Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted June 24, 2022 by Lillian in Reviews / 2 Comments

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Narrator: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain, Kimberly Farr, Donnabella Mortel, Matthew Frow, Ryan Gesell, Sile Bermingham, Beata Pozniak, Jolene Kim, Emma Bering
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, Listening Library on 2015-10-20
Length: 599 pages
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, Hardcover from Library, My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022

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 a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

To say that I am enamored with this author duo is an understatement. I have yet to read anything by them I didn’t enjoy (both their solo works and the works they do together). I firmly believe that what they touch turns to gold. Illuminae has been sitting on my bookshelf for YEARS so I was super excited to have the push I needed to finally read it when it was voted for our #COYER YA book club pick this month. If you are an audiobook reader, I highly recommend you listen and if you are able to have a copy on hand to see all the amazing details inside the book even better. Every book is a new adventure, but this book….y’all, this book is an experience, fully immersive, highly entertaining, and one hell of a ride. Told through a series of interviews, dossiers, security footage, emails, etc, Illuminae documents the attack of the Kerenza colony and the survivors’ race to escape.

Kady Grant is my hero. She is a hacker girl to her core, understanding technology in a way that I only wish I could. This is a girl who’s life shattered the day BeiTech attacked her colony, and the funny thing is her life was already imploding as she broke up with her boyfriend just that morning. It’s clear from our first glimpse of her this is a girl who is barely holding it together, zero hope, but then a proposition from a fellow tech genius on board, and Kady finds herself with a job uncovering what is happening in the fleet and preparing for what is coming.

Ezra Mason is a boy who becomes a man overnight. Dumped by his girlfriend, nearly dying during his escape from the colony, separated from the only family he has, and then conscripted as a fighter pilot on the only United Terran ship, his life is nothing like he had planned. My heart broke for him. He’s so lost and barely hanging on when Kady finally reenters his life. She gives him hope that he didn’t have anymore. The two become fast friends again, communicating across ships and trying to figure out what is going on in the fleet and how long before the Lincoln, the BeiTech ship that is after them.

Ezra is on the Alexander, a United Terran Navy ship who answered the colony’s SOS when BeiTech attacked. It sustained heavy damage and the onboard AI, AIDAN, has been glitching ever since. After AIDAN orders Ezra’s team to destroy the Copernicus, a science vessel with 2000+ civilians on board, and then nukes them, the fleet scrambles to find out if AIDAN can be fixed. I loved AIDAN. He is one of those characters that you really aren’t sure if you should like, but I did. This malfunction AI quickly became a major plot point and one that I could not get enough of.

Overall, I loved Illuminae, devouring it in less than two days. Exciting, breath-taking, heart-stopping, and heart-breaking don’t begin to touch all the emotions this book will make the reader feel. I loved Ezra and Kady, even AIDAN. My heart was broken for their fight for survival, the hopelessness and desperation that dogged Kady’s movements and the hope that she gave Ezra. If you are a fan of sci-fi, if you enjoy exciting and innovative ways to tell a story, I highly recommend this one be on the top of your list.

About Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is the New York Times and internationally bestselling co-author of The Illuminae Files (Illuminae, Gemina) and the Starbound Trilogy (These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light.) Her award-winning books are published in almost 30 countries, and she is based in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library. To learn about her latest releases or be notified about events and signings in your area, you can sign up for her newsletter at

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of LIFEL1K3, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE and THE ILLUMINAE FILES. He is the winner of five Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6'7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live.

He does not believe in happy endings.

COYER Book Club

Illuminae was voted as our June #COYER young adult book club read. We will be discussing it in the group this Sunday, June 26th at 4pm EDT. Join us in the group if you’d like to discuss! Our next book club will be Fantasy.

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