BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae – by Amie Kaufman

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Title: Illuminae
(The Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: October 20th 2015
Finished reading: January 15th 2016
Pages: 608
Rating 4qqq

“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 of dying. But of this you, the you you’ve become, ceasing to exist.”

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There has been an enormous hype around this book even before it actually came out, and now I’ve read it I can definitely understand why. Illuminae is without doubt a very special book. The plot itself might not be overly original, but the prose and creative layout of the text and many illustrations are just that: highly original. Still, it was the creative layout of some parts of the book (especially the AIDAN pages and the battle scenes) that were also starting to frustrate me. Those who have read a shiny paperback or hardback version will probably be surprised, but trust me: having to read a kindle version of Illuminae royally sucks. There really should be a warning on the cover saying to only start reading it if you have an actual copy in your hands… Because I really started to get a headache trying to decipher some of the pages and ended up finishing it on my computer. The plot is quite simple and I liked the idea behind Illuminae, but I’m not sure I was a fan of the relationship between Kady and Ezra. The computer AIDAN had an interesting role even though I’m still not sure why they couldn’t just shut it down… But hey, a computer of fantasy story is set in 2575 can do whatever it wants right? Would I recommend it? Yes, but please don’t make the same mistake as I did and read it on your kindle…

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Kady decided to break up with her boyfriend Ezra the other day, but what she didn’t know is that her planet was about to be invaded… Two megacorporations are at war over a planet, and the planet and its people are being destroyed in the process. Some manage to escape, and both Kady and Ezra are among them. They were forced to fight their way out onto an evacuating spaceship, and the three ships that managed to escape are now trying to escape the enemy warship in pursuit. Kady, her mother and Ezra end up on different ships, and the enemy warship is not the only problem they have to face… A deadly plague broke out on one of the ships and is mutating, and the onboard computer AIDAN is having problems as well. Will they be able to make it somewhere safe on time?

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Like I said above, the actual plot is not that special, but the way the story is told is. Amie Kaufman has used all kinds of documents, emails, military files and other things to slowly tell us the story what happened on those ships that were trying to escape the enemy warship… The creativeness of the layout and illustrations is clear, but I also cannot deny some of the pages really started to frustrate me as they weren’t easy to decipher on my kindle. Still, there is no doubt that I will pick up a paper version of the sequel as soon as it comes out.

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22 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae – by Amie Kaufman

    • I really have the feeling I would have enjoyed Illuminae a lot better in a paper version… The creative layout just doesn’t work if you have to read it on a kindle.

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  2. Jay Kristoff wrote the book too…
    Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed book and you wan’t the only one who was having a hard time with those lyrical chapters. Even though I had the physical copy it was hard to know where the writing started and where it carried off to.

    • Yeah I already knew Jay Kristoff helped write Illuminae but forgot to add him in my review. Thanks for letting me know! Good to know it wasn’t just the ecopy that made some of the chapters more difficult to read.

  3. I’ve got to say, I read the paperback and I still had difficulty at times. Mostly with some of AIDAN’s stuff, where the text is going in all different directions. I literally skipped some of it because I had no idea which direction the text was going in, and I figured it was mostly AIDAN being philosophical so I wasn’t going to lose much. I also felt like it was using the format to try and make the reader believe that the plot was cleverer than it actually was.

    • Good to know it wasn’t just because of the kindle version that some of the text was hard to read… I agree, the layout definitely helped create the illusion of a complicated plot; the story itself isn’t all that original.

  4. It’s nice to see authors create books into a piece of art work. I love my reader but it’s nice to see an author create a book that needs to be read in physical format.

    • I always appreciate the creativity as well and I love physical books… I just wish I knew before I got the kindle version that it would be quite unpleasant to read at some points.

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