Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

My Rating:★★★★★ 5/5
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
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. (Goodreads).

“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”
A large dossier of hacked files from an event where a planet gets destroyed. It follows the story and relationship of two teens. The fleet’s AI goes crazy and blows up a ship because of a lethal virus, many people die, and they eventually escape from a warship called Lincoln.

The setting shifts from the icy planet Kerenza to the fleet. After that, even though there are slight changes from ship to ship the setting stays pretty constant throughout the book. But the setting immerses the reader in open space, following the tragedies that happen between the fleet of ships. First, we meet the main characters on the planet where they live… Kerenza. Kerenza is an icy and illegal mining planet where it was illegally colonized. They actually operate the mine under detection for over twenty years, until their planet is attacked by a rival mining company called BeiTech. Only a small percentage of the people from Kerenza live and are taken in by a government fleet. We meet our main characters when they describe the attack as it happens. Kady Grant uses her truck to make a break for it, but ends up running into her ex-boyfriend Ezra Mason. They both miraculously escape the planet and onto two separate ships; the Hypatia and the Alexander. This is the point where the setting contributes deeply to the whole story. Most of the story is told through conversations between mostly Kady and Ezra, but also other personnel in the fleet. We watch the whole story unravel as characters talk to one another through the their “comms”. Surveillance videos are described in full detail throughout the book, as well as recordings and information coming from the AI (AIDAN’s) core. Some surveillance videos describe virus afflicted people running through the corridors of abandoned ships because of a lethal pathogen released by BeiTech. Many people die on the fleet. Overall, the settings of the book contribute to the meaning of the text by telling the story in different perspectives, in turn making the reader feel different emotions, especially sending shivers down the reader’s spine when once normal people slowly and gruesomely go crazy.

The whole book is basically a giant conflict between BeiTech and the remaining survivors of the Kerenza attack. Kerenza is stunted and wounded at the beginning by BeiTech, another big mining company that mines the same thing as the Kerenza mine. This of course isn’t a coincidence, and BieTech’s warship Lincoln follows behind the escaped refugees of the Alexander fleet. To make matters, another problem arises. The fleet’s AI system goes crazy and destroys a ship infected with a lethal pathogen, the Copernicus. Then it all goes down from there. Dealing with a psycho AI and a lethal pathogen afflicted ship, things only get worse. The fleet barely escapes from the Lincoln and eventually Kady helps the AI destroy the Lincoln at the end and only one ship remains. The conflict between BeiTech and Kerenza is what propels the story forward, leaving my heart beating through my chest.

This is absolutely a must read for those who haven’t read it yet. I devoured the book, and savoured every word and description. Not to mention, the book is told in a unique way… through a dossier of hacked files. It combines wonderful sci-fi magic, with a spine-tingling sensation. You just can’t help but stepping into the character’s heads, and dancing in their hearts. This will definitely be enjoyed by many for years to come.