Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Review by Corinne Donnelly

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Review by Corinne Donnelly

Have you ever been so excited to read a book that when you finally read it you found yourself staring at the page in frustration and disappointment? That was my experience with Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Don’t get me wrong, the cover is absolutely stunning and the nontraditional format, which includes chapters filled with memorandums, IM chats, emails, and charts, is inspired.  Unfortunately, the plot was too cookie-cutter to hold my interest.

Illuminae, while categorized as a science fiction book, is really just a futuristic love story. Girl, Kady, meets boy, Ezra, on a colony, Kerenza, in space. They break up on the same day their planet is attacked by an evil corporation, BeiTech. Even with the addition of some spaceships, thousands of fleeing citizens, and a psychotic computer program, somehow you still get an astonishingly predictable story-line.  

Kady, a child prodigy computer hacker, and Ezra, a very skilled athlete, later turned bad-ass soldier, are our main characters, and I don’t think I’ve ever been less enthused. There are many other minor characters throughout the book, but they all feel like caricatures. Everything is about Kady and Ezra. If you don’t like them from the beginning of the book, I guarantee you’re going to despise them by the end.

The inclusion of AIDAN, the computer program that oversees and protects the well-being of the fleet of spaceships, was a curious choice. The authors try to incorporate the tired trope of a computer struggling with the idea of human emotion, but they never fully pull it off. A few chapters are devoted to its confused ramblings, which kept me interested for a while, but ultimately became annoying.

If you’ve ever read a book about two characters who fall out of love, but then experience something awful that may possibly bring them back together, congratulations, you’ve read Illuminae! If your library is in dire need of a gorgeous cover, don’t hesitate to pick this up. Just please think twice before reading it.  

Written by
Corinne Donnelly is a writer, actor, and singer who currently lives in Orange County, CA. She has written poetry for various literary journals, and helped peer-edit and review the novel Eyes Open by K.L. Glanville. When she lived in Los Angeles briefly after college, she acted professionally, appearing in commercials and music videos, as well as background acted on network TV series such as Parks and Recreation, New Girl, and 90210. At its heyday, she freelanced as a writer and editor for the official fansite of Rupert Grint, the actor who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. In her free-time, Corinne loves to read, write, perform onstage, and attend midnight showings of her favorite movie series.

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