Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Book & Audiobook Review

Posted December 29, 2015 by Zeee in Reviews5 Comments


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Book & Audiobook ReviewIlluminae written by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover
Pages: 599
Narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Jonathan McClain
Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
ISBN: 0553499114
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Flame Rating: zero-flames
Find on Goodreads

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.

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Don’t want to read the whole review?  Click to jump to the Review At a Glance.

I have to really honest about this book, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and admit that it took me a while to finish reading it.  And as much as I loved it, and was blown away by it, I still had a hard time getting into the book.  In fact, this is the first book that I read in this format because I thought, hey, I wouldn’t be interested in reading a book in email or chat form.

What makes the book so unique?

Let’s start with the format.  The book is written in hacked format form – emails, surveillance incident reports, unique ASCII, chats, interviews, and just unique formatting all in all.  I mean, there’s also a page that is akin to our Wikipedia!  And a two pager with the images of the casualties of war (so sad).

Illuminae awesome format

So yes, it took a while for me to get into it, but I finally did when I obtained the audiobook format.

The audiobook, you said?

Yes, I immersion read this thang and it worked!  I loved that I could see the visuals and hear the outstanding narration (including the different accents) while experiencing the wonder that is Illuminae.  I’m highly recommending you to immersion read it, most especially if you are not used to this format.  Again, the audiobook is freaking amazing!

You mean it’s not about the Illuminati?

Despite what the title will tell you, Illuminae is not about the Illuminati.  Illuminae is an epic space tale about two teenagers who just broke up on the morning their planet was blown up!  Both of them end up in two different ships: the Hypatia (medical ship) and the Alexander (warship), with both ships heavily damaged during the battle of Kerenza. The fleet is also trying to avoid enemy ship, Lincoln while trying to reach jumpstation Heimdall.  (Jay Kristoff has a gif summary on Goodreads that sums the whole plot up).

How was it?

Because of the formatting, I had a hard time getting to it.  I know I said that already but I just want to say it again.  However, when you couple it with the audio, it is fast paced and just plain awesome.  In fact, I didn’t have a hard time following the story at all.

See, the story is told by different people, mostly Kady and Ezra (hahaha I typed an H after the A and then had to delete it, see explanation below), but it is also told by a few other people on board the Hypatia and the Alexander.

And the characters?

I mean, I basically loved this because EZRA is my name!  But I digress.  This book feels so real.  The voices between Ezra and Kady feel so real.  And the FEELS!  I teared up in parts, too!  At the risk of sounding too fangirly, I absolutely OTP Ezra and Kady.  I love the Kady’s sarcasm and Ezra’s sensitivity! I knew I was going to like this book, but I didn’t know that I was going to be blown away and I immediately connected to Kady and Ezra and I could not help but root for them.

Of course, there were a few twists – View Spoiler » that I expected, but there was also one twist that I did not expect at all.


Oh, definitely immersion read it!  I think reading the unique book format and listening to the amazing audio adds another level of appreciation to the book.  I’m also bugging my husband to read this ASAP so we can discuss (like we don’t normally do).

I also recommend reading the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner,  Across the Universe series by Beth Revis.

Personal note

I met Jay and Amie and was able to fangirl and tell them that my name is EZRAH.  Sorry, fangirling again. But see images below.

Illuminae Signed


Rating Report
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: 5


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Skinny Review

About Amie Kaufman

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.

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5 responses to “Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Book & Audiobook Review

    • Oh yeah! I should have added that. I heard it was hard to read it on ebook/e-format. It is beautiful on the physical copy, though!

  1. This is really interesting – I listened to a teeny bit of the Illuminae audio but I got frustrated with hearing every tiny bit of what was written on the page – each full url and from and to addresses of emails. I loved the book itself, though – maybe I would have enjoyed the audio more if I’d done it while reading.
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