Book Reviews, Random Ramblings

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) was written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book came HIGHLY recommended to me by my local librarian.  Illuminae was published on October 20th, 2015.


This book is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The physical book is a visual experience. It’s written as a series of documents, drawings, and messages. While the audio edition harkens back to the days of radio programs with amazing sound effects and an entire ensemble cast of performers. I listened to the audio edition.

I don’t usually pick up science fiction novels, although I do enjoy watching science fiction movies. Perhaps I’ve overlooked this genre for too long? This was my first young adult “space opera,” a dramatic science fiction novel with a sweeping story (think Star Wars). Really, this story had it all: an evil corporation, genocide, an insane computer, a zombie-like virus, and an unlikely 17-year-old girl as our hero. Just when I had an inkling of what was about to happen, PLOT TWIST!!! I’m usually good at seeing this stuff coming, but this novel had me on the edge of my seat, especially towards the end. I listened to this novel in my car on my commute to work and back. By the last disk, I couldn’t go inside my house because I HAD to know what would happen! I think I stayed outside for nearly an hour after I got home, listening to the end of this story. (Yes, I have a player in my house, but I didn’t want to pause the story for the time it would take to switch everything out. That in itself is telling!) I really had no idea who would live and who would die. AMAZING!

The protagonist of this story, Kady Grant, is a salty character. I really liked her! And the psycho computer, AIDAN, is one of my new favorite characters of ANY book. I have been thinking of AIDAN for days after I finished this story. (The next book in the series, Gemina, is already queued up in my car.) When AIDAN says, “Am I not merciful?” his words sent chills down my spine. I liked the audio experience, so I’m sticking to that format. I’m already planning on enjoying the rest of the series, the first book was THAT good. (My local librarian claims Gemina is even better! We shall see…)

I think this book would be great for high school students and older. Be aware, there is some violence in this story, although some of this is somewhat censored. The entire novel is told as if someone were reviewing a set of videos and files. There’s adult language that is NOT said in this book, meaning the “documents’ in the “files” have been censored. So while there isn’t any cursing, there’s a great deal of censored cursing. Does that make sense? I found it entertaining, but more sensitive readers with an excellent imagination might not like it.

Do I recommend this book? YES!!! Especially the audio edition.

xo Juli


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