Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book is a monster – darker, deeper, and bigger than I originally estimated. I had seen the pictures of the book, and I was all like, okay, that looks fine. Maybe 300, 400 pages? That should be easy! I breezed through And the Trees Crept In – this should be great!
What I wasn’t prepared was for the craziness of this story. Unlike And the Trees Crept In , there was no prose in Illuminae, and yet it was somehow even crazier a ride.
Illuminae is a collection of mission reports, chats, diary entries, pictures, data entries, and more of the few month period of the destruction of the planet that Kady Grant and Ezra Mason escaped from and the nerve-wracking trip that tries to take them to a safe place for them to fully escape from. Kady and Ezra just so happened to break up on the last day of their planet ever existing, so they, of course, have some awkwardness going on between them. However, they start to team up again once Kady realizes that the higher ups aren’t telling them everything they should and one wrong move…and Ezra and Kady might just end up dead.
Okay, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Like, I expected to enjoy it and all, but I did not actually expect to eagerly be flipping through the pages, full on invested in a book that literally was just a bunch of chats and mission reports. Is this the future of books? I really hope not since I absolutely love prose, but this was such a cool format to read and dive into. The authors of this book must have spent forever on this idea and creation of this book, and I applaud their creativity. Seriously, I will for sure be picking up books from them in the future.
Also, there was no way I ever thought that I would have a ship in this book – well, no ships from then actual spaceships. Like, how can you have the feels over two people that we never even get to really dive into characterization and just get in little text lines every once in a while. However, Ezra and Kady’s ship came out of nowhere, and I just wanted to scream at them, COME ON. GET YOUR SHIP TOGETHER AND JUST SAIL. They were so cute together, and their banter was so witty.
The characterization was also wonderful. Again, how can you get attached to characters you only learn about through mission reports and like, five diary entries? However, I was attached to a good deal of these characters – even Aidan who, I mean, who super morally questionable and I kind of hated him but also liked him? Anyway, I loved all the characters, and the characterization was amazingly detailed.
There were really only two main issues that I had with the book. The first one was that it was super confusing when I first started reading. Like, I got there was a planet and it was attacked and then…I got really confused. There was a bunch of names that didn’t have a lot of meaning to me, and I kept getting lost. After a while, I figured it out on my own, but I could see where some people might have just given up because it might have been too difficult to get into right away and jump into the story. I wish they would have done a bit more explaining.
The second issue that I had was that I did feel some sort of disconnect with it overall. Like, I do like it, but I don’t think it will ever be a favorite. While I liked the new format, my favorite kind of story has been and always will be that in prose. Again, it’s a cool and good book – I just felt sort of disconnected overall.
I was debating about the rating for a while, and I think I’m going with a solid 4.5 crowns (rounded up to five) and a Princess Anna rating – it is fitting since it’s finally winter for a good deal of the world! And I mean…Jay’s last name is Kristoff…so it’s super fitting.
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What are your thoughts? Have you read this book yet? What do you think about cool formats vs. a good old regular story?