An Impressively Creative Take On A Sci-Fi Story: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Friday, 8 April 2016

Illuminae | Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Published October 2015
Goodreads | Book Depository

The hype for Illuminae has been immense since its release in late 2015 and so I've been excited to find out for myself if it's really as incredible as most people say it is. I think there are two main things to take into account with this book: the style and the plot. The style is by far the best component and whilst I thought the plot was good, its improved greatly with such a unique style.

The Style
I love the way that Illuminae has been designed. I have had iffy experiences in the past with books that are almost like a textbook or a case file but I think it worked incredibly well here. We have IM conversations, emails, transcripts of surveillance footage, documents, images and plans. I think it was such a fresh way of tackling a sci-fi story and it really kept the excitement levels high. The book is 600 pages long but doesn't feel like it; it doesn't drag because there's always something new to look at. To be able to fully understand the plot without being bogged down with lots of scientific explanations was a great bonus.

The Plot and Characters
The plot was good. I don't think its spectacular but the range of characters as well as the stunning style of the book really helped it along. The two main characters are mostly likable (I found Kady to be quite annoying at times but loved Ezra) and there's a whole range of other characters too which I liked. It was nice to have perspectives of the story from other people than just the two main "heroes". One of the standout characters for me was AIDAN (the Artificial Intelligence aboard the ship). It is absolutely crazy but I thought it was interesting to explore the idea of an AI system being able to take control and the question of whether it can feel. I loved the guy who transcribed the surveillance footage too and that he got to have a personality and be another character even though the plot didn't actually happen to him.

I absolutely loved the style of Illuminae and whilst the plot wasn't particularly special, I still really enjoyed it. This is definitely one of the most creative books that I have read and after a bit of a cliffhanger ending, I'm excited to see what happens next. I can't wait to revisit the characters and see what creativity we get to explore in book two, Gemina.

Have you read this book? Did it live up to the hype for you? Let me know what you think!

Follow me:


  1. I was blown away by this book when I read it! I didn't expect to really enjoy it too much but was looking forward to the design of the book. It surpassed my expectations by far. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well!

    1. I really wasn't sure what to expect but knew that most people seemed to love it. The style is really what drew me in and I was really impressed by it! I'm glad you liked it so much! :)

  2. Lovely review! I love YA books that have good imagery and there are so few, like when we start reading YA and Adult novels we need pictures less and less, which I completely disagree with, so going into this that, the design and the fact it wasn't just words on a page- but so much more than that- was the most exciting thing for me. Unfortunately the plot, for me too, wasn't enough to keep me reading, although I still managed to appreciate what I saw of the style and formatting. I hope this release does make the range of books in alternate styles more prevalent (I'm sure they're out there, published and unbeknownst to me and unplublished and waiting) because I would just love to see more books that use visuals as a factor that's just as important as the written words.
    I hope Gemina holds out a little better for you, with the plot. xx

    1. Thank you! :)
      I completely agree, I love books that have illustrations or a unique style and there really does seem to be a lack of them. It's a shame that we get less images/design in books as we get older and I would love to see more unique books like this one. I'm sorry the plot wasn't so great for you either but hopefully we'll both enjoy it more in Gemina. I can't wait to see if they come up with anything different for the design next time around!