Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do today. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575 and two rival mega-corporations – ____ and ____ – are at war over a plane 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, exes Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly ____ 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 the ____ is 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. Briefing note: 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.”
Review: At just barely shy of 600 pages, Illuminae is a real clunker of a book. While it initially looks daunting, however, the reader quickly learns that this novel has a very different and refreshing approach to storytelling. The entire book is made up of “classified” documents detailing an intergalactic space war reminiscent of Star Trek or Star Wars (Illuminae has been referred to as a “space opera” which seems fitting to me). Overall, I enjoyed the composition of this book and found that the variety of schematics, interviews, radio transcripts, and emails kept the reading pace up. I’ve never read such a uniquely styled book, and it was the Illuminae format itself that caused me to bump my rating up from two stars to three. I did feel like the book was very, very heavy when it came to jargon, which made for a lot of confusion early on, particularly concerning what Kady was doing as she hacked through the different ship security systems. The first two thirds of the book also seemed quite prolonged, but I really enjoyed the last third, primarily due to the bizarre relationship that forms between Kady and AIDAN (the Alexander’s misguided AI system). Illuminae didn’t quite live up to the hype for me but I am interested in reading the sequel, Gemina, which comes out this fall.