[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Kindle, Audio Book, Audible
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iBooks[/alert]

Kady and Ezra are typical teenagers going through a breakup, until a rival corporation attacked the illegal mining colony they were living at. In a frantic escape Kady and Ezra find themselves separated on different ships. The small and injured fleet desperately tries to outrun the last remaining warship hot on their trail. However, one of their ships is riddled by a strange chemical plague, courtesy of their attackers, and is then destroyed under suspicious circumstances. Suspecting that the officers in charge are covering something up, Kady begins to use her computer skills to find out the truth and finds herself turning to unlikely allies.

Not only does Illuminae have a completely engrossing plot that will keep you turning pages until the crack of dawn, but it also has a cast of characters that are fully rendered and come alive on the page. Kady and Ezra are protagonists that are easy to get behind. Their interactions across the void between their ships are candid, humorous, and touching as each character wrestles with the fear and alienation of their very dangerous situation. Both characters are bold in their own unique ways and their approach to the situation they find themselves in are very different, if strangely aligned. It was particularly refreshing to see characters in a Young Adult novel that, while romantically entangled, are also both incredibly independent and capable of standing on their own. Kady manages to brilliantly outshine Ezra and prove that young women can save themselves, thank you very much, although a prince charming may be nice to have along for the ride.

The book’s charm is particularly impressive due to the unusual formatting in which the book is written. Illuminae is styled as report consisting of a collection of documents – messaging conversations, emails, voice and video recordings, medical and psychiatric records, and other information – regarding the events surrounding the attack on Kerenza, and the frantic escape of the Alexander, the Hypatia, and the Copernicus from the BeiTech dreadnought Lincoln. Full of classified pages and redacted texts, the book is awash in a unique style and a bold sense of humor in what could have been a very dark story.

Despite the lack of traditional formatting, Illuminae will draw readers in and leave them salivating for the next book in the series. Readers willing to tackle a book presented in a different format, and who aren’t afraid to have equal helpings of horror and humor will devour this story. A completely addicting book, Illuminae is a science fiction novel that will rekindle your love of Young Adult literature, and remind readers of the creativity that both genres can inspire.

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