ARC Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

ARC Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files #1
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Genres: Space, Survival, Young Adult
Publication date: October 20th, 2015
by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Format: ARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I would like to start this review by thanking Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman for ruining my life. Thank you guys, I appreciate it. I am pretty sure they drink their readers’ tears to sustain themselves.  MOVING ON.  I am going to attempt to do the impossible and write a review for this book. No guarantees that it will be completely coherent. PROCEED WITH CAUTION. There will be censored swearing (although apparently not that much since I don’t plan these things out…)

This book has a ton of hype surrounding. Like a S███ ton. And yet, I gave zero f████ because I knew this book and I were meant to be. Less than 10 pages in and I was laughing my a██ off and of course, I was proven right in my knowledge that this book was for me.

There are so many things that make this book the amazing thing that it is but I do warn you, if you are the kind of reader who doesn’t like books that aren’t written in a traditional format, this book is probably not for you. It’s told in IMs, diary entries, videos (or more appropriately, commentaries on the videos) and lots of other fun things that enhance the book and give it character and make you fall over laughing but also make you gasp and cower under covers.

One of my favorite things about this book was the IM messages. For starters, they seem very REAL. What I love most about them is the occasional spelling mistakes. I know I don’t always spell things correctly when IMing so when that happened in the book, it made me happy and made it even easier to relate to these fantastic characters.

And fantastic these characters are (WTF am I saying? Do I even make sense?) They are so ridiculously realistic even though they live centuries in the future. Both Erza and Kady are hilarious to read about but they aren’t just here for the jokes. They are smart, badass but also just great teenagers. I love that they aren’t immature or really mature. They are in-between those things. Like most of us. They make inappropriate jokes, are silly but also know how to take charge and make important decisions. I loved reading about them and hopefully you guys will too.

This book isn’t all about the funny things either. It can be very light hearted but there are some scary moments. Especially with the AI called Aidan.

Aidan is one of the most interesting/terrifying characters I’ve come across in a while (I mean, he is on my supervillain squad); however, I did have trouble getting behind its more human characteristics. I’ve read books that feature humanistic AI so it’s not that I have trouble with the idea. It’s just some of its ‘thoughts’ seemed too sentimental for me given its actions. Perhaps it’s just because I felt as though we were supposed to pity Aidan and I couldn’t do that because Aidan was a d███. Then why is it such an interesting character? I think it’s because its thoughts can sometimes be terrifying. I think Aidan’s character is a good reflection of human fears about AI and the question of whether AI will someday take control of the world.

As you might have already gathered. This book is sci fic and it’s one of the better ones I’ve read. The authors make these fleet of ships come to life by use of terminology and also with diagrams! YAY DIAGRAMS. We are painted with a lovely (or not so lovely) picture of life aboard these ships and I really loved that.

The entire book is a recount of the tragedy that befell this fleet and hot damn do things get intense. The authors do not hold out on the punches (as I am sure you gathered from my earlier ramblings) and they aren’t afraid to make you sad. But the point of this book isn’t to basically kill you from emotional overload (although that may be a side effect.) This book is so very rich in its plot development and I LOVED it, but there were times when I wondered if I needed 600 pages of it. Don’t get me wrong, the book is a pretty quick read but I do think there are some things that could have been cut down.

Given everything that was revealed at the end of the book though, I KNOW book 2 will actually blow me away. You guys might never see me again. I MIGHT JUST CRUMBLE INTO DUST.

Also, you might wonder why I haven’t mentioned a single thing about a romance in the book and for those curious (and haven’t already found out), there is one. That is all I will say. This is the ship you gotta experience on your own and form your opinions about. Just beware of page 422, my friends. It will forever be known as the page that stole lives.

So, should you read this book? Should you listen to the incredible amount of hype surrounding this book? Yeah, WHY NOT? What have you got to lose? Only your soul, your heart and very since of being. You didn’t need those things anyway. Am I not merciful?

Rating Report
Overall: 4
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I’m going to be such a party pooper and say that I didn’t really enjoy this one. I gave up on around 100 pages. Though I don’t count it as a DNF because I do want to give it another chance. It’s just the big hype is making me think I’ll probably be the 1% that doesn’t like it. I was enjoying how the whole book is created on interviews, IM’s, etc. I love it since we don’t get to see it that often or at least, I haven’t. Maybe I’ll give it a shot once the hype dies down a bit. But thanks for the review, Rashika!
    Karina @ A Reader Under The Sea recently posted…2016 Books I’m Excited For: Contemporary/Historical Edition!My Profile

  2. says

    I couldn’t agree more! I loved the interesting format of this book and thought that all the different (and strange) points of view really propelled it forward. I was not expecting such an emotional punch from a book like this either.

    I loved and was terrified of Aidan in equal measure (he’s on my super villain squad too!) I thought at times he did read a little bit human, but that just made him all the more terrifying.

    I can’t wait for book 2! Kady is so bad ass and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
    Bekka recently posted…Book Review: Truly Madly FamouslyMy Profile

  3. says

    I’m LOLing at your censored swearing. xD xD But I’m glad to see this promises to be good. Oh, how many times will I lose my heart with books? xD And damn, that “am I not mercuful?” quote. I WANNA SEE WHAT IT ALL IS ABOUT. Great review, Rashika.
    Vane J. recently posted…Say hello to Tash!My Profile

  4. says

    YAY :D So glad you enjoyed this book so much sweet girl, despite not giving it five stars ;p I loved it so much. And I ADORE seeing others love it too :D YAY! Thank you for sharing your amazing review sweetie. <3 Agree with so much of it. This book was just aaamazing :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #205My Profile

  5. says

    GAH I loved this book. It was so damn unique, and I needed that in my life. Can you even imagine how long this whole thing took to put together? Like, insane amounts of time, holy crap. I also was so impressed at how connected I was to the characters despite the format. I expected the story to be awesome, but I never thought I’d connect to the characters as much as I did. There were tears for sure. And YES to the laughing- it was such an amazing balance! Fabulous, fabulous review- I need book 2 ASAP also :D
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. JohnstonMy Profile

  6. says

    “Am I not merciful?”

    YES RASHIKA. YES. I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. (And LOL…I love how you formatted your review kind of like the book. Good job!) This was such an amazing book. Kady was an amazing and kickass lead, Ezra was a hilarious love interest, and the twists and turns at the end were just pheonominal. So glad you felt the same way! ♥ Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! xD
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Endings: Happy or Sad?My Profile

  7. says

    Now let me tell you this is very interesting for me because I only yesterday or the day before, read a review that was quite the opposite to this! I am indeed very conflicted now. I’ll probably give this book a go because why the heck not and all books deserve a chance (well… Not all, but you know) and as you said, I don’t have anything to lose…kind of!

    Wonderful review even if it was full of love and fangirling, it was definitely coherent!
    Josephine recently posted…Bookish Things I Have/Should Quit | Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  8. says

    I loved this one so much too, Rashika. I was on flailing and laughing and shipping the ships very early on too. OMG. FUCKING AIDAN. I don’t know whether I hated it with every fibre of my being or if I actually pitied it. I was very confused and enraged at it, especially with that thing you know at the end.
    I really can’t wait to read the next one! This was such an amazing experience!
    Great review, Rashika!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : The White Rose by Amy EwingMy Profile

  9. says

    I am so glad that the wait for this book is almost over. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it for so long now. The unconventional format was what initially made me interested in this book and I’m glad that the plot and characters are just as compelling. I’ll be sure to prepare myself for the emotional roller-coaster I’m bound to be taken on.
    Lois @ My Midnight Musing recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Habits I Need to QuitMy Profile

  10. says

    YES^^ Oh I am THRILLED that this one delivered for you too Rashika!! I have yet to read a single bad review for it and with every new review, I get all the more excited :D The buzz for this one at BEA was insane and tbh it had me worried that there was NO WAY it could deliver on it. But then, the reviews started trickling in. And the were good. REALLY good! At this point I just basically feel like an idiot for not having read this yet but you’ve tempted me to my limit. I WILL READ THIS SOON AND COME BACK TO GUSH and FANGIRL WITH YOU! ♥.♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Queen of ShadowsMy Profile

  11. says

    Page 422 broke me. BROKE. ME. The whole book did actually. Since reading Illuminae, I’ve been pretty much in some sort of downward book spiral. It’s ruined me for all other books. I knew I was expecting something epic, but it blew that out of the water. It was phenomenal and I can’t shout it from the rooftops loud enough. The format! I’ve never seen anything that detailed either and couldn’t agree more with how realistic their interactions really were. This isn’t out until November in Australia and already I’m dying for book two. DYING Rashika! And that’s not even me being super dramatic either.

    Brilliant review Rashika <3 P.S. I think a star might have fallen off the end of your rating there :D
    Kelly recently posted…MAAAAGNUS! Magnus Chase and The Sword of The SummerMy Profile

  12. says

    GIRL, Illuminae was the best book I’ve read all year. That’s pretty much all I need to say since you’re review covered it lol. I’ve been working on my review for about 3 weeks now, and it’s just sitting in my drafts patiently waiting for me to finish, but it’s sooo hard to explain and talk about, ugh. I need some damn coffee before diving back in lol.
    Tika recently posted…What’s Your Book Fate? — A Tale Of Highly Unusual MagicMy Profile

  13. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Rashika! The style and characterization just didn’t mesh with me, sadly, (most the writing style), so I think this is a classic case of it’s me and not the book. Fantastic review, though, dear! :)

  14. says

    It seems like this book had a little bit of everything in it that you could enjoy. I am not someone who usually goes for books which aren’t the traditional kind of format but giving up on this book for that reason seems silly and like I would missing up on a fab story with wonderful characters too. So I am gonna try it anyway!
    Olivia recently posted…My Hoarding Catastrophe – New Goals!My Profile

  15. says

    this was such a great review on illuminae! many people has loved this book so i cant wait to read it myself. Books with IMs and other bits is starting to become a trend right now and i loved it. its sort of a refreshing break from the sea of words you’re reading. the uk publisher of illuminae is sending me a finished copy and im dying to read it. i have a strong feeling i will love it.

    great review!

    xxx isha
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