Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

9781101916629_c32d2Title: Illuminae

Series: The Illuminae Files #1

Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Pub Date: October 20, 2015


Format: Audiobook

My Rating: ★★★★★

View on Goodreads | Buy on | | Book Depository

I don’t usually use copied synopses for my reviews, but in this case it is just too hard for me to present the story in a comprehensive way. So the synopsis from Goodreads must do.

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.


This book is amazing! I listened to the audiobook, my first audiobook ever, and it was an exceptional experience. I had headphones on whenever I had a chance, trying to listen as long as I can, to get further in the story, to learn more. And to get to the parts spoke with Irish (I’m pretty sure that was an Irish) accent 😉

I didn’t know much about the story when I started it; I just knew that loads of people loved it. You may think that I was living in outer space, but I seriously didn’t know that this is not written in prose! It is my first encounter with a book that is written is such form. If you also were living in outer space and don’t know what’s going on with Illuminae, here’s a thing: it is a dossier of hacked documents, including IMs, emails, video analysis, medical reports, interviews, journal entries, AI narrative. This results in the ever changing point of view; we have to patch together events that are presented by the vast group of people, and because of that, we cannot get an entirely objective view on the matter.

Kady: she’s the main character, for most of the story we are following her and her actions. She is excellent at hacking, and with a help of more experienced crew member she is secretly trying to figure out what happened with BeiTech attacked Kerenza, and what is the captain not telling them. Thanks to her hacking abilities, she’s able to communicate with Ezra, her ex-boyfriend who is in the other space vessel. In the current circumstances they reconsider their feelings, and the worse the situation onboard is becoming, the more they willing to express their feelings. Those two have their moments when sharing declarations of love and other romantic whatnots, and because I was listening to the audiobook instead of reading it on paper, those moments had a great cringe potential. And somehow they didn’t make me cringe; only one part was a bit cheesy and too much for me, and this was this sentence from Ezra:

“you have me until the last star in the galaxy dies, you have me”

Yeah, I’m not a fan of that part.

The plague: what made the whole story more exciting is the fobos virus that was infecting people on Alexander. BeiTech attacked Kerenza not only with bombs, but also with bio-wepon that is now mutatung in the bodies on the Alexander. And what at first looks like PSTD, turns out to be a dengerous virsu that is turning people to “not (yet) dead zombies” besically. It is pretty scary and when we finally have a chance to see what exactly this virus is doing to the inflicted – wow, amazingly creepy!

AIDAN (aka “Am I not merciful”) this may become my favouire villan. Aidan is an AI – Artifical Intelligence. I was not expecting AI to become a villain, and to be so humane, and inhumane at the same time. His voice in the audiobook was perfectly unemotional, and it was so irritating to listen to him, I wanted to punch him, to scream at him. Impressive character, and unique one.

Humour: I love how all the characters were unique, and that so many of them were hilarious. I could not help but laugh out loud in some places. These funny parts were a perfect balance to all the horrible scenes of murder and death. They were a little burst of light in the overall tragic story.

The ending: I feel like I should have expected such an ending, it was so obvious! But I didn’t expect it; I was too engaged in the story to think what will happen next. Thanks to that I was not expecting the ending, and this made the whole story much more enjoyable.

AMAZING BOOK! I need to reread it, now in a paper form. Now I’m waiting for the next book in the series – Gemina! October 18th, come faster!


15 thoughts on “Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

  1. LizScanlon says:

    I’m not a big fan of space stories (and yet I love everything to do with UFO controversies)- go figure… but I loved Kristoff’s Nevernight so I may need to give this one a go 🙂 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ola says:

      I need to check out Nevernight, I heard some good stuff about it. I believe that you will like Illuminae, for some reason I wouldn’t call it a space story, even though as a matter of fact it is one… I don’t understand my thoughts right now 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    YES! This was my favorite read of this year by FAR. I adore Illuminae, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. I’m fascinated that you listened to the audiobook– I can’t imagine doing that, what with all the beautiful word art and such. Did the audiobook come with a copy of the important images? How were things like audio recordings and dossier files expressed differently? I’m so curious!!


    • Ola says:

      I just listed to the audiobook, and I didn’t have any art with it. So I definitely missed a lot on the visual aspect of the book, but really… I don’t care because I loved the experience of listening to the story. It is a perfect performance. I highly recommend. All the different parts of the story were read by different characters, and they all have different accents. This brought a lot to the story. I am planning to read the book in paper format too.


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