Illuminae – Kaufman and Kristoff

This was recommended to me by one of my colleagues and I haven’t been able to thank her enough. I was unsure how I would react to the unusual format in which this book is presented, however I found it one of the most enjoyable and gripping reads this year. This is a thrilling sci-fi tale, and is one that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.


Illuminae tells the story of two rival mega-corporations at war over a planet. Innocent people are at risk, and are evacuated by one of the corporations. During the evacuation, most of the enemy ships are destroyed, however one manages to survive and begins to pursue the fleeing refugees. Among the passengers are Kady and Ezra, exes whom have sworn to never speak to each other again. However, once they are separated from their loved ones, they reach out to each other through the use of emails to communicate between two of the three fleeing ships. Together they work out that all is not as well as the command personnel want them to believe, and that they are still very much in danger. On top of the stress of the pursuing ship, Kady, through her computer hacking skills, works out that perhaps the Artificial Intelligence (AI) called AIDAN, may actually be their enemy too.


This was such a thrilling ride of a story! I was hooked from the very beginning. The way this story is told is not conventional. It is told through the use of emails, chat, reports, analysis of video footage, records from databases, and so much more. Being able to read the different types of text takes a little getting used to and I know that for some that this might prevent them from connecting with the characters. However, I don’t know whether it’s because I have grown up with technology as it has evolved or simply because I have been reading more graphic novels, but I found this way of telling the story to create even more suspense and interest. For me, the lack of chapters meant that I just had to keep reading.

In terms of the story line, there was a point where I could not see how this story could end happily and I was quite prepared for the worst. There were so many twists and turns that I was continually guessing and things got extremely hectic and just when you thought the characters were about to get a break then something else would happen and just WOW! As someone that reads a lot of books, I am fairly good at picking the plot twists, however with this I did not see anything coming and I think that’s why I loved it so much. I have not been this excited about a book since Harry Potter, and I absolutely cannot wait for the second to be released.

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