Book Reviews

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

🌟 5 stars 🌟

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner crying over how much this book has broken my heart. Illuminae should honestly should have a disclaimer that it will rip out your heart and you will cry a lot. Illuminae is one of the few books that I went into with high expectations and wasn’t disappointed.

You’ll also enjoy this book if you’re a fan of:

  • Sci-Fi
  • Technology
  • Creative Book Format
  • Books that hit you right in the feels
  • Books that make you cry
  • Fast-paced read
  • Plot twists GALORE


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.

BRIEFING NOTE: 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.

Illuminae is a riveting read that is told through various chat logs, security footage, and other means that make it different from your standard read. The format did throw me off at first, but once I adjusted to it, I was hooked with the story. I also listened to the audiobook while I read and the full cast made it easy to immerse myself in the story.

The story begins with two of the worst possible things that could happen to two lovesick teenagers, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, who break up and then their planet gets invaded later that same day. After their miraculous escape, they both end up on separate spaceships, the Hypatia and the Alexander,  that are trying to get them safely away from BeiTech, the company that attacked their home. Aboard separate ships, they learn that their lives may be in greater peril than they realized.

“I am frequently underestimated. I think it’s because I’m short.”

Since I am someone that is currently majoring in something within the technological field; Kady Grant is everything I aspire to be and more. She manages to crack the security system onboard the Hypatia with ease because she is determined to figure out what is truly going on. I loved how realistic her character is in the fact that she is brave and does some dangerous things throughout Illuminae but she does have her vulnerable moments as well where you remember that she is only a teenager that just wants to make sure her loved ones are safe.

“I stayed up half the night making your ASCII flower just so you’d talk to me again.”

EZRA MASON. Lets add him to my list of lovable book boyfriends that deserve the world, shall we? I disliked him a bit at the beginning of the book, because he seemed like rude boy with a temper, but I was SO wrong! Although, he may not have the best coping mechanisms or make the best decisions; his heart is always in the right place. He is sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve, but is also strong enough to do what he needs to do to survive.

“I should have told you I loved you every day. I should have given you the stars.”

I loved that Kady and Ezra were together before the events of Illuminae, because it made their relationship believable instead of feeling like instalove. Their relationship shows how passionate love can be even as a teenager and the stupid, little arguments that can tear a relationship apart as well. I loved reading about their individual growth as well as the growth of their relationship together.

“Am I not merciful?”

The last character I wanted to touch on is AIDAN. AIDAN vaguely reminded me of the Thunderhead in the Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman. AIDAN is a sentient AI that controls the Alexander. All I can say without spoiling is that it was very interesting to read an AI’s “thoughts” about each situation and the decisions it chooses to make. AIDAN reminded me of how if you read a book from a villain’s POV, you probably would hate the heroes. This AI always believed it was making the right decisions to keep its civilians safe, but of course, that was not always the case.

Illuminae is well-written, fast-paced, and heartbreaking. This book had me anxiously turning each page and feeling like I was right there aboard the ships with these characters, trying to fight my way to safety as well. Overall, this book has quickly become one of my favorite reads this year. There’s plenty of action with a dash of romance, which is exactly what I love in novels. I cannot wait to get my hands on Gemina!

9 thoughts on “Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

  1. This sounds amazing. I really wanna read it but there’s so much hype surrounding illuminae, I’m scared to pick it up and be disappointed

  2. I’ve been in a lull with my TBR list but your review of this book has got my interested in checking it out….

    …fires up Amazon, makes purchase, twiddles thumbs until the paperback arrives tomorrow.

    Thanks for the recommendation and review.

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