Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations 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, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague 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’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled 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 swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This book was a little bit daunting; 600 pages and solely made up of random transcripts and images, I thought it would take me ages to read it and even worried if I would be able to enjoy it. Luckily, I very quickly got into it. I have never read anything like it, not just in the way it was set up, which was incredible and unique, but also the plot. It had everything from a love story to spaceship fights!

It starts with Kady and Ezra's home being attacked. They and other refugees are taken aboard the Alexander, the only official space ship in the area, where they are forced to run from BioTech's advancing warship. We follow Kady as she hacks her way into the ship's data to try and understand what is happening and Ezra as he finds his way into the army and learns to fly a fighter space-jet. Put together with interview transcripts, IM conversations, schematics of the ships and the AI's code, we discover alongside Kady the truth behind the attack and what exactly is going on aboard one of the UTA ships. It turns out the ship's AI was severely damaged and is a danger to the ship and the crew's safety. 

Of course it becomes a lot worse than that, as AIDAN has twisted it's understanding of protection and safety. Reading from its code was beyond creepy; the level of complexity and nearly human feeling was unnerving and its self-assurance that it knows what its doing is for the best... urgh, so scary! Then of course there's the fact that BioTech, the evil corporation behind the attack, released a bio-weapon that is making its way through the crew and turning them into space zombies. Let's just say that Kady has her hands full!

Considering this was nearly 600 pages, it really didn't take me that long to utterly devour it. Yeah, some pages were just pictures or a couple of lines but everything was put together so well, and surprisingly succinctly, that it just worked going from AIDAN's core code to a voice-over of Kady's movements back to a hacked email. Putting the pieces together was really easy, seeing everything laid out like this. All in all, this was an incredibly unique and adventurous story and I can't wait for book two!

Published 22nd October 2015 by OneWorld Publishing. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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