Book Review // Illuminae


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. 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. (Goodreads

First things first, there is a LOT OF HYPE about this book, which is why I didn’t read it in 2015. Or 2016.

EVERYONE seems to love this book. EVERYONE. I haven’t seen a Goodreads review of it under 4.5 stars. It has 5 book awards. But. I didn’t think it was that amazing? Yes, it was good. Yes, I liked the formatting. Yes, I 100% want to read Gemina. Yes, the plot twists were good. And yes, AIDAN is amazing and my favorite evil computer program yet. But it fell short of amazing.


I think I would have liked it more if the book had started off differently. Because did we really have to start off with two teenagers who just broke up? The first 50ish pages basically talked about their luuurrve for each other and how much they felt sorry about breaking up etcetera etcetera.

Also, did we really have to have the Teenage Girl Is The Only One Who Can Save The World trope? Because don’t get me wrong, power to the 5’2″ 17-year-old female (aka me) who also happens to be a hacker, but we got this trope in The Hunger Games and Divergent and, yes, Illuminae did swap out “brave” for “nerdy,” but… really?

I just didn’t connect to any of them. Kady felt like a trope slapped on the page so there was a female main character. Ezra had a little more character to him… but the character I actually connected most with was James McNulty, who was just Ezra’s friend but ends up being a big motif throughout the book. I just got more of a sense of who he was, and it didn’t seem like he was just there to satisfy 1/2 of the teen romance and shoot his mouth off at people.

Also? The romance. I KNOW. I KNOW. Everyone loves the romance in this book, because they only kiss once. But I didn’t get the sense that there was romance. Or that they were even in love. Because… I don’t think they were. What I saw was maybe two teenagers who were in a YA novel and texted each other a lot.

But I did love AIDAN. A little too much, perhaps, for Artificial Intelligence.


This is simultaneously this book’s biggest problem and its biggest strength. The way this story is told is one of its biggest selling points. But I also think that if the book was told in real story format, it wouldn’t be half as popular, which is a little bit problematic. Half the “dossiers” in the book were actually just unspectacular narrations. Even when they were written subjectively by separate individuals, they all sounded the same.

I felt like this would have made a really good movie. I understand that in the age of the increasing popularity of digital media, some authors are trying to adapt books to sound more like films. But if I were trying to watch a movie, I’d watch a movie.

But I mean, it was still really cool. The formatting.

Did I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it? No. Am I going to read Gemina? Of course. As soon as I find out what I’m doing with my books once I go to college.


5 responses to “Book Review // Illuminae

  1. This book has been on my TBR for aaaages! I’m almost afraid to read it now, though, because what if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? I definitely agree that there are some books that are SO like a movie that they… should have just been made into a movie in the first place. So yeah.

    Nice review! 😀

    • EXACTLY. But yeah, it had so many cool graphics and so much action that I thought the storyline would’ve just been better suited for a film where we could’ve had all of these super cool visual effects!

  2. Pingback: Book Review // These Broken Stars | Books and Bark·

  3. Pingback: Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Life Stained Pages·

  4. Pingback: 2017. | Books and Bark·

Tell me your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s