Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff is everything that I wanted out of space-specific sci-fi. It definitely lives up to the hype. The book consists of documents that show the sequence of the plot. A corporation attacks a planet and pursues warships that has rescued refugees from that planet.
In the middle of this, Kady and Ezra, whose relationship slowly repairs, try to stay in contact during the ordeal. Kady also leads a double life – she’s a hacker and recruited by Byron, they work hard to discover what’s really going on.
Have I mentioned that one of the ships’ AI named AIDAN is killing off people on the ships? And there are zombie-like people running around?
A lot of things are going on but they collide together nicely.
Illuminae is well-structured and plotted. The documents range from files to recordings to blueprints to posters to data in AIDAN, flooding you with adrenaline to the very end.
The characterisation is amazing. You don’t need to know what the characters looks or what they’re like. Their personality and behaviour are mostly evoked by their words and interactions with each other.
There’s only one thing that I disliked and that is killing off Byron (I understand why he had to die though). He’s a great character and he’s also represents diversity. It puts me off when the only non-white character who has a major role dies. And the surviving main characters are all white – not that I hate Kady and Ezra.
Anyway, Illuminae is the first book of a trilogy and leaves you with a cliffhanger that sends a chill down your spine. In a good way.
It’s worth a read.