Snapshot: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Hardcover, 599 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

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.

Why You Might Like It

  1. The narrative spans different kinds of media. There are instant messages, documents, reports, an AI talking to itself (thinking?), pictures and other various things that I have forgotten.
  2. Rather than chaotic, the story gains some structure and speed in the medium and unconventional way it tells the story.
  3. I liked that the story is told in third person because another book similar in structure I read had a LOT of “I”‘s sprinkled through the narratives and I did not like it at all.
  4. Also, I liked how ballsy the female protagonist is. Gender construction is done in interesting ways and there is a lot of diversity that did not trip any of my triggers. The world felt organic and real.
  5. I think Stephie would really enjoy this one.
  6. This would also make a cool movie. No really, it would. It’s probably going to be a movie? I don’t know.
  7. If I were still thinking about writing academically, I would consider this book as a precursor of the way fiction is going to evolve to maintain the changing appetites of its readers. The book is smartly written and while older people are going to (maybe) scoff at its unorthodox structure, I feel that the book is going to a lot of teens because of it.
  8. There are 599 pages but it is a very accessible read. It took me maybe three hours to read but I read insanely fast.
  9. The romance is really cute too.
  10. Consider this my official seal of approval in case you were waiting for it.
  11. (Also, I really want Aidan (the AI in this book) and Talis (the AI in The Scorpion Rules) to meet for tea and stuff.)

7 responses to “Snapshot: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. AIDAN and Talis! Now there’s a great “who would win” scenario! (But, okay, they could have tea, too. Complain about all those annoying humans with their silly emotions getting in the way of The Greater Good.)

    • Ha! Compare notes on how to, most efficiently, blow up cities? Have deep discussions on humans? Though I think Talis would much rather talk about movies. He’s fascinating.

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