Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: Illuminae

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) 

By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.” 
― Amie KaufmanIlluminae
A cross between Firefly and BSG, but with more teen breakup drama!

Kady and Ezra have just broken up when an evil tech corporation bombs their little ice planet, killing most of the inhabitants. Our heroes manage to escape to one of three space ships, but not together; Kady ends up on the science ship, Hypatia, while Ezra winds up on the military ship, Alexander. But now they're being chased by the BeiTech dreadnought, Lincoln. As if running for their lives from an evil tech company wasn't bad enough, BeiTech released some kind of chemical weapon on the planet and people are getting sick. And the Alexander took a lot of damage, particularly to its AI. Frying pan, meet fire.

In a departure from most other books I've read, I found myself more drawn to the action and format of this book than the relationships between the main characters. This never happens - I tend to read for the people not the place. But in Illuminae, the format was half the fun - the memos and emails and messaging drew me in to the events instead of distancing me from the characters. 
Alternately, while I was drawn to the characters, I wasn't drawn to Kady and Ezra's relationship. I found the relationships between them and secondary characters far more interesting. I was particularly fascinated with AIDAN's character and the portion of text pulled from its data. So well done!

Pros: detailed space chase, hacker extraordinaire, evil robot
Cons: icky love stuff, that ending (I'm not so sure about that wrap up - 
I liked Kady giving the finger to BeiTech, I like that AIDAN will likely be back, but I'm not so sure that I think Ezra coming back is the right thing. I hate it when lead characters die, but I thought the story was far more interesting with him dead. Almost would say the same for Kady; like for reals, how did she survive that?! ) [Highlight for spoiler]

All in all, Illuminae was a great book and I'd highly recommend it. Great option for reluctant readers and sci-fi nerds of all ages (come on, it has space zombies AND an evil AI!).