This book was on my radar for awhile before I actually picked it. Opening a book to find it full of IM text was a turn-off for my interest, but a coworker convinced me I should read it. I’m glad I did. What an amazing book!
Illuminae compiles IM chats, video surveillance, computer coding, interviews and more to tell the aftermath of an attack on a secret mining installation from a rival megacorporation. Though a romance between Kady and Ezra is at the center of it, the book finds the time to hit every hit Hollywood genre ever known, without becoming cliched or annoying. Illuminae has population-threatening plague, attacks from a broken AI system, zombies (kind of), epic space battles and more.
Kady and Ezra begin at an interesting spot. As the book begins, they are no longer a couple. Though it’s predictable that Kady and Ezra would mend their relationship, it’s not predictable how. With the exception of one interaction, the pair never see each other in this book. They talk about each other and IM each other, but spend the entire book on two separate ships. Somehow the unique style of this book does a better job of bring them together than most books would do in a story where the two leads spend all their time together post-tragedy. Altogether, it’s one of the best romances I’ve read in any YA book ever. Hopefully the sequel continues this. (I’ll be reading & reviewing it soon!)
Having this relationship at the forefront was good from grounding the craziness of the rest of the book in reality. Though the compilations goal is to shed light on the crimes of the corporation BeiTech, it aftermath of the attack doesn’t involve BeiTech much at all. Sure, the plague is direct damage from the attack and the BeiTech ship Lincoln is in pursuit most of the book, but most of the book is about AIDAN.
AIDAN, by the way, is a bonkers AI system gone rogue that comes from the nightmares of anyone wary of AIs after watching a futuristic movie. And the plague that provokes AIDAN’s rogue status is bonkers too. The book begins with secrets. At first the files don’t reveal these occurrences. The plague is a secret, and AIDAN is shutdown without reason.
Watching everything get slowly revealed is pretty amazing. More than once I found myself reading this book with wide eyes and gaping mouth. The best books are engaging and tense, and Illuminae is certainly a book with those characteristics. Perhaps the only complaint, if any, is about a shocking scene at the end I can’t discuss because it’s too much of a *spoiler*. If you’ve read this book, feel free to guess what I am referring to in the comments!
I can’t finish such a great book and not move to the sequel, so stay tuned for my review of Gemina. The review will come sometime in September.