different way as well. I really think these methods of capturing and presenting information allowed me to stay in the moment and not have to read a lot of descriptors which can sometimes cause my minder to start thinking more about the structure again and stray from the emotional side.
The other main factor was that the formatting was just so visually appealing. The files presented to the reader came complete with headers, logos, different fonts, pictures, strains, wrinkles, and more. Other pages were structured to represent how a machine was working, a pilot’s flight path, or a character’s journey. Then there were some pages that only had one or two words on it to really drive a point or emotion home to the readers. It was so exciting to see something so different and that visual representation really added another layer to the book!

Aside from the help from the formatting, the story really was just so good. It took me a little while to establish the characters and get to know them but once I did (and it really didn’t take that long), I felt like I knew them inside and out. I grew very attached to them and really felt like I took this journey with them. The plot and storytelling were also incredible. The suspense was constantly building, emotions high, action going, and there were quite a few twists that totally took me by surprise! 

I feel like I could go on and on about ILLUMINAE but the bottom line is that you don’t want miss this book. It’s totally worth all of the hype and buzz it’s received and I think a lot of people will be stunned by it! I’m a BIT sad that I read it so early because now I need to wait a very long while for book two… But you can bet I’ll be inhaling the rest of this series!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kady // Character Obsessions: Family, survival, hacking, Ezra.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from Kady at first but I ended up LOVING her. She was such a spitfire and always willing to take on a challenge, especially to help the people she loves. Kady was so much fun to get to know and she really just came to life in this book.
Ezra // Character Obsessions: Romance, compliance, Kady, survival.
Ezra was kind of the softer side to Kady. He was a bit more romantic than Kady and seemed to be much more on the emotional side. I loved the balance he brought to the story and the side he brought out of Kady!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Epic space adventures. This is another time where I’m like, “Remind me again why I was avoiding this?” ILLUMINAE opened me up to a little more sci-fi and adventures in outer space.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus… but rarely! The ONLY thing I could possibly say about this book that I didn’t 100% enjoy was that there were a few times when I got distracted because of formatting. But almost all of the time it enhanced my reading experience, but honestly that’s so nit-picky because this book was phenomenal.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

I loved ILLUMINAE. I think this may be a book that I’ll end up collecting because so far I can’t bear to part with the two differently formatted ARCs that I have and I know I need a finished copy too… You’ll want this one for yourself!

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BOOKS LIKE ILLUMINAE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE 5TH WAVE     ARMADA

8 thoughts on “Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

  1. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    Great review! I’m seriously so excited to finally pick this up. I’m a little intimidated by it to but I know I’m going to love it. I love a good space epic and I’ve really been into the format of notes and journals, etc. lately. I agree it’s a really immersive experience. And now after reading your review I can’t wait even more! Damn my desire to read things close to their release date. I want to read this one now!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally recently posted…ARC Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

  2. Holly J

    I so much agree with you on the formatting! When I first heard of it, I was like: how is this going to work?! but omg it really enhanced everything about this story: the action, the emotions, the characters. It’s definitely one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. I was also wary because I’m not a big fan of sci-fi, but I had no problem with this (even when I didn’t always understand the technological aspects). And THE CHARACTERS! I loved them so much, and I adore Kady and Ezra’s relationship and how it unfolded throughout. I was hooked on everything about this story, and I’m desperate for the sequel already. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO WAIT?! GAH!

    Lovely review, Brittany!! I also love that you put down The 5th Wave, because I’ve been flip-flopping on whether I want to read it or not, but I think I’ll give it a try if it can give me even 1/10th of what Illuminae brought to the table.
    Holly J recently posted…That Time I Finally Discussed Fangirl with Amber

  3. Olivia Roach

    I like the sound of this one, I really do! Everyone seems to be loving it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it as well. I am a traditional style of reading kind of person, so at first knowing the formatting was all different worried me, but it seems like it only adds to the story. I am open to trying it and look forward to seeing what I think!
    Olivia Roach recently posted…This Ordinary Life (Giveaway, Review & Tour!)

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