Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Sci Fi
Illuminae is the start of a YA Sci Fi trilogy where the authors use an interesting and fun format to tell the story of two space ships as they navigate the events of the book. There are few different narrators in the book but our primary protagonists are Ezra and Kady, two teenagers who recently broke up before their planet was invaded. They end up on different ships and we follow along as they reconnect and both deal with the tragic and unexpected events that occur.
The audiobook of this book is a fantastic way to take in the story because it is a full cast plus it has sound effects which really makes the story come to life. I am not a big audiobook person and I preferred it to just reading it. When listening to it I found I was able to overlook some of the stuff that I didn’t really enjoy about the writing or other things that annoyed me. I also really have to commend the authors on how they took characters that are pretty separate from each other and yet their connections felt real and strong. I also think their creativity in coming up with all the different formats that this story uses is amazing. There are chats, transcribed audio files, maps, countdowns and other great “documents” that are used to tell this story.
With that being said, I did think this book fell flat in a lot of ways. It may be because I recently finished the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman and that had an AI character that I liked far better than the one in this book. The AI in this book, Aidan, was not only creepy but I didn’t find him to be that realistic. Again, I am unfairly comparing him to the Thunderhead in Scythe but I just didn’t gel with his character. Also, the dynamic between the AI, Aidan, and the teenage girl, Kady, made me uncomfortable. I’m also not a fan of preachy writing and there was a few times where this book did that. Which is kind of off putting in itself since I did find there was a few instances where the authors where fat phobic. I have no problem with an author (or in this case authors) describing the physical attributes of a character but to keep bringing it up again and again in a negative way just rubbed me the wrong way.
I did find this book to be average but I still plan on finishing out the series. I do enjoy the process of listening to this book and from what I understand the next book follows a different set of characters so I’m hoping I get on better with them. I can’t say that I recommend this book other then if you are looking for a great audiobook to listen to next and then I do think this is worth picking up. But maybe use your library if you can.