Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aka the book that ate my heart, spat it out into the cosmos, let me explode into tiny atoms then put it back together.

Illuminae is the kind of book that leaves you breathless, fumbling for purchase while you cry, and gripping your heart at the sheer beauty of it. I’d like to thank the book community for introducing me to this gem.


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.



The book is still fresh in my mind and the thought of it is making my heart ache. What I loved most about this book was the format. It’s told through files, online messages, emails, documents and surveillance cameras on board the Alexander and Hypatia. Not only is that a genius idea but it also gave the story the ability to withhold information and let us imagine what has occurred. It was interesting to read the interactions across ships via online messages, especially between the captains of the vessels. The plot twists and revelations we would get in a normal book felt so much more intriguing when told in this format. Illuminae is not black and white, but various shades of grey as we get accounts from multiple perspectives.

This is legit how I imagined outside the ship to be like. Source.

Let’s talk about Kady Grant and appreciate this girl’s sass, brains and resilence even in the moments before death grew imminent. Kady had just broken up with Ezra and two minutes later their world is under attack and they’re on separate intergalatic ship heading for a safe base. With only dialogue between her and the interviewer at the very beginning, we already get a glimpse at the girl I grew to love.

Then there’s Ezra Mason and while he’s not as intelligent with computers and numbers and strategy, he’s the softie we needed to cushion Kady’s rough edges. This is why I loved their lowkey and slow burn romance throughout the entire book. Ezra helps Kady hold it together, the voice of reason during their bleak times on board different ships. I also loved his lame attempts to romance her while being stars away from her. If only someone would write me a drunken email every once in a while.

And now, I want to talk about Aidan. God, I hated this AI so much at the beginning. He was destructive (to me and to our beloved characters), unable to compute orders and downright scary.

Aidan will be the death of me. Source. 

But his fascination with Kady, something I didn’t expect from an AI, was so interesting. I loved the second half of the book simply because we get to see Kady and Aidan interact in a way that will make you laugh and cry. My heart was breaking so much in these last pages, and I have never been so attached to a psychotic and poetic AI before.

The writing itself was brilliant, rich and so cool with the tech and space lingo. I adored how Kristoff and Kaufman worked together and created such a fascinating universe.



Let me know in the comments what you thought of Illuminae! I’d love to chat!

Until next time.

Stay golden!



2 thoughts on “Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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