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



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

Illuminae has a massive overload of reviews, so my input won’t be something that someone hasn’t already stated, but I read it so why not review it.

  • Format – The format of Illuminae while ambitious and entertaining, didn’t leave a considerable amount of potential to build an attachment to the characters or storyline. Since the entire novel is broken up into IM’s, articles, transcribed audio and video footage, data records, and recorded codes and information from A.I.D.A.N. While the storyline wasn’t difficult to follow, it just felt weird at times.
  • Characters – This can be reflected back to the format. Because of the way Illuminae is formatted it’s hard to be connected to the characters. Kady and Ezra were funny and their love was fun and heartfelt, but I just wasn’t invested in them.


Even when we were led to believe that Ezra was dead, I couldn’t muster enough feeling to care like I should’ve. When Manchee died in The Knife of Never Letting Go, I actually cried (and I don’t cry easily).  While every novel won’t engender that response, I should’ve felt sad about Ezra, but I was like, “Oh shit, that’s crazy” and moved on.  The best character in this book was AIDAN. He’s an AI that has a God-Complex, yet is very caring while attempting to navigate and understand human emotions. He’s extremely complex and is likable in a tortured, serial killer kinda way. Another problem I encountered with the characters was that everyone seemed too similar. Ezra reminded me of James, and James of Dorian, and so on.  The characters began to blend and nothing stood out about them as individuals.

  • Length – 599 pages. So, there’s bout 20 or so pages worth of semi-empty space, however, it’s still a long book. I don’t mind books that are hefty, but it needs to be understandably long, not rambling and unnecessary, which is what this book contained. This novel could have been done just as great with around 350 pages. Almost 600 pages just seemed excessive.
  • Science Fiction – Very few YA novels are pure science fiction –  Illuminae can now be added to the list of the few. It has a very Killjoys kinda vibe and great scientific-type information, setting, and storyline, without it being too outrageous.
  • Format – The format was so original and ambitious that it’s hard not to like it. It reads how a real data file dump would which is very cool, plus we get extremely creative black pages and curved text. It’s fun.
  • REAL Bad Guys of BeiTech – book 2


Overall, it was a fun book that featured great science fiction, computer hacking and funny characters. Give it a try and see if you enjoy it, tell me what you think!


5 thoughts on “Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Review

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