Are you ready for another day of all things Wicked? I have an absolutely fantastic and amazing book for you all today. Loved this one! But before we get to that, I want to share the other stops today:
Today, I am thrilled to be participating in the Illuminae Blog Tour I was already a huge fan of Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman before reading Illuminae, but now I am a mega fan. These two are absolutely brilliant together. If you want to take on an original, imaginative, exciting, edge of your seat type read delivered in an unconventional format, Illuminae is a must read. I loved this one. Absolutely bloody brilliant! You may be wondering why I featured this as part of Wicked? Well let me tell you, for all of you who want creepy, imagine being isolated in space, light years from help with a warship bent on destroying you hot on your tail. Then a biological warfare virus is unleashed, infecting people on board your ship, turning them into paranoid, murderous freaks, and to make it even worse, the Artificial Intelligence is acting up, possibly murdering people as well. Are you scared yet? If not, you should be! Alright, I am done rambling, so let's meet the authors:
JAY KRISTOFF grew up in the most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an arts degree, he has no education to speak of. He is six feet seven inches and has approximately 13,520 days to live. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and the world’s laziest Jack Russell Terrier. He is the author of the Lotus War Trilogy and the co author of Illuminae with author Amie Kaufman. He does not believe in happy endings. You can stalk Jay on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and the Illuminae Files.
(Photo credit: Christopher Tovo
Amie Kaufman is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her work has been published in fifteen countries, won the Aurealis Award for Best YA Novel, been named the Huffington Post’s best YA novel of the year, shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award and is in development for TV. Her first series, co-authored with Meagan Spooner, began with These Broken Stars, and her new series, co-authored with Jay Kristoff, will start this October with Illuminae. Raised in Australia and Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library. Visit Amie on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and at the Illuminae Files.
Here is my review:
Illuminae(The Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
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.
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Five Stars: A creative, unconventional, exciting, edge of your seat read in space with danger at every turn!
Kady's day just got a whole lot worse. She thought breaking up with the her boyfriend, Ezra, would be the worst part of her day, but she was wrong! Without warning, the tiny planet Kady and Ezra habitat is attacked by a rival corporation. Kady and Ezra barely manage to escape. Kady is now on a small science vessel, the Hypatia, while Ezra resides on the large warship, Alexander. The survivors have a long, difficult road ahead. They are currently being pursued by a large warship, intent on destroying and silencing the survivors. It is a year until they can reach safety, but there is no guarantee they can jump through the worm hole. A virus is sickening passengers on the third ship carrying survivors, and to make matters worse, the Artificial Intelligence, Aidan, on board the Alexander appears to be malfunctioning. Will Ezra and Kady live to be rescued and tell their tale?
What I Liked:
- Wow! This was such an astounding read. I knew going into this one that the bar was set high as I am such an avid fan of both authors, but no worries, their collective genius blew me away. Illuminae is unique, exciting and completely unconventional. This novel is a semi epistolary format as the story unfolds via interviews, briefs, emails, text messages, journals and other miscellaneous documents. I am always a fan of novels that utilize creative methods, and this one does indeed do that. You can either continue to read this babbling review, or stop here and just go read the bloody book!
- Ezra and Kady are the main characters of the story. Two teenagers going about their normal lives until disaster strikes. Now, Ezra is conscripted to be a fighter pilot, while young Kady is secretly tapped to become a hacker. I enjoyed both of these characters. Ezra was witty, heroic and fun, while Kady, a bit more serious was intelligent, capable and incredibly brave and even a bit reckless. What I loved about both of them is that they never quit, not even when the stakes where stacked completely against them.
- The romance is a side note, but it is still sweet and fun. I liked learning about Kady and Ezra's past together, why they broke up, and then I enjoyed seeing them slowly come together again as friends via texts and emails. I appreciated that the romance was subtle, and I liked that it wasn't a main focus. It was enough to satisfy the romance enthusiasts out there, but it never overtakes the story.
- As I mentioned, the format of the novel is a mash up of all kinds of documents. Even though it took a bit of time to adjust, I ended up loving the way everything was delivered. I know that this is totally different from most books out there, so just be patient, and let it unfold, you won't be disappointed.
- The world building is exceptional, as I knew it would be since I have read both authors previously. Kristoff and Kaufman excel at creative world building. Even though the majority of the story and the action takes place aboard two space ships, it was always interesting and exciting. The authors took the time to flesh out and detail the world by even going so far as to include photos of the ships. Exceptional world building!
- This is one of those reads that grabs you, hauls you in, and then once you are hooked, it starts hurling one danger after another at you. Imagine being aboard two smalls space ships, with a hair lead on an impending war ship. Help is a year away, and many of the survivors aren't trained as they are civilians. Supplies and all that are a concern, but even more pressing than escape is an outbreak of a biological warfare virus that causes extreme paranoia, and murderous behavior. Then add in an Artificial Intelligence that wants to take control and destroy. I promise, this book never lets up until the bloody end. You will want to set aside some time for this one. This is one creepy read that would make an excellent movie.
- Even though this book is a bit dark and scary, I loved that there is lots of humor and snark and emotion as well. There is plenty to make you smile and laugh and even a few romantic moments set against the chaos and destruction.
- The ending is fantastic. I was extremely anxious as I neared the end, knowing how Mr. Kristoff, with his sweet beard, feels about endings, but I ended up surprised. I think Ms. Kaufman must have won the coin toss. All the main threads are tied off, but there is an exciting morsel thrown out for the next book. I can't wait. No cliffhanger!
And The Not So Much:
- Even though I am partial to reading on my Kindle, this is a book that I would not recommend for the Kindle or Nook or any other small ereader. Due to the way the book is formatted, i.e. pictures, documents etc., this one is better to read on either on a tablet device or a physical copy. I read it on my ipad, and I was able to blow up and expand the photos and diagrams to see them, especially since some of the pictures are small and hard to see.
- As I discussed, the format is unique. It is a bit jarring and it does take some time to get your sea legs under you as you sort through all the various documents, it takes awhile to make sense of everything, but if you are patient and you go with it, everything starts to snap in place. Just hang in there and give it some time.
- Don't think for one minute that this is a YA book, it may be marketed as a YA book, but I assure you this book is smart, sophisticated and unlike anything you have read before. Do not pass this by thinking it is a silly YA book.
Without a doubt, Illuminae is one of the best books I have read all year. Kristoff and Kaufman are genius together, and I was completely blown away and amazed by this entertaining, exciting, unique and thrilling book. It is a unconventional and unlike anything you have read before. Once you are hooked, you won't be able to put it down. This is one I highly recommend you drop everything and read immediately, but I would not suggest reading it on a traditional ereader due to the format. Grab either a physical copy or read this on a tablet device.
Just get the book already!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
And now for the best part the giveaway! As part of the tour, I am able offer up a chance to win a copy of Illuminae to one lucky U.S. winner courtesy of the wonderful folks over at Random House Publishing. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't miss the other exciting books by both of these authors, I assure you, they are also fantastic.
See you back on Monday for another Wicked post, but don't worry if you need your fix, there will be posts tomorrow. Check in here for the stops or stay up to speed on all things Wicked by clicking on the button below.