I enjoyed Amie Kaufman’s These Broken Stars, which she co-wrote with Meagan Spooner, but I’m not the biggest science fiction reader, and that coupled with the fact that I haven’t read anything by Jay Kristoff, the co-writer of this passive sci-fi book, make me slightly unsure about this book. Of course, the publishers rolled out a huge campaign for it, and that coupled with plenty of people raving about it made me decide to give it a shot – and I’m definitely glad I did.
I had a little trouble connecting with the characters at first. Protagonists Kady and Ezra broke up right before the book started, so they have a difficult relationship at the beginning, but I felt like I needed to see them as a couple before to really support their relationship overall. They’re also separated, so the story feels a little disconnected at the beginning with so much information being thrown at you all at once.
All of that information is quite entertaining, though, thanks to its presentation. I actually got this book as an eARC originally, but I had to set it aside – not because I disliked it, but because some of the infographics didn’t show up properly. I decided to wait until I could read an actual, physical copy, and I don’t regret that choice even if I had to wait a couple months first. There are so many interesting elements in this book, and they deserve a full hard or paperback book to see them all, not a restricted computer or ereader screen.
This is a very, very long book, so it can feel a bit intimidating, especially since I did wait for a book I could pick up instead of digitally squeeze onto my Nook. All of the different mediums and elements used helped make the book go faster, though, as well as the general “how is this all going to end?” feeling.
I definitely saw similarities between this book and These Broken Stars, so I certainly saw Kaufman’s influence. Like I said, I haven’t read anything by Kristoff, so I don’t know how similar this might be to his books, but this book had the same strengths and weaknesses that Kaufman’s other work did. I did appreciate the fact that this book never felt overly sci-fi-esque – I’ve never been the biggest sci-fi fan, so it’s saying something when I enjoy a sci-fi book like this for the most part.
I’m definitely interested in seeing where this series goes with its second book. I think it’s more of a companion than a direct sequel, but either way, I want more books like this (although I could do without the sadness – seriously, was not expecting a sci-fi book to make me so unbearably sad at times).
Position: Book One in the Illuminae Files series
Author: Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars) and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
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.