Illuminae Review

Clare Donaher

        This month, the Radnorite focuses on mental health. Many studies have shown that reading can be a way to decrease your stress and keep your mind sharp. Illuminae is an easy-to-read story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster. Co-written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, this story will take your mind off of school and tests and propel it into outer space.

        Set in 2575 and told through interviews, files, chat rooms, and video analysis, Illuminae tells the story of Kady and her recent ex-boyfriend Ezra. Shortly after the two break up, they find their world invaded by an enemy spacecraft. When evacuating this planet, they are separated onto two different spaceships. Soon, a plague breaks out on one of the ships, and it’s up to these two to figure out what their government isn’t telling them, and how “artificial” their ships’ artificial intelligence actually is. Forced together with Ezra’s athletic strengths and Kady’s computer knowledge, the unlikely pair represent the hope and strength of the human race.

        Although I am not usually one for unconventional storytelling, I loved the way that these authors created this story. At several points in the book, they actually create artwork out of the words on the page, making the emotions much more tangible. The files and censorship gave the plot substance and validity. I have to say, I do wish that there were more scenes of classic storytelling, but the book came close to that through video analysis, with a technician describing the protagonists’ actions on a security camera. The characters are flawed yet admirable. Kady could be ridiculously stubborn and awkward, but her courage was portrayed beautifully, while Ezra was a bit dim, but adorably softhearted.

        Generally speaking, this book messed me up. It made me question the universe and the future of humanity. I highly recommend it to lovers of science fiction, and everybody else. In fact, I wish I had read it sooner. One thing about this book that really made me frustrated, but happy at the same time, was the ending.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

        Ezra was alive after Kady thought he was dead. It was extremely predictable, and in a way it ruined the fragile strength that Kady had to find at the end. It just seemed too tied up, with Kady and Ezra living happily ever after (until the second book). I know it sounds morbid, but there was so much danger everywhere that the fact that they both survived was a bit unbelievable.

******SPOILER END*******

        Overall, this was one of the best books I have read in a long, long time. Please, if you get the chance, read it! It’s right here in our school library.