Illuminae: Illumin-YAY

Please Note: Illuminae was Aussie Book Club‘s book of the month for the month of September, 2016. If you want to find out more about the book club, please visit either our Instagram or Twitter.

“You want to feel small? Look out at the nothing and feel it looking back. Then you know exactly how much you add up to.” p.43

illuminae.jpgIlluminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
 November 1, 2015 by Allen & Unwin
Originally Published October 20, 2015
ISBN13 9781760113803
Young Adult
Source: QBD the Bookshop (purchased)
Rating: ★★★★★

One moment, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason have nothing bigger to worry about than each other. Specifically, avoiding each other in the wake of their messy break-up. In the next second, their entire world falls apart.

The year is 2375 and one of the mega-corporations that control much of deep space has just fired the opening salvo in an intergalactic war, destroying Kady and Ezra’s planet. Forced to flee on a small fleet of crippled rescue ships alongside thousands of other refugees, the fear of enemy warships chasing them down is at first all-consuming but soon becomes the least of their worries. A deadly plague is ravaging the refugees on the ships; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be an enemy; and High Command is refusing to acknowledge that there may be a serious problem. As Kady plunges into a tangled web of data in search of the truth, she realises that Ezra is possibly the only person who can help her save the refugees before it’s too late.

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Holy ████. That is literally all that I can say right now. Holy ████ing ████. I think I need to take a moment to just b r e a t h e.

I purchased this book on my birthday last year, but I’ve been putting off reading it, and that’s probably only due to the sheer size of this book. Seriously, have you seen this thing? I could probably brain someone with it or something. I’ve finally had the excuse to pick it up, as Illuminae was an Aussie Book Club botm last month to celebrate the impending release of it’s sequel Gemina later this month.

Kerenza IV is a planet being illegally mined for its deposits of hermium. That is until one fateful day when mega-corporation BeiTech decides to come in and ████ everything up. Wanting the planet’s resources for themselves, BeiTech use a bioweapon designed to temporarily incapacitate the infected, and launch a deadly attack on the Kerenza colony. A great number of the population manage to escape the planet, finding refuge in the battle carrier Alexander, science vessel Hypatia, and heavy freighter Copernicus. 

During the assault, the Alexander takes heavy damage to its jump gate generator and artificial intelligence matrix, leaving it unable to open a wormhole to safety, so the fleet must travel to the closest waypoint, Heimdall, in order reach safety. But BeiTech have other plans. They’re chasing down the fleet in an attempt to destroy all evidence of the attack on Kerenza IV.

With the damaged AI system potentially trying to kill the whole fleet, and the BeiTech virus mutating in through the recycled air of a floating tin can, it’s not long before  ████ really starts to hit the fan…

Reasons why this book was so ████ing good I cannot even:

Illuminae is the most unique book that I have ever read and (probably) ever will read, and I felt almost physically pained whenever I had to put it down. The whole novel takes the form of a dossier, and is told through a series of reports, security footage analytics, and other documents including instant messages. Whilst this was confusing at first, I found this way of story-telling to be all the more immersive.

The characters are the most precious of snowflakes. I fell in love with almost every single character in this novel (though nobody can compare to the cotton candy fluff that is Ezra Mason). With every new character that we got a look at, it wasn’t long before I formed an emotional attachment to them. I feel that because a large portion of the interactions between characters were experienced through IM, it made you feel as though you were the one talking to them. It felt as though they were a real person.

Oh, the feels! Nothing could have quite prepared me for the infinite amount of feels that I suffered throughout the course of this novel. I decided that during my reading of this book, I would tab parts all of the bits that meant something to me. I obviously decided to mark feels with blue. And, well.. I’ll let this picture do the rest of the talking:


There are a number of plot twists that I totally didn’t see coming. This is a big thing for me, because I always overthink when I read, and I always guess at what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure that I was just too involved in this book in the end to even allow myself a second to contemplate what was going to happen.

Despite it’s size, it’s actually a really quick read. I read the majority of this book over the course of about 4 days, which is pretty ████ing impressive for me, especially considering that I’ve been making significant progress on another book besides this one. This book may be 599 pages long, but don’t let that fool you, because you’ll have read 100 of those pages in the time that it takes you to so much as bat an eyelid.

Zombies. Okay, so there aren’t really any zombies, but there’s no better way to describe the personnel that become afflicted with the mutated Phobos virus. They’re strong, they feel no pain, they’re scary as ████, and all they want to do is kill.


Illuminae essentially Firefly, Red Dwarf, and The Walking Dead all rolled into one heaping pile of knock-your-socks-off reading. Need I say more?

Basically, you need to read this book. In the words of our lord and saviour Shia LaBeouf:


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I cannot wait to get my hands on my Gemina box from The YA Chronicles later this month, because I just know that I’ll devour it as quickly as I did Illuminae.

If you think you might enjoy Illuminae, copies are available for purchase in the following places: QBD, Dymocks, Booktopia, The Book DepositoryAmazon (kindle)

Looking for something similar to Illuminae? Try Andy Weir’s The Martian


Later chums,


2 thoughts on “Illuminae: Illumin-YAY

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