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Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 599
Genre: Science Fiction

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.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Holy F*balls that, let me tell you, was a FANTASTIC novel! Please be warned, I am going to be ranting and raving about this fine piece of ass called Illuminae. Children be warned. This is Star Wars on acid. I can't even begin to understand my attraction to the book. It is a good attraction. For I am head over heels at the execution of this fine work. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, just bravo. Standing ovation. Now please give me book two.

I absolutely love the dialogue and jabber and slang and sarcasm going on in Illuminae. Between the snark of Kady and Ezra, of the cyclone riders in space, with their last words and AIDAN's poetic verse among the cosmos with the crumbling text. It is a masterpiece, crafted beautifully and bounded in my hands. Pure poetry on a cosmic scale. In space!!!

Some details that I found disruptive to the flow of the story. I disliked the poking fun of Ezra and Kady by secondary characters in the novel. Consistently in dialog it always began with poking fun at the two for talking to each other. And the use of "princess" is becoming more and more of a stereotypical cute or slandering nickname for the female character. Astro-princess was a different throw at the usual poke, but still irked me as a nickname for Kady. She was too badass for that sort of tack-on. Also, the out of nowhere the idea about Kady's mother is outlandish. One ambiguous detail does not a great plot point make. It seemed like a extremely far leap to make, and I didn't really understand for its purpose in the novel. But the deception and betrayal and heatbreaking that I went thought. Asking the novel: "please, say it ain't so?" and I just kept holding on tight for everything to be okay and it was and it wasn't. For the love of Odin, I was a mess reading this beautiful knife-to-my-heart novel.

I've been looking for more novels that take on the aesthetic of technology. Having novels written as text messages, IMs, tweets, Facebook posts, emails--as we are culturally invested in the technology around us, it is a fun and innovative new way of reading when our stories incorporate the medium of technology in them. Illuminae is a technologically advanced, futuristic novel, it's medium of emails, surveillance recordings, AIs, and instant messaging is a necessity to keep the reality of the world alive in the novel and in the mind of the reader. I am looking forward to seeing more books take leaps like Illuminae with the medium of technology in the story. Give me more, authors. And here is to book 2, your sweet, beautiful book that I want in my hands this instant.

Hackers and war and AI love. 5 targets ALL THE TARGETS