“So here’s the book that almost killed me, Director.”
Wow. That’s all I could say for the next ten minutes after I read this book. There’s nothing in this book that I can complain about. Absolutely nothing. Okay, you see the panda, so you know what that means…it’s time for a Fangirl Favorites Friday! First of all, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that this book has one of the best first lines ever. It just grabs your attention because now you want to know how this Illuminae person was almost killed and why. Also, how cool is this cover?
This morning, Kady thought that her break up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. A few hours later, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival corporations are fighting over a ice-covered planet that’s at the edge of the universe. Unfortunately, nobody warned that speck’s occupants. With enemy fire raining down, Kady and Ezra, who aren’t even really talking to each other, just manage to fight their way onto an evacuation fleet, with an enemy warship in pursuit. But that’s just the beginning. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, the fleet’s AI might actually be thier enemy, and none of the authorities will say what’s actually going on. As Kady hacks her way through the tangled web of lies, she realizes that only Ezra can help bring it all to light. Illuminae is told through a mixture of hacked documents, including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more, and it is the first in a thrilling trilogy about daily lives interrupted, the cost of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Let’s start with our main couple. Ezra and Kady have just broken up the day before this book starts. Right off the bat, from their interviews, I could tell that I was going to love both them and this book itself. They were both just so sarcastic and snarky, but underneath all that, you could tell how much they cared about each other. Ezra was a little bit more cautious and rule-abiding, but when it was necessary, he did what needed to be done. He stuck up for what he believed in, especially in the beginning, but as the story progressed, it was interesting to see him struggle with what decision to make when the stakes were much more dangerous. Kady, on the other hand had no such qualms about following the rules. Like Ezra, she still has a lot of anger in her, but she displays it a lot more openly. She is wonderfully defiant, willing to question the authorities and get the real information, even if it means hacking her way through. Besides, how great is the hacker name “ByteMe?’ I feel like this completely encapsulates Kady’s personality. Because of these two, all the exchanges in this book are filled with just the right mixture of levity and gravity. The sarcasm levels in this book are just sky high, but there are also very real discussions about grief and coping. This is in large part due to the nature of the plot. There are so many twists and turns, right down to the very last page. You never know what is coming, and just when you think you have everything figured out, some other disaster happens. The AI was quite snarky in its own way, and a very interesting catalyst. The plague’s symptoms and just everything about in general gave me the chills. Also, not only is the plot unexpected and quite frankly heart-stopping in quite a few places, but you never know what kind of format the next few pages will be like. There are interviews, propaganda pieces, surveillance reports, and even a Wikipedia-ish type article.
If you haven’t read this book yet, then what are you waiting for? Get thee to a copy of Illuminae right now! The second book, Gemina, just came out on Tuesday, and I literally just finished reading it. All I can say is wow. Again.