By Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
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When reading the synopsis, I got absolutely no vibes of originality. A girl, a boy, a breakup, a war. This is the basic plot line of half the YA books ever written, so I must be honest when I say that I did not expect anything new. I thought I was going into some sappy love story with the same, overused corrupt politics and other such stuff going on in the background. Let me tell you, this was not at all the case.
Illuminae is a high stakes space opera, filled with evil corporations, zombie viruses, high space treason, rouge computers (iRobot style), explosions and of course, the love birds, Ezra and Kady. This book was nothing like how I expected. It was fast paced and intense and epic and too many other things that I cannot describe.
The thing I loved so much about this book was that the romance never overshadowed the overall plot. This was not a love story with science fiction elements thrown into it. This was a science fiction story with romance elements attached. The people in this story, those in the three ships: Copernicus, Alexander and Hypatia, are at war and no one ever forgets that. They are on the run from the warship, the Lincoln, and the evil corporation that wants to see them all dead. On top of that they are worried about a virus that is spreading and turning people into crazy ax-wielding psychopaths and on top of all that, like the bow to wrap it all up, the computer that controls everything has taken it upon itself to kill most of the crew. Not to mention the fact that they are low on space, oxygen and food and the nearest space station, along with anyone who could help them, is several months away. So as anyone can see, there are a lot of problems and Kady and Ezra’s relationship is not anywhere near the top three.
The thing that threw me off at first was the style of the book which I know bothered a lot of people. The book is told through emails and interview and audio recordings and other such things. Because of this, it is told through little snippets of the lives of many different characters, each with a unique personality. Also, because of this, we never get to see into the minds of any of the characters except AIDAN, the rouge supercomputer that controls the ship. At first I thought that this would be a problem but I quickly got used to it. Honestly, I think that this is what works for the book.
Everything in this story is high stakes and the intensity and suspense never fade. I think that this is thanks to the unique way in which the story is told. With the video surveillance and emails and interview, we get to see the action through several different points of view. We get to see inside all the character’s personal lives and see how they are all dealing with the situation and what this means to all of them. We see all the angles from which this disaster is taking place and get a better view a better picture in the end. With this, we see that there are no good or bad people as everyone has a side of the story to tell, even AIDAN, who turned out to be the most interesting and complex character in the story, instead of just the crazy machine everyone thinks he is. Had the story been told through conventional means or through just the point of view of Kady, it might have been nothing more than a generic YA sci-fi story.
This is a book that I recommend to all. It may take a bit to get used to the format but in the end it’s worth it. I know that people had a problem with the physical reading but this book is a work of art and the most unique book I have ever read. Kudos to Jay and Amie for the masterpiece they have created. I need to own a physical copy of this book because it truly is something and the visuals are practically half the fun, the experience will not be the same without it.
This review was originally posted by me (Angelica) HERE