Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae tells us the story of Kady and  Ezra, two teenagers who had to flee their planet because two mega-corporations are at war with each other. They broke up just a few hours before the attack and Kady does not want to talk to Ezra. But as it becomes clear that there are more problems than the enemy ship that is on their heels, and that a deadly illness has broken out on one of their ships, Kady hacks the computer systems to find the truth, and has to realise that she needs Ezra’s help.


This was interesting from beginning to end. The story was intriguing, and while zombie stories aren’t my favourite, it’s true that a lot of things  become better if they’re set in space.

I loved that Kaufman and Kristoff chose to tell the story through chat logs, emails and documents. It leaves a lot open to interpretation, while being able to show some things way more easily than in a text. I for one find I way more easy to imagine a space ship based on a drawing than based on a description, so it was great to have those.

Kady and Ezra make for two interesting main characters, and I liked seeing their interactions. But the most interesting character for me was  AIDAN, the AI of one of the ships in the fleet. Stepping away from human perception into that of a computer is an interesting choice, and as questionable as AIDAN’s sanity is at times, they were probably my favourite character in the novel, and I loved the parts of the story that were told by them.

Initially I picked this book up as a side-read so I wouldn’t have to carry my much larger copy of Crooked Kingdom around, but I was hooked after a few pages and just had to finish this before I could continue anything else. The story is thrilling from the first page and the pages just seem to fly.

Personally I felt like it could have used a little more explicit diversity. There was some, but I’ve been kind of fed up with fiction with low levels of diversity lately, and I feel like Illuminae could have done better than it did.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 Stars)

Additional Information

Publication Date: 22 October 2015
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Page Count: 599
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
ISBN:  9781780748375


7 thoughts on “Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

  1. Great review! I loved reading Illuminae, AIDAN was my favorite character. Because of the different format, I did have some trouble getting into it. But once I was into it, I couldn’t put it down anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so intruiged by this book, I think I’ll read it this year! I heard the audio version is really good so I think I might try listening to the audio and reading at the same time.


      1. Thank you! They just arrived (both Illuminae and Gemina) and they look so gorgeous!! Kinda make me want to drop all my current reads and dive right in – but I know you wouldn’t approve, since I’m finally reading Percy Jackson:)


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