Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Released: 20 October 2015
Series: The Illuminae Files_01
The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations - ---- and ----- - 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, exes Kady and Ezra - who are barely even talking to each other - are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly ----- 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 the ---- is going on.. As Kady hacks into a tangles 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 wore she'd never speak to again.
I am not a fan of science fiction - it's not a genre I choose to read. But this book was different. Everyone has been raving about this book for ages now, and when I heard what it was about and how it was told, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I'm so glad that I decided to pick it up, because It was amazing.
The story is told entirely through different documents - letters, chat logs, interview transcripts, AI data, surveillance footage summaries, radio message transcripts, and more. There is literally no traditional prose, with the surveillance footage summaries being the closest thing to it. The story takes place in the year 2575, after mining company BeiTech attempts to invade the planet Kerenza, which another mining company has been illegally mining. Thousands of inhabitants are rescued by the United Terran Authority vessels - warship Alexander, research vessel Hypatia, and cargo-carrier Copernicus - and are travelling to the Heimdall jump point (where a black hole will take them to safety). However, the BeiTech vessel - Lincoln - is in hot pursuit, and they must make it to the jump point, otherwise they will be wiped out. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence system on Alexander, AIDAN, was damaged during the rescue, and has become defective. In order to fix it, it must be taken offline, which means the fleet are unable to travel at full speed. On Copernicus, a virus has broken out, one that was dropped by BeiTech, which is incurable and making people psychotic. Kady Grant, who is travelling on Hypatia, is a keen computer hacker and has been hacking into the fleet's systems in order to see what's happening. Ezra Mason, who is travelling on Alexander, has been conscripted as a Cyclone pilot. The pair had broken up just prior to the attack on Kerenza, and soon realise that command is keeping a lot of important and deadly information from them. It soon becomes apparent that they will have to work together in order to try and save the fleet from AIDAN and being caught by the Lincoln. Madness ensues, and lives are lost - will they be able to make it to the jump point in time?
This book was just one event after another, and it was amazing. It was such an action packed ride, and problems kept arising that kept the characters on their toes. I had no idea where the story was going, but I was gripped the entire time. There is twist after twist and you won't realise what's been happening until right at the end.
It's hard to write a story that is told entirely in documents, but is still able to tell the story for readers to understand, and still allows you to connect with the characters. Amie and Jay have managed to do this so well, and I feel like this story would be nowhere near as good if it had been told traditionally. To come up such an array of documents, that keeps readers on their toes is highly commendable, and I have nothing but praise for both authors and their publishing team who were able to pull off such a feat.
I feel like this book is perfect for readers who either want to get into the science fiction genre, or those who don't really read science fiction. You aren't bogged down by heaps of technical mumbo-jumbo, and long-winded descriptions of science-y and technical things. For a 600 page book, you are able to read it extremely quickly for it's size, with the documents being easier to read through than your traditional writing. Don't let the size intimidate you!
I am SO excited for book two to come out next year, which will be about the Heimdall jump point - it will be interesting to see how these characters continue their journey and their battle with BeiTech. [Although, it has been revealed that each book in the trilogy will focus on two new teen protagonists, so I don't know how I feel about parting with Kady & Ezra... But we will see - bring on 2016!]
Overall, I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. It is such an amazing reading experience, and is certainly nothing like I have read before. If you want to be gripped from page one, this is the book for you, and I can assure you that you will get sucked into the world and fight alongside these characters.