Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the first in a new young adult sci-fi trilogy centering around an invasion of the planet Kerenza by two rival corporations set in the year 2575. We follow Kady Grant, a spunky, computer savvy girl who dreams to explore the universe, and Ezra Mason, a caring guy with a great sense of humor. At the beginning of the novel Kady has just broken up with Ezra before the sky rains fire upon the colony as a warship, Lincoln, attacks without warning or cause. The two exes have to put aside their feelings of anger and heartbreak to work together in order to escape the invasion. During their escape Ezra is injured and carted off to the ship Alexander to undergo treatment and Kady boards the Hypatia. The fleet is accompanied by a third ship Copernicus housing more refugees and Kady’s mother. The fleet is pursued by the invading ship on their way to a nearby jump gate but they are under heavy fire and the Alexander sustains major haul damage. With the Alexander limping through space the fleet slows to help in its aid but the Lincoln is hot on their trail.
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The format in which the story is told is through a dossier of the invasion and the events that follow. We are immersed into the story by interviews, instant messaging conversations, military files, transmissions between ships, medical documentation, and schematics. The flight sequences were so creative in their delivery to make you feel like you were sitting in the cockpit of a Cyclone fighter. Amie and Jay were smart in how they set up the moments of calm with hilarious emails and IMs and the intense and heart pounding events with page layouts that had you frantically turning pages. Each of the characters were relatable and easy to love right from the start, both, Kady and Ezra, were great as individual characters and together. Sometimes in popular YA you find that certain characters are better appreciated when they are with another main or supporting character, this was not the case and it was refreshing. I have to admit to a fictional crush on Ezra because his sarcastic sense of humor made me laugh out loud and I adored his romantic side.
Illuminae’s twists and turns will keep you guessing about what is going to happen next and you’ll never see the end coming. There were several plot twists in the book that stopped me in my tracks and I had to put it down to process what I had just read. You will laugh and cry and cheer out loud during your reading and you’ll want to tell everyone about this book.
I have nothing negative to say about this book, it was a fantastic fast paced read that kept me glued to its pages until the very end. This book isn’t just a beautiful cover it is stunning inside and out, pick up this book and take a peek under the dust jacket and flip through the pages.
If you are looking for something new in the YA genre or if you want to ease into sci-fi I would recommend picking up Illuminae. It’s a total reading experience that you do not want to miss out on. The format of the book is very easy to read and figure out, you will find out that it reads like any other novel.
I can see why this book received so much hype last year at BEA/Bookcon and among book bloggers and YA authors. My only regret is that I didn’t read this sooner!
I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.
The sequel, Gemina, will be hitting shelves sometime Fall 2016.