Book Review – Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

January 27, 2017 Reviews 8 ★★★½

Book Review – Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Date Published: October 20th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 608
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 41 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Johnathon McClain, Lincoln Hoppe, Olivia Taylor Dudley
Rating: three-half-stars
Description: 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.


Lynnpic Lynn’s Review:

Have you actually heard anything about Illuminae before reading this review? I had heard good things. But didn’t read any reviews to avoid any kind of spoilers! I’m going to try to post a non-spoiler review. Try being the opportune word here. 

Let’s start with the format: I was having issues deciding which format to read Illuminae. Go with the audio, which is a full cast recording? Or go with the ebook, with all the fancy pictures and drawings? How to choose!?! So I didn’t. I went with both. I listened to part of the book on audio and read part of the book in ebook. The only downside here being trying to find my place when going back and forth. I’m glad I decided to read both formats. I enjoyed both the audio and the ebook. The narration and special audio effects really drew me into the book. There is nothing like being in the vacuum of space with our main character, listening with her to the alarms and the baddies while she’s trying to save herself to ramp up the drama. The different narrators lend their voices to the different characters and formats distinctively. On the ebook side, I adored the reading experience. The format of memos, interviews, IM, and emails really shines here. There is even an outer space sequence where Kady is walking along the outside of the ship. With bounce lines for narration. Completely clever and original! And it completely worked for me. Having both formats really fed my inability to make decisions. Which for once paid off. I don’t think you could go wrong with either the audio or the book.

Now for the plot\characters: After the invasion of their home planet, Kady and Ezra end up on separate rescue ships. Kady is on a science vessel where she is perfecting her computer hacking skills. Ezra is on a military vessel, and ends up conscripted as a fighter pilot. A.I.D.A.N. is the artificial intelligence which runs the military ship. And is having an existential crisis. Is he alive? Can he die? Is he even an I? 


A.I.D.A.N. reminds me a bit of HAL from 2001. A.I.D.A.N.’s main function is to preserve the fleet. How he (it?) goes about protecting the fleet is a major point of contention for the “meat”, as A.I.D.A.N. likes to call humans. That’s exactly the kind of attitude that I like to see in my artificial intelligence. 😉  Though by the end, I was empathizing with A.I.D.A.N., which really through me for a loop.

My conclusion: read Illuminae. I enjoyed everything about it. Clever. Witty. Original. Pick any format. 

 Julie’s Review:

And.. then there’s me. Always have to mess things up for the rest of us, LOL.

No, it’s not that I didn’t like Illuminae, but, I certainly didn’t love it. I listened to the audio, because Lynn said it was awesome. And yes, it was – full cast, lots of voices, different accents, great job there.

But. The format. It just didn’t work for me. The story is told in a collection of interviews, intercepted communications, and data files from the ship’s AI. And the AI? Is a bit of a psychopath. But the interruptions in the story with each change in the “file” kept me disconnected. Also, a bit bored. And the “briefing note” computer voice was creepy and weird ha.

I think I went into the book with a bad attitude. Once I realized the story is a compilation of data and told as if an investigator was putting together a report well after a horrific event occurred, I jumped to a conclusion and that affected my enjoyment of the story. Was I right, though? Well, that would be a spoiler. But I will say while I was a bit bored with it at times, I really did like the ending.

What is the Illuminae story about? Well, short version is this: zombies in space. Essentially. And pew pew pew with an enemy. And a crazy AI who may or may not have made things worse.

I am curious about the book version. Pictures and drawings? This I want to see.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files)
List Price: $18.99
Price: $9.11
You Save: $9.88
Price Disclaimer

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase a product, we will receive a small commission for the sale at no additional cost to you. Chapter Break is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Subscribe to Chapter Break posts.

Never miss a post on Chapter Break. Subscribe today for all the bookish awesome in your inbox.

Join 17,551 other subscribers

8 Responses to “Book Review – Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)”

    • Lynn

      Huh – being able to read the bleeped out curse words could be hilarious! I think I’ll stick with my iPad for the next book. At least I can zoom in where needed!

  1. Kristine Hall

    I am glad y’all reviewed this book. I have been fascinated by it from the get-go, but I felt like it was one that really demanded print copy, and I wasnt sure I wanted to bite the bullet (it ain’t cheap). I had NO idea what it was about, but I did know about the format and that’s what was the draw. . . Not sure I am any closer to making a decision, though! Ha! Sounds like audio is a must no matter what.
    Kristine Hall recently posted…Death of a Sculptor in Hue, Shape, and Color ~ ~ Promo Tour & Excerpt!

    • Lynn

      Sorry we didn’t help you make your decision, Kristine! But I don’t think you could go wrong with whatever format you decide on!

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    I have this in hardcover to read and I’m kinda excited. I can see where this would be difficult to get into in audio though – just my opinion – but I’ve flipped through it and having the actual book where I can flip through the pages…well, I just think that may help?!? Anyway, I’m glad you ladies liked it for the most part…one of you more than the other. 🙂
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…New Release Review ~ Rock Chick Reawakening ~ Kristen Ashley

    • Lynn

      Thanks, Brandee. And keep us posted on how you like the hard back. I had to do some zooming in on the pictures of the ebook. Not sure how that will translate to print.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge