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REVIEW: Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: Illuminae Files #1
Published by Oneworld Publications on 22nd October 2015
Pages: 608
Source: *Received from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review* Thank you!

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.
Oh. My. Goodness. It has taken me a couple of days to be able to actually start writing this review, as my thoughts are completely everywhere. I just cannot stop thinking about it. Definitely one of, or even, my favourite book I have read this year. It was absolutely phenomenal! And this cover, so beautiful and captivating it just immediately burns bright and makes you want to read it.

In terms of the summary, go into it blind. As soon as I heard about the format of this novel I wanted to know nothing about it, it felt as though the experience you have with this novel is even better without knowing a single thing.

The characters of this novel! At first I was worried there would be a struggle to connect with them, as the only ways you can learn about them are through their instant messaging and the surveillance footage narration of them. However, it was strange as it created a real mystery around our characters and made them even more intriguing. Especially because the only way we can find out about their past and secrets is if they tell others. Kady was such a kick-butt protagonist. She was intelligent and logical at times, always putting others lives before hers. Kady's relationship with Ezra was beautiful and stubborn, the seven minute interactions they could have with each other showed their real emotions, and showed the true people they were. I think the only thing in this novel I did struggle with was knowing and understanding the other characters. I had to constantly go back and forth to try and figure out who and from where they were from, especially all the Lieutenants.

One of the key characters, well if you can call the computer that, is AIDEN. AIDEN's involvement in this novel felt so twisted and creepy that sometimes it was uncomfortable to read, mainly because of the way he appeared so human, the development of his human personality and conscience. AIDEN adds the uncomfortable and freaked-out vibe to the novel that sets it apart from others. Just the fact that the computer is so human and independent is what made AIDEN an intriguing and mysterious character, who's development throughout the novel was captivating yet frightening; it was very realistic.

"Am I not merciful?"
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, ARC Paperback page 300

But the plot, my goodness. IT BLEW ME AWAY. There were only two words that could describe my feelings when I finished this novel and it was: MIND BLOWN. And yet here I am, five days later thinking the exact same thing. The main aspect that really built the tension and realistic nature of the plot is the format of the novel and its graphics. It is so realistic and mysterious that it can feel as though you are reading a report of an event that has actually happened. The imagery was amazing, I felt like I was constantly there especially in the scenes concerning the Phobos which were written to perfection and had me clinging to the book in apprehension whilst on the edge of my seat. You could feel the emotion of this novel, and because of the way this novel is set up, these emotions are just amplified. Especially in the last scenes with AIDEN.

This novel is big at a whooping 600 pages, but please do not let this put you off. You will absolutely fly through it. Also, you may have to flick back through the novel at various points to remind yourself of things said, diagrams, dates and people, but it just makes the experience of this novel so much better, and it starts to feel like a real-life puzzle you are trying to solve.

Just, this novel was fabulous, and I really cannot put into words the pure amazingness of it. But that ending! Wow, I did not see it coming. Now I REALLY need the sequel!

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