Thursday, 22 October 2015

ARC Review - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

How do I review a book that weighs in at 600 pages and tells such a fantastic story in such an innovative, unique way? This is a question I've asked so many times over the past few weeks. I usually try to keep some semblance of coherency in my reviews with regards to actually 'reviewing' the book; its plot, characters, etc. With Illuminae I'm afraid the review is mostly going to be semi-coherent rambling about how amazing this book is and that you should buy it.

Many thanks to Oneworld/Rock the Boat for the fabulous proof copy!


The year is 2575 and two mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice covered speck.  Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it.  With enemy fire raining down on them Ezra and Kady have to make their escape on the evacuating fleet.  But their troubles are just beginning.  A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships and it is mutating with terrifying results.  Their ships protection is seriously flawed.   No one will say what is going on. 
As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth its clear only one person can help her. Ezra. And the only problem with that is they split up before all this trouble started and she isn’t supposed to be talking to him.
A fantastically original, heart-stopping adventure where everything is definitely more dangerous than it seems.


I absolutely loved Kady and Ezra. Kaufman and Kristoff somehow managed to create two characters that are inherently loveable despite the fact that their story is told completely through text/IM conversation, documentation, and third party commentary. In fact what I loved the most about Illuminae was the way the authors managed to spin a story of war, deceit and love (A strange but fabulous combination) in a way I've never seen done before. When I first heard about the book I was all 'Oh my goodness I need it!' but upon starting was worried the story might end up lost in the aesthetics.

As it stands, I had no need to be worried at all. The story is flawless - perfect in every way - and the aesthetics only enhance it. The detail in the documents, from hundreds of faces acting as a casualty list to fake blood spatters, make the book so visually compelling that it's like you're reading an actual army dossier. Or watching a film. Maybe both. It's stunning. Poetic and tense, gripping and moving, all in one. I simply cannot fault Illuminae in any way. The plot is impossible to predict, the characters sharp yet sensitive, and the pages themselves are works of art.

When you buy Illuminae you're not just buying a novel. You're buying 600 pages of pure adrenaline and excitement. Simply put, you're buying an adventure. In space.

Oh, did I forget to mention that its in space? Yes. Interstellar ships, complete with deck plans, and a mutagenic zombie-esque virus are just two of the things you'll find in this fabulous new release. I'd tell you more but... spoilers.

So go forth and conquer the bookshops in search of this orange gold! Future-you will thank present-you, I'm sure. It's a definite 5 star read, and I'd give it much more if I could.

Illuminae was released in the UK today (October 22nd 2015) by Oneworld Publications/Rock the Boat.

Thanks for reading!

Holly @TheArtsShelf

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