Review: ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Reading time 5 mins

There just isn’t anyway to write a review and do this book justice. All the hype is warranted. The raving reviews are not an exaggeration. Illuminae

fucking blew my mind!

Review: ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Also in this series: Gemina
Published by Random House Children's Books on October 20th 2015
Pages: 608
Genres: Dystopian, General, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Also by this author: Gemina
Hardcover provided by My Wallet (purchased)

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For fans of The Fifth Wave and James Dashner comes the first book in an epic series that bends the sci-fi genre into a new dimension.   “Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave.”
—Marie Lu New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy

“I have never read anything like [Illuminae]. It certainly filled the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA shaped hole in my heart."Victoria Aveyard, bestselling author of Red Queen

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 evacuate with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A 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 web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend sheswore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, 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.

So this book is written in a completely different format than anything I have ever read. You might have to turn the book when reading at some point. If you are a diehard fan of traditional font/writing. Look elsewhere, this book will frustrate you.

If you can stand ↑this↑ type of writing, this book will delight, terrify, and romance you to it’s climatic ending.

Besides the style of the layout, the writing is not really writing. In this book we read the files, as they are, in the Illuminae report. This not a narrative, there are holes in this report. There are plenty of conversation excepts to give us a feel for the characetrs personalities. It is fucking  brilliant really!  Still I have to say that this book delivered one hell of a tale. It helps that our lead character, Kady Grant, is a kickass  coder. There is gore and carnage and suspense all wrapped up in an epic science fiction package. By viewing these files we get access to conversations, emails, narratives of video footage, and journal entries. In reading over the evidence, we are able to see who exactly is behind the massacre and why they must be stopped.

Believe it or not, it was surprisingly easy to be completely sucked into this book, even though it didn’t read like any book I have ever read. There is a complete tale within this book. It starts on the rock in space known as Kerenza where the Kerenza colony is stationed, it zooms us aboard the battle carrier Alexandra, and the science vessel (aka flying laboratory) Hypathia in the aftermath of a deliberate attack. It becomes a desperate attempt to keep from being blown to bits by the people who started a virus called the Phobos, and are in hot pursuit of the survivors aboard those two flying vessels.

The Phobos virus is terrifying. This shit had people stalking and killing their own. Unlike a zombie type of virus, the Phobos keeps it’s victims reasoning and problem solving. It is hard to detect when it starts, but the end result is of complete psychosis, with homicidal wrath and superhuman strength. All of this is transpiring while a select few are trying to decipher what is corrupt in this new reality. I was horrified and felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. Almost this whole story takes place in space, so there’s a scary vacuum outside. These people can’t just leave.

There is a romantic element, and of course AIDEN, who I personally really grew to love. The personality of the computer, aka AIDEN goes completely batshit crazy. It is frightening to imagine a program with survival instincts to protect itself while still preserving the mission. All of this is laid out in pieces for the reader to follow, and it felt voyeuristic at times, but I could stop reading this. This was an edge of your seat brilliant science fiction suspense. The best book I have read this year ever.

My Rating


Oh and I have to mention that no matter how you read this book for the first time, you are going to want the hardcover version, probably. The dust cover jacket is completely different then the cover of the book. I am not sure which one is better.



The Illuminae Files

About Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, and Illuminae, the first in a new series starting in 2015. She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy. Part 3, ENDSINGER, is out now. He's also co-author of the upcoming ILLUMINAE (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi... thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015, and NEVERNIGHT, the first part of a new fantasy trilogy kicking off in 2016.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

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By | 2017-12-16T10:25:17+00:00 Saturday, October 24, 2015|5 stars, Dystopian, reviews, Romance, Science Fiction, YA|12 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings
    October 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Is it me or does Jay Kristoff look a little like Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters?

    Anyhoo, I am still reading this, hope to finish it tonight and I love it! It really is like nothing I have ever read before, my mind is totally blown!

    I have got the paperback unfortunately, the hardback looks awesome but my wee PB is a thing of beauty! So glad you enjoyed this Karen, I think this is one book that lives up to its hype!
    Check Out Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings’s most recent post- Where I can be found or the post also known as……..My Profile

    • Karen Blue
      October 24, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      It is NOT just you, I thought the same thing about Jay Kristoff. I can’t wait to read your review. This was such an excellent read.

    • Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight
      October 27, 2015 at 1:05 am - Reply

      Oh my goodness Heather, YES! The first time I saw his picture, I thought he WAS Dave Grohl, and I was so confused as to why Dave Grohl was friends with my favorite authors bwhahah
      Check Out Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight’s most recent post- Halloween ScenesMy Profile

  2. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    October 25, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

    I am so excited for this one!! I don’t care how much hype it has. I think the crazy format sounds like fun. I so need the hard cover version because that cover is awesome. Great review!!

    Side note: Yes he totally looks like Dave Grohl in that picture 🙂
    Check Out Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog’s most recent post- Weekly Rewind ~ 10.25.15My Profile

  3. Trish @ Between My Lines
    October 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    YES! I love when a book lives up to the hype and now that I know the format is quirky I want this one more than ever. Great review, I’m now on a mission to make it mine! 😀
    Check Out Trish @ Between My Lines’s most recent post- The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #90My Profile

  4. Lola
    October 26, 2015 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Just picked this one up and am so excited to read it! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!!!
    Check Out Lola’s most recent post- Black Heart (Curse Workers #3) by Holly BlackMy Profile

  5. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight
    October 27, 2015 at 1:08 am - Reply

    FABULOUS review, Karen!! This book was definitely epic. It seriously blows my mind how the authors were able to create this book so flawlessly and epically. Like, how much TIME must this have taken?! It’s just.. I have no words. It was fabulous and I cannot WAIT to see what the next one has to offer!
    Check Out Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight’s most recent post- Halloween ScenesMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      October 27, 2015 at 7:11 am - Reply

      I know, it was an amazing read. Totally worth the hype. I am really excited that it is a series!

  6. Jen
    October 28, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    I’m always wary to read reviews about this one! I think FOR SURE you need it in paper format; reviewers who read it in e-book form were disappointed and often missed crucial info due to illegibility. I’m excited!!!!!

  7. Carla
    October 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Wow, this book look sintriguing. I may check this one out.

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