Prior to reading this book all I knew was that Jay Kristoff is like Dave Grohl of the book world and that this book has been all over my instagram feed with people loosing their minds, especially when the third book in the series recently came out. Feeling stuck with what I had been reading anyway, last Tuesday I thought I’d grab myself a copy and see what made this book so good. I read it in less than 24 hours. That’s no small feat between work, social commitments and the fact that it is 599 pages long.

Synopsis

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.

First, wow. I did not expect the story to be told in such an interesting way through classified documents, emails, dosiers and such. I love history and this felt like looking into the historical archives of the future. Now I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan, I’ve read a bit and appreciate it but it’s not my go to. But I really enjoyed reading this book. It was really unique and unexpected way to tell the story, but it worked so perfectly.

As I read through there were a number of key twists and defining moments that had me on the edge of my seat, that blew my mind when I found out what I thought would happen was far from the truth of it. There was a lot of sci-fi and technical lingo I didn’t know or understand, but the skilled way in which it’s worked into the writing allows any reader to get the idea of what’s going on regardless.

One of my favourite sections of the novel is when Kady goes to save Ezra, only to find out he’s not on the ship and has to help the glitching AI. Initially I was hesitant about reading something about evil AI (my first thoughts turned to HAL), but even the development of the AI’s character and relationship with Kady and the space crew was really fascinating. It was interesting to see the internal monologue and reasoning of the super computers actions against the humans.

Of course I did love reading the unfolding romance between Kady and Ezra as they patched things up and got back together through the book. Learning of their relationship in the personal way of diaries and instant messaging is such a different way to watch their feelings grow compared to your standard romance storytelling.

On the whole I really enjoyed Illuminae. I even got my local bookshop to order me the next book in the series which I’ll pick up tomorrow. Space adventures, quirky romance, killer AI and intergalactic war… honestly what is there not to love!