Published October 20, 2015, by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fiction / Sci-Fi / YA
Page Count: 599 pages
I am the ship and the ship is I. If I breathed, I would sigh. I would scream. I would cry.
If a nuclear missile hits a battleship in the dark void of space and there are less than 1,000 people on board (but 99% of them are afflicted with a zombie virus), does it still make a sound?
Kady Grant is about to find out.
Her only resources are her techy brain, her trusty datapad, and the possibly insane (definitely murderous) AI system with a God complex known as AIDAN.
I know them. All of them. Better than they know themselves. All this in the time it takes God to blink.
I don’t know what you were doing when you were 17 years old, but I wasn’t exactly a tech-savvy hack-master with the capability to rescue thousands of people and escape a cadre of virus-riddled infectants who are bent on revenge. I mean, if you were that bad-ass then please accept my congrats and a standing ovation. However, I get excited when I can just get Microsoft Word to perform correctly.
So, Kady Grant has a lot on me. She escaped the BeiTech Industries attack on the colony established on planet Kerenza, and now all she has to do is survive so that she can tell the story of that attack to the Universe.
BeiTech killed the people of Kerenza, and if you find this, you have to tell the ‘verse what happened.
This was a book like none I’ve ever read before. The events that play out in deep space between the Alexander fleet (including ships Alexander, Copernicus, and Hypatia) are relayed to us via intercepted emails, IM chats, transcribed video surveillance, classified office memoranda, etc. The 6000+ people on board the three vessels are flying for their lives from the one remaining BeiTech battleship, the Lincoln, that is bent on eliminating all witnesses.
AIDAN has also let loose a squad of passengers infected with the fatal and mind-bending Phobos Beta virus, and now they’re spreading it to others on board. There’s chaos among the stars and eventually, it all comes down to 17-year old Kady to save everyone.
They don’t need this girl in neuroprogramming, they need her in psych ops, eyeball to eyeball with the guys who need to see things a little differently.
The action is constant and fluid, and the format of Illuminae will keep you turning pages long past your bedtime. Even now, AIDAN’s creepy voice (as I imagine it) is ringing in my head, “Am I not merciful?“
Although there were familiar themes present (AIDAN is obviously 2001: A Space Odyssey -inspired; HAL could be “his” generation 1.0), that doesn’t take anything away from what makes this book remarkable.
Illuminae is followed by Gemina (published in 2016) and Obsidio (published in 2018), and each book in the trilogy focuses on the same invasion of Kerenza from the perspective of a different pair of surviving teenagers. If you’re into science fiction and lots of YA action (with just a touch of romance), you’ll enjoy this futuristic space adventure.
About the Authors
Amie Kaufman is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. Her multi-award winning work has been published in over 35 countries and is in development for film and TV. A couple of her career highlights so far include professional wolf-howling lessons, and working as a story consultant at NASA.
Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES, and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of five Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty-five countries, most of which he has never visited.
(Bios courtesy of Goodreads)