Publication: October 20, 2015, by Knopf Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
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.
If you've never seen a physical copy of this out in the atmosphere yet, then I pardon you and excuse you if you'd like to leave and bawl. I have pity for you, do not worry. I feel like crying and dying if you haven't read this book by now, but you're only a month away, actually. Illuminae is a science-fiction novel based in a total space setting that's written by the most extraordinary authors of dystopia ever: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and they just mastered their genre. You'll love this book, period.
After seeing hundreds (I'm being legit here) copies of this at BEA this past year, I ran like there was no tomorrow. From the moment when I heard about this book, I knew that it's something that I would enjoy, and not only for the reason that it has a beautiful cover, that it's a freaking HARDCOVER ARC, but also for the reason of its summary and format. There are so many things that captivated me, and I must admit that I had total ARC jealousy before I got my own copy, and I needed this book in my life to make it complete. So you're probably wondering why I'm just stating "and" over and over again but never getting to the now, the present-day opinion of mine. It's quite the same as I expected, actually.
By the way, this is 608 crazy-ass pages long. But do keep in mind that it's written in the best possible way and I can imagine the loads and loads of research needed to make it the way it is: perfect. So why would Kaufman and Kristoff spend so much more time breaking Ezra and Kady's story into more books when they can just start it off with 608 pages? There's no problem: I like big books and I cannot lie. IT'S SUCH AN INTELLIGENT READ WITH THE PERFECT FORMATTING AND QUOTES AND EVERYTHING. When you read the first page, your heart will surely jitter and pitter patter like it usually does times a million. I was in total shock when realizing how awesome it is.
Did I mention that I'd even stop reading at some points when life stopped me and threw me back into reality? Yeah. When I'd stop, I'd just stare and awe over the cover for the millionth time. I'd pick the jacket up and push it up and down, looking at how the words fit into the clear sections. I never have been so fascinated in my life until this came around. Thanks a million to Penguin Random House for ruining my life, I cannot go on anymore without needing it with me. Did I also mention that it's the ultimate guide to science-fiction? Like, Ezra and Kady will teach you how to be hackers and how to save your tribe of people. And how to fall in love while you're not physically with each other. And how to be kick-ass, for starters.
"ByteMe: I don't know how you can say that, but I don't care. I just want it to be true. you're all I have, but it will be okay if I still have you. Mason, E, LT 2nd: you have me until the last star in the galaxy dies you have me" (ARC, page 232)
It's actually fucking horrible to quote the dialogue that Kaufman and Kristoff introduce to readers. BUT I'VE GOT TO SHARE EZADY. (That's a bad ship name.) At the same time, their relationship is terrible too, especially at the start of the book. So Kady breaks up with Ezra, her boyfriend, and at the same day, they're attacked and everyone has to be evacuated. They end up being on different spaceships, and then things get even worse as a deadly plague begins to spread and more deaths occur. This continues with our kick-ass protagonists who help out with the situation by hacking and using their intelligence to discover the truth onto what all of the secret organizations are hiding from the public. (And, they'll work on their personal love relationship as well).
"First, survive. Then tell the truth," is the uttermost best motto that dystopian novels these days prove. Kaufman and Kristoff added SO much action that it actually had to definitely do with everything else in the characters' lives. Including, romance, by the way. A science-fiction FINALLY involves characters who don't have to be present in each other's lives! Long-distance stuff does work, everyone! You can't imagine how many times I clenched my fists, ready to punch fate because it completely looked like it was destroying everything that Ezra and Kady once had together. And although this takes place many centuries from now and we're not sure what the planet or life will even be by then, the same concept rules throughout any century, era, millennium, time period, whatever it is. The power of love and destiny is so beautiful that it makes my eyes tear.
"Ninety-three billion light years of fucking nothing. No up. No down. No sky. No ground. Just you and your entire species stacked end to end. You want to feel small? Spend sixty seconds in a Cyclone's cockpit, chum. Look out at the nothing and feel it looking back. Then you know exactly how much you add up to." (ARC, page 43)
The setting is in space, and there's so much space between the characters as well. Again, Kaufman and Kristoff know what the hell they're doing. The calculations, the information that pertains to the Cyclone and the dimensions... everything must make sense. Although I am no genius and I cannot comprehend those calculations, it's just not random. This has to do with everything that the book is made up of. The plot? It certainly is an equation, and everything is meant to be. We are not having some weird situation where everything doesn't make sense and it all plays out to be not meant to be, you know? Things were a little slow but it obviously came to impress me by the end as the suspense made me WANT THE SEQUEL EVEN MORE ALTHOUGH THIS FIRST ONE DOESN'T EVEN COME OUT UNTIL ONE MORE MONTH. Sigh, sigh, sighing is all I can do right now.
Illuminae doesn't fail to impress. Readers will feel trapped in a world that they just seem to know and understand right from the first page, and it's definitely something that I'll be dreaming about for the next couple of days as I remind myself of the plot that stole my heart in June 2015, or even in early 2015 when discovering that Kaufman and Kristoff will be teaming together to kick ass in YA literature. Brace yourself for perfection throughout, although this is a read needing of time despite the quickness of action and only written in documents formatting. Let's hop on the evacuation spaceship, the Copernicus per se!
*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so so much!*