Don’t want to read the whole review? Click to jump to the Review At a Glance.
I have to really honest about this book, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and admit that it took me a while to finish reading it. And as much as I loved it, and was blown away by it, I still had a hard time getting into the book. In fact, this is the first book that I read in this format because I thought, hey, I wouldn’t be interested in reading a book in email or chat form.
What makes the book so unique?
Let’s start with the format. The book is written in hacked format form – emails, surveillance incident reports, unique ASCII, chats, interviews, and just unique formatting all in all. I mean, there’s also a page that is akin to our Wikipedia! And a two pager with the images of the casualties of war (so sad).
So yes, it took a while for me to get into it, but I finally did when I obtained the audiobook format.
The audiobook, you said?
Yes, I immersion read this thang and it worked! I loved that I could see the visuals and hear the outstanding narration (including the different accents) while experiencing the wonder that is Illuminae. I’m highly recommending you to immersion read it, most especially if you are not used to this format. Again, the audiobook is freaking amazing!
You mean it’s not about the Illuminati?
Despite what the title will tell you, Illuminae is not about the Illuminati. Illuminae is an epic space tale about two teenagers who just broke up on the morning their planet was blown up! Both of them end up in two different ships: the Hypatia (medical ship) and the Alexander (warship), with both ships heavily damaged during the battle of Kerenza. The fleet is also trying to avoid enemy ship, Lincoln while trying to reach jumpstation Heimdall. (Jay Kristoff has a gif summary on Goodreads that sums the whole plot up).
How was it?
Because of the formatting, I had a hard time getting to it. I know I said that already but I just want to say it again. However, when you couple it with the audio, it is fast paced and just plain awesome. In fact, I didn’t have a hard time following the story at all.
See, the story is told by different people, mostly Kady and Ezra (hahaha I typed an H after the A and then had to delete it, see explanation below), but it is also told by a few other people on board the Hypatia and the Alexander.
And the characters?
I mean, I basically loved this because EZRA is my name! But I digress. This book feels so real. The voices between Ezra and Kady feel so real. And the FEELS! I teared up in parts, too! At the risk of sounding too fangirly, I absolutely OTP Ezra and Kady. I love the Kady’s sarcasm and Ezra’s sensitivity! I knew I was going to like this book, but I didn’t know that I was going to be blown away and I immediately connected to Kady and Ezra and I could not help but root for them.
Of course, there were a few twists – [spoiler]like the freaking computer is EVIL![/spoiler] that I expected, but there was also one twist that I did not expect at all.
Oh, definitely immersion read it! I think reading the unique book format and listening to the amazing audio adds another level of appreciation to the book. I’m also bugging my husband to read this ASAP so we can discuss (like we don’t normally do).
I also recommend reading the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Across the Universe series by Beth Revis.
I met Jay and Amie and was able to fangirl and tell them that my name is EZRAH. Sorry, fangirling again. But see images below.