Saturday, November 28, 2015

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher & ARC: Knopf
ISBN: 9780553499117
Ages: 13+

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.


I have been wanting to review this book since October, but like every year, I'm thrown the reality curveball from teaching high school English. No matter how much I want to read and review, I'm always swamped undeneath a pile of essays to grade. But, thankful for Thanksgiving break, I can take a moment, take a breath, and review this amazing book.

When I first received the book in the mail, I was a bit overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude. Putting myself into the mindset of a teen, I thought to myself: if I saw this on the shelves, would I pick it up? The average teen probably would not, but here are a few reasons why he/she would if taking the time to pick it up off of the shelf. 

First, you will notice on the cover that this is the first book of a new series, which is always enticing for readers. Since Twilight, young readers (and let's be honest, adults) have been clamoring for the next big series. While The Hunger Games has just ended its film run, and the Divergent series will end soon, readers are hungry for something to hold onto. And this just may be the answer. 

Second, have you flipped through the pages at all? They are beautiful. A mix of computer instant messages, confidential files, prose, artistically created pages, etc., the book is definitely catering to a reader who would be overwhelmed by just looking at the book's size. Because of the variety of text, the book doesn't take very long to read. A "reader" will probably finish the book in just a few days and have to find something else to occupy some time waiting anxiously for the sequel. 

But let's move past the "look" of the book and talk about the content. No matter how "pretty" a book is, the content, the plot, the characters, the story will carry a reader through to the end. 

Kady and Ezra used to date, but like most teen relationships, it just didn't last. Once their colony is attacked, Kady and Ezra are safely evacuated, but not to the same place. Kady is sent to Hypatia while Ezra is sent to Alexander. On Alexander, Ezra puts all of his effort into becoming a pilot, while on Hypatia, Kady uses her hacking skills to see what the other ships are doing. Personally, I love Kady. Her humorous defiance is refreshing, though reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen (but there's nothing wrong with that), and I was more inclined to read her excerpts than Ezra's because of her spunky persona. 

While Kady is hacking into another ship's system, she reconnects with Ezra. Hesitant at first to talk with him again, she realizes that the information she has found is more important than some silly love story. I won't go into detail here, but I will tell you that this information involves artificial intelligece and a plan to the change the world as they know it. 

Like most YA novels out there, a love story does have a thread throughout the novel, but it's not overwhelming and it's not inauthentic. You will root for Ezra and Kady, not just to be together, but to save the world. 

An explosive new series that is perfect for science-fiction lovers, romance lovers, YA lovers, graphic novel lovers. If you are any kind of reader, you will love Illuminae. 

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