Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
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.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
I am still at a loss for what to say, and I finished this book going on 36 hours before sitting down to write this review. In short, it is amazing. Why? Well, that is difficult to answer without ruining anything for you. See, I went in knowing next to nothing about Illuminae, and I want the same for you. So … here goes nothing.
First let me say that while this is technically YA, it is far from a typical YA. There is no love triangle, no idiotic teenagers (not REALLY), minimal wanting to strangle people – the kinds of things I typically find in YA. Kady, I would tentatively call her the main character, has had A LOT to deal with. The day she decided to break up with her boyfriend, her city was attacked by a rival corporation and she is one of few that is able to escape. But that is just the beginning. The REAL story starts after the escape.
And I have to mention the unique way this story is told. There is nothing typical about it. Through a compilation of memos, instant messages, transcripts of radio and video recordings, and other misc. documentation, the reader is given a unique perspective on the entire … incident? When I first heard about this, I thought that was a fun idea but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a story told like that. I wasn’t sure there was any way I could form the character attachments I prefer when the story was told in such an abstract manner. I am SO GLAD I gave this a chance. Not only did I connect with the MC, I connected with the side characters and … other things … *purposefully vague*.
I was amazed, terrified, horrified, distraught, emotionally drained, hopeful, and mentally exhausted – all while reading Illuminae – not necessarily in that order. I will be chomping at the bit until the next installment is released. I cannot believe how invested I became in a story told through “official documentation”. It is amazing. I said that already. But it fits.