Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

readinginthegarden's review against another edition

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3.5 Stars out of Five!

Now don't get me wrong I actually really liked this book! I honestly couldn't put it down and I would of read it in one sitting if I wasn't busy yesterday. I picked up the third book 'Obsidio' in Waterstones and opened it up and it looked really interesting. I went on an absolute manhunt to try and find this book about town and most of the bookshops had the first one sold out. I was so intrigued by the format. It's something I've never really seen before especially in this genre. The only thing is that it is really hard to get into.

This is my personal opinion but I'm not overwhelmed by diary formatted books. Even though this book isn't a diary it is very similar. It isn't in the characters point of view it is sets of e-mails and audios. I would much prefer a book with just its normal format because I'm boring. I love seeing the way the character speaks and feels and everything is in real time. I love description and what they can see around them I struggled with my imagination with it because it wasn't really left to the imagination. I think it is really neat and interesting that you get to see pictures but I'm not a fan. I like to imagine things as I read it because whats the point in reading? I may as well watch a film. It sort of takes away what I really like about reading is the pure imagination and the escapism. I couldn't really escape with this book I couldn't quite connect ( even though the ending is powerful and I have to admit I did shed tears.)

I guess this format isn't for me which is a shame because I really am interested in Ezra and Kady. That is also the problem is that they were the only characters that were fleshed out. Every other character was just a username. I didn't connect with anyone else and that's what I found so difficult was because how I am supposed to cry over a death/deaths if I don't know the character? It's just so hard to connect when you're observing not emerging in a story.

There also were a couple of things in the book which I found rather confusing as well was your basically in danger you're in a war how do you find the time to e-mail/IM each other? Like I understand that it isn't real and maybe I'm being too picky but really? Your facing imminent death and your e-mailing? I just imagined the whole time they have a computer beside them at all times. Even if they went to the bathroom I can imagine them having a computer strapped to them. It was a little ridiculous.

But apart from my nitpicking, I did really enjoy the book I liked Ezra and Kady and the ending I felt like I was holding my breath through it. It was adrenaline filled and it ended perfectly. I was so unsure about how it was going to end and the twists I did not see coming which is always a bonus! It was a unique reading experience that I have not experienced before but I do recommend people read this as a lot of people would enjoy it! Some of the imagery was just amazing! I'm just boring and like the normal reading format. But I'm so glad I read it as I did get a good reading experience from it. I'm not sure if I will read the sequel but never say never!

lynneelue's review against another edition

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This was REALLY fun to read. I loved all the documents to make up the story, and the interior design made the whole experience so much more complete and unique. Serious kudos to the designers, here. This book made me feel like I was watching a movie like Star Wars, it was so exciting and fast paced and interesting that it was hard to put down because it felt like putting a chase scene on pause, or like using the emergency brake on the highway. I thought it was funny, scary, creepy, and ridiculous. I loved the love story and the pictures Ezra drew for her. I liked how when describing the book to someone, I'd start, "The two main characters break up and then their planet blows up." This was really quite fun.

peaches_'s review against another edition

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*2.5 stars rounded down*
There's no denying aesthetically, this book is great. A really visually interesting layout, a space opera with romance that perhaps tries a little too hard? Even as a HUGE sci-fi fan I found this incredibly dull and packed full of forced humour that doesn't land. I won't be picking up the rest in this trilogy but I will say something it does have going for it, there are some stunning pages within this book.

ryfi's review

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adventurous mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


nikb100's review against another edition

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Loved the format, didn't really like anything else.

nannahnannah's review against another edition

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I'm actually pretty amazed this book doesn't have more negative reviews ... the ableism and fatphobia here are SO rampant it made me go from enjoying this book to me wondering how the manuscript as it is got published at all.
Lots of fatphobic and ableist publishers and agents/editors, I guess ...

Book content warnings:

So the plot basically opens on a tiny, icy planet "owned" by one Megacorporation--illegally--so it can mine some needed thing for free. Unfortunately for them, another Megacorporation wants the planet for themselves, and since Megacorporation A has it illegally, they figure they can just, you know, massacre everyone there! Thereby getting the planet and getting rid of anyone who could tell on them for genocide ("genocide" in quotes here because culture really didn't evolve on this planet enough).

But the lives here won't go down without a fight. There are three ships that escape, though Megacorporation B takes quick chase.

The book follows Kady Grant and Ezra Mason (who broke up just before their planet was attacked), Byron Zhang (a "chiphead", aka someone good with computers and/or AI), and the AI of the ship that comes to the planet's SOS signal, AIDAN (of the Alexander).

The book is also told as a report filed to sum up everything that happened after Megacorporation B attacked. So ... is it a creative way to tell a story? Maybe. Is it a platform to show good writing?/Is it fun to read? NO. Reports and transcripts and emails are incredibly BORING. In writing and to read! Obviously many people here think differently, but when there are no dialogue tags or ANY prose whatsoever in between the next chat line ... it's so monotonous. Especially when so many of the dialogue lines are single-line swears (oh wait, never mind, because they're bleeped out). Because it's YA, lmao.

Along the same vein, (of "I want my characters to swear, but I can't let them because it's YA, so let's bleep them out), that ABLEISM!

I think the authors wanted a zombie-like atmosphere and crisis on the closed-in environment of the ship, but it was sci-fi so they had to think of something else.
Spoiler An enviro-weapon!
Which isn't a bad idea, to be honest. But what comes next? IS.

Stop using mentally ill people as your fictional monsters!!!
I literally don't care if it's """technically""" not the same because it gets passed to each other in a virus-like format and blah blah blah, if you're saying it's like extreme PTSD (which I have, thanks guys) and that these people aren't even human anymore, it's ableist as (BLEEP). Not to mention it really seems like neither author has ever even known a genuinely mentally ill person before; everything is SCREAMING and MOANING and MOANING and SCREAMING (and killing each other, of course).

It's like 1960's asylum movies all over again!! Only worse because these authors should know better!

So yeah, I wanted to set this book on fire. But it's a library copy.
Also, the authors just loved making fatphobic comparisons--what the hell is that about?

I can't wait to get rid of this book soon enough. Unlikable characters, unlikable prose (when there was a sort of prose, and just ... a book that went on an on -- plus over 200 pages covered completely with black ink?? And only like 5 words in white ink? Are you serious (200 PAGES)?

eldritch_grandparent's review against another edition

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A large dossier of hacked files from an event where a planet gets destroyed. It follows the story and relationship of two teens. The fleet’s AI goes crazy and blows up a ship because of a lethal virus, many people die, and they eventually escape from a warship called Lincoln.

The setting shifts from the icy planet Kerenza to the fleet. After that, even though there are slight changes from ship to ship the setting stays pretty constant throughout the book. But the setting immerses the reader in open space, following the tragedies that happen between the fleet of ships. First, we meet the main characters on the planet where they live… Kerenza. Kerenza is an icy and illegal mining planet where it was illegally colonized. They actually operate the mine under detection for over twenty years, until their planet is attacked by a rival mining company called BeiTech. Only a small percentage of the people from Kerenza live and are taken in by a government fleet. We meet our main characters when they describe the attack as it happens. Kady Grant uses her truck to make a break for it, but ends up running into her ex-boyfriend Ezra Mason. They both miraculously escape the planet and onto two separate ships; the Hypatia and the Alexander. This is the point where the setting contributes deeply to the whole story. Most of the story is told through conversations between mostly Kady and Ezra, but also other personnel in the fleet. We watch the whole story unravel as characters talk to one another through the their “comms”. Surveillance videos are described in full detail throughout the book, as well as recordings and information coming from the AI (AIDAN’s) core. Some surveillance videos describe virus afflicted people running through the corridors of abandoned ships because of a lethal pathogen released by BeiTech. Many people die on the fleet. Overall, the settings of the book contribute to the meaning of the text by telling the story in different perspectives, in turn making the reader feel different emotions, especially sending shivers down the reader’s spine when once normal people slowly and gruesomely go crazy.

The whole book is basically a giant conflict between BeiTech and the remaining survivors of the Kerenza attack. Kerenza is stunted and wounded at the beginning by BeiTech, another big mining company that mines the same thing as the Kerenza mine. This of course isn’t a coincidence, and BieTech’s warship Lincoln follows behind the escaped refugees of the Alexander fleet. To make matters, another problem arises. The fleet’s AI system goes crazy and destroys a ship infected with a lethal pathogen, the Copernicus. Then it all goes down from there. Dealing with a psycho AI and a lethal pathogen afflicted ship, things only get worse. The fleet barely escapes from the Lincoln and eventually Kady helps the AI destroy the Lincoln at the end and only one ship remains. The conflict between BeiTech and Kerenza is what propels the story forward, leaving my heart beating through my chest.

This is absolutely a must read for those who haven’t read it yet. I devoured the book, and savoured every word and description. Not to mention, the book is told in a unique way… through a dossier of hacked files. It combines wonderful sci-fi magic, with a spine-tingling sensation. You just can’t help but stepping into the character’s heads, and dancing in their hearts. This will definitely be enjoyed by many for years to come.

mehsi's review against another edition

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This was just effing amazing! I may write a review later, not sure yet. :D

jessthebest123's review against another edition

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I loved the formatting it was so interesting and cool.

The ending killed me inside just a little. Nearly cried twice and had a million heart attacks.

_mkarys's review against another edition

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Actual rating: 3.5 stars

After reading [b:Lifel1k3|29456569|Lifel1k3 (Lifelike, #1)|Jay Kristoff||49731905] at the beginning of the month, my sister and I made the decision to finally start The Illuminae Files because we were on a Jay Kristoff high and I am so glad we did! The format of the book, as expected, was a bit hard to get into at first, but I realized from the start that this was the kind of story that I would have loved immediately had it been written like any other book. No matter, with the help of the audiobook, I was able to understand how things worked and things went a lot smoother.

I liked the story a lot, although I felt like there were moments of intense action (
Spoiler the attack on Karenza, the destruction of the Copernicus and aaaaaall the crazy that happens on the Alexander
) that I LOVED, and moments of down time that, of course, are normal in a book, but that were a bit boring to read, considering that it’s all file reports and chats and stuff like that. Perhaps others found the down times entertaining regardless thanks to the format, which is faster to read compared to a traditional book with long sequences of descriptions and thoughts, but evidently I am not one of those people.

It also took me a little longer to actually start caring about the characters but, again, once I familiarized with the format, things changed. I still have some reserves on AIDAN, who everyone seems to love, but we’ll see as the story progresses. I’m already reading Gemina. I opened the book the moment I finished Illuminae!