Am I Not Merciful? - Illuminae (ARC Review)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Randomhouse

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“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.”

RELATED : [Amie Kaufman: These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) | This Shattered World (These Broken Stars #2) | Their Fractured Light (These Broken Stars #3)] | [Jay Kristoff: Nevernight]

My Review

While I have never read a book by Jay Kristoff before, I loved the These Broken Stars series that Amie Kaufman was a coauthor of. The first time I saw her mention Illuminae on twitter, I knew it was going to be epic.

Illuminae was not your typical book. Sure it had words and was on paper, but it was more of a hodge-podge collection of miscellaneous papers. (With some really wonderful graphic art thrown in.) Which honestly sounds questionable, but was actually really, really well done. 

We were learning about these events involving Kerenza, the Alexander, and the Hypatia sometime after they've occurred. The information was brought to us by official reports, interviews, diary entries, messages, and analysis of video records just to name a few. The whole set up reminded me of a mystery or maybe an archaeologist's dig site. We know something happened, only we needed to scour various sources to gather all the details needed to pierce the story together. Thankfully, this mysterious Illuminae group had already done the work for us.

At its heart, Illuminae followed two recently broken up teenagers as their world was suddenly bombed. 

I really loved Kady and Ezra. They really complemented each other well. I needed to know why they broke up because their chemistry was off the charts.

Kady was this young hacker girl who wanted to get off the off-the-grid illegal mining planet she called home. She was smart and resourceful, but she was also sarcastic and a rule breaker when it suited her. Meanwhile, Ezra was athletic and I think he was rather well suited to the role he ended up in. He also had that same vein of snark that Kady had and I loved it. The two of them were fiercely loyal and they both had their scars you couldn't help but want to fix.

Story wise, Illuminae was epic and emotional. The book started off by killing a large number of people when Kerenza was attacked by several BeiTEch dreadnaught ships. Once the three ships -the Alexander, the Hypatia, and the Copernicus- fled the planet's orbit, the stakes only continued to rise. The saying "you are your own worst enemy" was never truer. Even without the enemy's pursuit, there were a lot of dangers lurking within the walls of the three ships.  

Words To Live By

"I'm sorry I didn't write you back. I should have. I mean, when you say "I'm never going to speak to you again," you don't think your planet's going to be invaded that afternoon. It was more, you know, an opening position on negotiations. I was angry." (Kady, ARC pg67)

"you have me
until the last star in the galaxy dies
you have me" (Ezra, ARC pg 232)

"Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death." (Aidan, ARC pg 433)


Illuminae is definitely a must read book. I really cannot stress how fantastic it was. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. There was a couple you just needed to root for. But most of all it was a great story, with lots of layers, and the book left you feeling as if you lived through the order right alongside them.


  1. Ezra and Kady are my OTP. I ship them FOREVER.

    This book was FABULOUS. When you get me to like the villain, I'm a fan!

    1. When the book first started, I wasn't sure I was going to like them as a couple. I was afraid it would be like a rebound thing but the only option was each other. But they grow on you.

      I love books that I end up loving the villain. (Even if I end up hating them at the same time because they are the villain.) So wonderfully written.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. YES!!! I was not entirely sure the format was gonna work for me, but it was simply perfect!! I love this book with the force of a exploding supernova or two!!

    1. I know the format won't work for everyone. (Sadly my mom is one of those. She put it down because she wanted a more traditionally written story.) But for those who don't mind and get sucked into the story, they are going to love it.

      Only two supernovas? XD

      Thank you for stopping by.


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