Tuesday, April 5, 2016

BOOK BLURB: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

ILLUMINAE (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Aime Kaufman; Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Number of Pages: 599
Date Published: October 22, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction


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 an 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.

My Thoughts:

Young adult science fiction (or sci-fi in general) is not something I would usually "go to" and read. Stories about the universe, aliens, space travel, or intergalactic politics and relations is not something I like to read about a lot, and I don't normally enjoy them. So despite my extreme desire to buy Illuminae, I still had hesitations. Also, I do not know if the story will live up to the book's physical awesomeness. I had a fleeting thought in the back of my head that people liked it only because of the book's unique and cool appearance, and that the story is presented in a different way, not because the story was that great and impactful. But thankfully, I was wrong.

Illuminae is aesthetically pleasing and very entertaining. Not only does it look so good both inside and out, but the story is quite impressive as well.

I admit, one of the factors that made the whole Illuminae reading experience wonderful was holding the book itself, flipping through the pages and not expecting what to see on the next page. Because normally, all we see on books are texts, paragraphs and the occasional illustrations. But with Illuminae, it varies. You get to see and read interviews, chats, reports, and a lot more. The book is basically like a compilation of printed documents, arranged in a way that tells one kickass sci-fi story, which I really liked. And as I have mentioned, I don't read a lot of science fiction books because I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by intergalactic events and a lot of the space battle stuff at times, but I still greatly enjoyed Illuminae. It's like a picture book that kids really love; one great picture book but for young adults and older readers who do not need parental supervision to read hidden (literally) swear words and a bit of sexual innuendos.

Aside from the book being so aesthetically pleasing, the story is hugely entertaining as well. It was fast-paced and I really had fun reading it. It's hard to put the book down because the story is surprisingly engaging. There were a lot of things happening in the book, and you can't even begin to imagine how they will overcome their problems; how they will escape the enemy; how the lives of thousands of civilians will be saved. The story of the deadly virus spreading among the population, Lincoln about to blow up Alexander and company, plus Kady and Ezra's falling out and falling back together - it was good and startlingly impressive.

The characters were so lovable as well. Kady and Ezra were fantastic. I love how bad-ass Kady is, with her spunky personality, pink hair, witty and sarcastic remarks, and to top it off, she's an amazing computer hacker. Ezra's character is also so fun to read. He has this weird sense of humor and you feel like he's a good kid. I like how so "teenage boyish" he is when he is conversing with his friend, Jimmy. I also like how he interacts with Kady - their conversations, the awkward stages of their relationship... I just ship these two so much, and I love reading their 7-minute chats.

But the book is not just merely entertaining with rainbows and butterflies, and cute teenage flirtations amidst the impending catastrophe. It was action-packed, with some morbid and bloody deaths. There were even parts of the book where I was sort of at the edge of my seat, and I felt like I was watching an episode of The Walking Dead even though I don't really watch the show. There were parts that made me sad and broke my heart into pieces. I greatly admire how Illuminae was able to meet the balance of action, drama, humor and romance.

One of the only issues I had with the book is probably keeping track of some of the character's names, the acronyms, the space and battle terms. There are so many that it becomes overwhelming at times. I don't have some kind of uberbrain that can process that load of information. My brain isn't wired for sci-fi, I guess. But despite my limitations, I still really enjoyed reading Illuminae,

There's another thing that irked me, but I can't discuss it without giving out spoilers.

Do not read!
Skip to the end if you haven't read the book
You have been warned.

Aidan is creepy. I feel like he has this weird feelings for Kady that I really find disturbing. Ugh! It makes me shudder sometimes when it talks about Kady in stalker-y way. And I hate how Aidan told Kady that Ezra was dead. Although it was a necessary course of action in order for Kady to save everyone, I hate it. Some small part of me actually believed he was dead, and my heart broke for Kady. I felt her pain, her loss, her loneliness. It was just sad. And Aidan is really annoying. But my annoyance defused a little in the end.

Okay, rant over.

To sum up, Illuminae is an amazing read. Although I haven't read a lot of sci-fi to actually validate the awesomeness level of the book, I think it's still amazing.

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