Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman | Book ReviewIlluminae by Amie KaufmanJay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on October 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, General, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance
Pages: 608
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780553499131

For fans of Marie Lu and James Dashner comes the first book in an epic new series.   “Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave.” —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy   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 one of the 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.From the Hardcover edition.

My immediate first words upon finishing Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman were “what do I even do with my life now?” For real, this book took me on quite the journey and I do not know about you all, but when I come back from a particularly great trip, I have this disoriented feeling as I try to get back to business as usual. This thing also happens to me after reading an awesome book. Illuminae may cause this side effect. The best cure is to read something in completely the opposite direction. That’s right — Illuminae is the sort of book where a palate cleanse read is recommending after you finish.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman features found documents that are compiled to tell the story of Biotech’s attack on Kerenza and specifically, two characters Kady Grant and Ezra Mason. When the book opens up, Kady has broken off her relationship with Ezra at the worst possible time. You see, right as their break up happens, Biotech decides to decimate the mining planet of Kerenza, and so, Ezra and Kady come together to escape from Kerenza on the space ship fleet. Ezra ends up on military ship The Alexander and Kady ends up on the Hypatia. Kady’s mom is on the third ship whose name elludes me right now. Ezra’s father was lost in the attacks. The three ships are on the run from an attack ship called The Lincoln. They are depending on this AI that is charting the course and making the ships go faster named Aidan. You guys, that is merely the gist of this rollicking story and cannot even begin to cover how action packed Illuminae is.

While the story shows quite a bit of both Ezra and Kady, I think that Illuminae is truly Kady’s show. She’s such a total badass. Kady starts the book out with a truck driving across town to the launch station amid some chaos. From there, she engages in some hacking while aboard the Hypatia while avoiding being recruited early by the military. THEN YOU GUYS! Her tough girl status ratchets even way higher. This girl has to face some fears and oh my goodness, I cannot even relate to you how awesome it is when she comes out swinging, in a way. Basically, her character trajectory is fantastic and really, you just end up cheering for Kady and joining her fan club, practically, in the end.

As for Ezra, he’s kind of a main character too, in Illuminae. I mean, some of the found documents focus on Ezra — the bits that contain an instant message chat between Ezra and Kady as well as the bits that contain emails between Ezra and Kady and the camera observation logs. Ezra is another teenager, like Kady. Unlike, Kady, however, he does volunteer and learns to be a pilot. Ezra becomes military, and that’s actually kind of awesome. He wrestles with some moral dilemmas as well. However, if you want me to be honest and I am always honest, this book is Kady’s show. Ezra, though, well, the relationship that devolves and develops between Ezra and Kady is as interesting and complex as a real life relationship. We all know that relationships are complicated and sometimes there is strife and all is not well. That’s something that is certainly reflected in Illuminae and something that I respect for being in the book. ALSO NO LOVE TRIANGLE YOU GUYS!

Illuminae is told in such a unique way. It is comprised of documents that are put together to tell the story of a betrayal by a large corporation. It is so well done. I loved how it all seamlessly came together. I read this book on my computer using Adobe which was not my favorite, I think it would be better via physical copy. Also? The world building is pitch perfect. The documents do such a great job of infusing this intergalactic adventure. They highlight the characters and make them real – even though the story isn’t typical prose. I am just straight up incredibly impressed by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s latest collaboration. This book is impressive and a superb start to a promising series.

Also – PS there might just be a disease component and you all should know by now how much I love diseases.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Hell. Yes. This book was one ball of amazing! I absolutely LOVED the formatting and thought it just really amped everything up. I agree, I think it was more Kady’s show, but I really loved both characters (well, all of the characters) and how everything played out. I was SO hooked!
    Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide recently posted..The Lunar Chronicles (Re)Read Along | CressMy Profile


  1. […] Good Books and Good Wine’s review: “For real, this book took me on quite the journey and I do not know about you all, but when I come back from a particularly great trip, I have this disoriented feeling as I try to get back to business as usual.” […]

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