Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Length: 602 pages
Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆
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.
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.
There were a lot of characters and many of them did important things, that said, I’m going by what I remember a week after finishing it.
I wasn’t sure about her at first. She seemed too harsh and closed off but let’s be real: she just saw her entire planet blow up, we later learn that her mom was shipped away to another ship and then she lost all contact and her boyfriend was out there being forcefully signed into the army. I wouldn’t want to help anybody either.
This poor guy didn’t deserve all the shit he went through, he just wanted to be happy in a far-away planet with his genius girlfriend and to play geeball. I do love how he didn’t just sit and mope, though. He saw what was happening and became a pilot in a week to make sure that he could protect as many people as he could.
Is it bad that I agreed with him most of the time? Let’s be honest, if you knew there was a spaceship full of crazy murdering zombies you’d also blast it to sh*t. Then the poor bastard grew feelings (somehow) and got scared of dying and being alone.
While he was an important character and it’s implied that he taught Kady a lot of useful hacking stuff while on the Hypatia he was a bit underdeveloped as its own character. He was THE stereotype of a hacker, didn’t like that much. He was “old” (for a YA, since he was only 27) and he was fat, there were some commentaries about his body that I didn’t particularly care for. He also kind of fell in love with Kady? Idek, he was obviously going to die though
He was a coward who couldn’t make a decision and so he died, killed by something that doesn’t even have a real body.
This is the badass lady who took control of the Hypatia after the previous one was shot in the head. She stepped the f*ck up and I respect her every decision from that point forward, yes, even floating those poor people. If it’d have been me I’d have turned tail and ignored everything that came from the Alexander.
Going for the obvious so we get it out of the way:
Omg that format!?
The way you had to go putting all the storylines together to learn what was actually happening. There were a lot of characters being introduced for just a few pages and then gone but they made me care for every single one of them (I love you McNulty)
I need to address the way the handled diversity too. It was just so seemly off-handed, like, they didn’t have to make an effort because of course there’d be people of all origins aboard a space ship, of course there’s be a guy with a husband waiting at home, of course there are women in positions of power. It was such a refreshing way of doing it
Not only did the pace of the story keep up all throughout 600 pages but the authors were constantly upping the stakes. Every time a problem was (kind of) solved we’d be presented with an even bigger threat and the characters had to measure up to them, no time to rest, this makes it hard to put the book down for a long time since you always need to know what happens next!
There were two things that could have been done better or not at all:
1-Byron’s feelings for Kady
Now, I don’t want to shade a character for caring for our main, but, these feelings were ambiguous enough that it could be seen as Byron falling in love with Kady. Considering he is a grown ass adult (I think he was like 27?) and she was a teenager (17) there were moments where I felt uncomfortable reading their chats. I don’t know if this was the intended effect but I’d rather have them in a more obvious mentor-mentored relationship.
2- AIDAN lying
Yeah, no. I’m about to go a bit full nerd here, be warned.
The authors, at the beginning, explicitly said that AIDAN couldn’t lie, just wrap things around. The fact that a crazy half-dead hacker literally hacked away at his hardware can’t change that. That’s a programming thing, he doesn’t have the capability for lying so more damage means less complex commands, ergo, less cognitive capabilities. I figured out that Ezra wasn’t dead quite early on so I went through AIDAN and Kady’s conversations to see if he had just implied he was dead, thus working around his limitations to achieve his goal, but no! AIDAN explicitly said He’s dead. So that plot twist towards the end felt kind of cheap
Other things he could have said:
- He’s gone
- I’m sorry, Kady
- Other people from the crew got to him
- I stopped reading his life-signals (or w/e) days ago
- I didn’t think telling you he was dead would help us (because it’s not true)
Yeah, I’m salty
I noticed that on the reports of Time until we blow up/Dead people/Zombies/etc. once the virus had effectively spread to everyone on the ship there was a decreasing percentage of crew members infected by the virus. sO IT’S NOT INCURABLE AND PEOPLE DO GET BETTER AFTER A WHILE. I can’t wait until Kady and Ezra find out that they killed a bunch of people who could have actually healed on their own….
I know that the other books have different main characters but since this is the Illuminae Files I’m guessing we’ll see how the rest of the crew got together so I’m expecting more badass young hackers and love interests from all over the galaxy. On the other hand I’d love a back story on the BeiTech people that show THEM as the victims oppressed by the UTA (who already seem like douches)
Perhaps bravery is simply tha face humanity wraps around its collective madness
There is something in humanity more suited to the mechanics of murder than any machine yet devised
People are always saying “how are you?” to each other, and I guess I don’t see why I should answer such a personal question for just anyone.
This book is a work of art so I decided to make a new division for pretty pages!