Illuminae -Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review
They thought it was going to be a bad day because they broke up. For Erza and Kady that became the least of their problems when their home is destroyed. Now refugees on two separate spaceships they are out to find out what really happened. Can they discover all the secrets, right the wrongs and save themselves before time runs out?
I have seen reviews about this book and heard about it in a number of a places. I initially didn’t pick it up because of the plot (more on that in the next section) but the format peeked my interest. The idea of a whole book told through “found” footage was fascinating to me. I have not seen it done before and I wondered how it could change the reading of the story.
I thought the whole concept was done really well. I really loved the way the story was told through all these pieces of information. You get email messages, security footage summaries, mayday calls, and so many other ways of telling the story. It made the story seem interactive. I felt like I was in the spaceship going through all the files, desperately trying to figure out what was going on.
The sense of urgency that you got from this book is astounding. I felt panicked at times and I wonder if I would have felt the same way reading the story in a regular novel format. Would I have felt like I was running with them? Would I felt the panic as the ship closed in to destroy them if I didn’t have the countdowns around me? I don’t think I would have.
I also loved that the format used pictures to describe the ships. I think sometimes descriptions of these type of spaceships can get difficult. You have to be very specific and detailed because it is something that people don’t see every day. We all know what a car looks like but a control room in a spaceship is not the same. I liked that we didn’t get bogged down in that. Instead we got to continue with the story and move the plot along.
I was impressed at how connected I felt to the characters as well. I was worried that this format would leave me feeling disconnected. I thought without descriptions of the characters or moments dedicated to them alone I would feel like I was on the outside. I didn’t. I felt like I was right beside them with every move they made.
Kady and Aiden’s characters were my favorite. Kady was a tough ass. She didn’t take any crap. She didn’t back down. She was not going to be played with. I loved her fighting spirit. She knew something was wrong and she was intent on fixing it.
Aiden the A.I. was fascinating. It was so lifelike that many times I forgot it wasn’t human. I thought it was interesting the way it connected to the human and how it could logic things out. I am curious to see how it returns and changes throughout the series.
I am gong to be honest the plot wasn’t anything that particularly astounded me. I felt it was very simple and pretty easy to predict. They get attacked, someone is hiding something, mysterious sickness takes over and then they run for their lives. It is a pretty set plot.
It is the format that makes this book. Without the format I think it would have taken much much longer to finish the story and I am not sure I would have gone onto the other books. In a normal novel format this would have felt done before. In this format it felt fresh and new.
I wasn’t very impressed with Ezra’s character. He was pretty simple. I felt like he was two dimensional throughout the story. I hope that his character grows throughout the rest of the series. I want to see him get to the same level of being a badass as Kady.
I think in the middle things slowed down a little because much of the content was the same type of instant messages back and forth. I think that portion could have been broken up a little bit. Something different thrown in. I got a little bored reading that format but in the end it didn’t harm the story at all.
I gave this book 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I loved the found footage feel, the mystery of it is what kept me reading.
“Point is, I had no idea how safe I was because I’d never been unsafe.” (pg. 103)
“Too young to know failure and the fear it brings.” (pg. 279)
“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.” (pg. 302)