Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Space Opera
In the year 2575 a colonized planet is invaded. Several thousand people escape on three different ships. One is a battle ship, one a science vessel, and the third is a cargo ship. While being pursued by one of the enemy ships it is discovered that a pathogen was used to subdue the people on the planet and the people on one of the ships are infected with it. You can probably guess where this is going...space zombies, or something like that. There are a few minor differences in the infected in this story. These are smarter than the average zombie and don't hunger for brains, but are paranoid and violent.
Illuminae really blew me away with how visually beautiful the book actually is. It's probably the best YA space opera I've read so far. This story is told in epistolary form through IMs, emails, journal entries, recorded video feed footage, an AI's recorded "thoughts", schematics, military files, medical reports, and interviews. Because of this I wasn't sure how I would like the book. I wondered if it would seem too impersonal and be too hard to get into the characters. That wasn't the case at all and it ended up being a fun and unique read. The writing style actually kept me turning the pages.
This book evoked quite a few emotions as I read it. There was a twist I didn't see coming that really threw me for a little while. Looking back now, there were clues that I probably should have noticed, but I was so into the happenings in the book that I didn't. I was on the edge of my seat for quite a while as I read this. The protagonist, Kady was likable. The boyfriend Ezra was ok. The AI, AIDAN was altogether creepy, sympathetic, and insane. The book left me wondering what in the world would be the right thing to do if there were thousands of infected people who are turning violent and no known cure. Do you try to help them or put them out of their misery before they infect more people?
The only things I disliked about this book were the blacked out curse words. All the little blacked out words got annoying and distracting because they kind of interrupted the flow of the sentences they were in. It would have been better to just leave the cursing out all together in my opinion. I also wasn't crazy about how a couple of the characters always seemed to add sexual connotations to everything they talked about. This was the main reason Ezra was just an ok character to me.
This looks to be a series so I will be reading the next book. It's one that I will be looking forward to.
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