Kady's life is thrown upside down when her home planet is attacked and she has to escape in the evacuating fleet of ships with her recent ex-boyfriend, Ezra. Soon it becomes clear that the attack on their planet was not an accident and repercussions of the attack have followed the survivors out into space. The only way Kady can protect the remaining people onboard is to team up with the ship's AI, AIDAN, who seems to know a lot more about the situation than it cares to let on.
I cannot review this book without mentioning the unbelievably clever layout of the book. The events of the story are read through the confidential interview transcripts, emails, chats, and various classified documents and they are shown as they would be in their system. Some of the book is also dedicated to the mind-set and internal workings of AIDAN which perfectly illustrates it's character.
Much of the progression for Illuminae is made by the jumps between the documents and the personal connections are developed through the chat system. I usually have some problems with jumpy progression as it asks too much of the reader, but the layout of this novel requires you to connect some dots yourself and it actually works out as the perfect technique for this story. Despite this everything flows so easily that it isn't difficult to follow anyway.
I was definitely not expecting as many twists and turns as there were, but it definitely kept the story interesting. The combined writing styles perfectly complement each other and although some of the twists are predictable, each reveal is perfectly scripted to surprise and entertain the reader and make them want to continue. Although there was a high level of twists and deception it never felt unrealistic (for a sci-fi YA novel), each progression point felt like the next natural step for the story to take.
Illuminae is a perfect example of stepping outside the box and it working perfectly for the author. Sci-fi can be done terribly wrong and I don't have enough of a background to say whether this is one of the best but I can't imagine it's far off the top. It was wonderful to read and see the character developments up to the end. I'm excited to read the rest of the trilogy.
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