Posted in Book Reviews, Posts

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

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.


Blurb from Goodreads, photo from me!


Stand out quote:

“(Kady) is a thief. A whisper. Melting through the curtains of code and shadow like a knife through black water”

I am terribly sorry to say that this did not live up to the hype. Not one bit. I hate not loving books that so many other people have raved about, but I can’t see myself falling in love with this!

Let’s talk about the writing style. That’s what really draws people in, and makes them go on and on about how much they loved this book. I knew how it was going to be written, and I was excited for it! IMs, reports, things written from inside the mind of an AI… How cool is that?

Well, I’ll tell you. Not cool. Not one bit cool.

Yes, it’s creative. Yes, it’s original. No, it’s not fun to read! It’s honestly just a pain. I’m a skim reader – it’s a terrible habit, but one I can’t seem to break, no matter how hard I try. With this, you cannot be a skim reader. If you miss just one little word, you miss vitally important parts of the story. There were lots of notes up in the corner of a page, explaining what I was about to read. I missed those so often, and was left reading through the pages wondering “Who the heck is ByteMe? Am I missing something?”. Those notes were only a few words long, but they would have saved a lot of confusion if I’d worked out to check all corners of the page before beginning. But I got used to that. You learn the different fonts and usernames pretty quickly, because Kady is referred to as ByteMe or Astro Princess almost as often as she’s called her actual name. No, it was the pages that were written “creatively” that I really hated. The ones written


in a spiral, so you’re spinning a 600 page book around as you read. The ones where quotes are written over each other, so you have to peer closely to work out if that’s an “I” or a “u”. When you’re reading a battle scene were the entire fate of the ship rests on this missile being fired or not, you DO NOT HAVE TIME to decipher words. I want to be able to read fast, not as carefully as possible to make sure I don’t miss something. I don’t want to see a diagram of the ship. If your writing is good enough, I should be able to picture it well enough. OH, and you can’t forget the blacked out swearing! I think if you want a book without swearing, don’t swear. But nope, to add to the ‘realism’ of the files, the swearing had to be blacked out. It kind of ruins the flow of a sentence when there are words missing. Especially being me, I have to take a moment to work out what word it would be, so I could then replace it my head and carry on reading. The countdowns were useful, and that was probably the only part of the “creative” writing I liked. The rest of it, I would have way preferred it written as a regular book. 20160107_150421.jpg
Wow, the rant went on for way longer than I was expecting… I know so many of you loved it though, so I had to explain myself!

The other thing that made me mad was the romance. Or, should I say, complete lack of romance. It was so forced! The book starts of with Ezra and Kady explaining how they broke up, yet by the end of it they’re saying they’ll always love each other… What? There was zero explanation of how they started to forgive each other, aside from the fact that they thought they were going to die alone. Which I do understand, that would be a terrifying prospect, of course you want to know that there’s someone out there who loves you. But what’s wrong with friendship? Is it not possible for exes to just be friends? According to this book, absolutely not. It was romance or nothing for these two. I think I would have preferred nothing over a forced romance… .Illuminae Quote.jpg
This book wasn’t all bad, though. The plot was written amazingly! I don’t read much sci fi, because I find a lot of it goes over my head. Not because I don’t get it, but because I don’t concentrate enough when I read. It’s just missing little details, but in sci fi those little details add up to gaping holes in the plot. So yeah, I did have a little of that, but that is through no fault of the writer. The writer made the plot fantastic. I loved the idea behind AIDEN, and the disease spreading, and the impending battle of the ships. I also like how drawn out the ‘final’ battle was. Instead of a lot of boring rubbish on a ship, we were thrown into action for the majority of the book. With Kady a hacker, and Ezra a fighter pilot, we had two completely different sides of the action, which made the battle all the more stressful. Whenever you thought it was bound to be over, some new twist was thrown into the mix. AIDEN made the book incredible, and it was really him (it?) that had me the most interested.

And aside from the romance, the characters were pretty cool too. Ezra is adorable, and doesn’t hold back at all in his adoration of Kady. Kady is sassy as hell. I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side, I’d be terrified! Ezra’s friend James was my favourite. He teased Ezra relentlessly about Kady (inventing the Astro Princess nickname I mentioned), and just everything he did made me want to be his best friend. The best thing about this book was that you saw all the different sides of them. You saw them all when they thought they were going to die (not saying if they do or not!), when they’d lost all hope vs when they’d never been more hopeful, in love and with fiery hate, with their friends, families, lovers, enemies… Any possible scenario you wanted to get to know your favourite character in, you got to see it. It made the characters even more well rounded and interesting. I really did worry about them in all the stressful situations.

Overall, I have one word for this book: disappointing. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t blow me away like it amazed so many other reviewers. Go you if you loved it – I so wish I could join you!

Challenges this fits: Finishing the series (2), Popsugar (romance in the future)

Three Stars

So go on, argue with me! I know most of you are probably shocked, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world to not love this… What did you think of it? 



I was a book blogger for a while, and I now blog about every little thing in life I can think of. Bear with me while I try all these new posts out... I'm a New Zealand teen who gets angry about the world (but not angry enough for tumblr). I like to capture the world through photos and words, and read in all the moments in nz-squadbetween. I have an overwhelming desire to see every corner of the world I possibly can, and hug the people I love in all those corners. I can't do make up to save myself, and you're more likely to find me buying matching stationary than matching clothes. My nerd hobbies include a new found love of the Avengers, reading YA, watching Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, and every vlogger I can find, and being the last person on the music bandwagons. I have big plans for the rest of my life, including university, teaching, travelling, and having an army of puppies. I plan to blog every second of it!

22 thoughts on “Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

  1. I personally really liked it but I totally agree that the blacked out swearing was annoying. I had to stop ever few sentences to figure out what the word was and there was a lot of blacked out words :/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m supposed to get around to reading Illuminae this year (why did I promise that?), and the format is really the only thing holding me back from checking it out.

    Sorry you didn’t have a good experience with this book, though. All of the hype I’ve been bombarded with is starting to scare me since I’m easily disappointed in the books everyone else is digging.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awww, I’m sorry that this one didn’t live up to the hype for you! I hate when that happens.

    I haven’t gotten around to reading this one yet, but I do own it. I actually was on the fence about getting it since the plot didn’t originally interest me. When I flipped through it (and saw what the format looked like) is when I was sold on the book. I’m not sure about some of those pages you showed though. It makes me a little concerned. But I like reading graphic novels, which sometimes get a little inventive with their text choices. So I’m hoping it won’t bother me too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate hearing your perspective! And I can see why the weird formatting would get frustrating after a while, especially if you’re caught up in the story and just want to know what happens next. I’ve been so tempted by this book, but I”m trying to stick to my plan not to start any series this year that aren’t already complete. So, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m feeling less tempted now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read this book, but I know I won’t – I felt like it wasn’t my type and your review just confirmed it, haha! I have many friends that loved it, but it is not for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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