(EN) Review: Illuminae and why it didn’t work for me

I have been seeing Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff on social media and other blogs for a while now. I recently reactivated my Scribd account – because let’s face it, it’s so much cheaper than Audible – and I saw the entire trilogy on there. Time to check out what all this hype was for.

(EN) Review: Illuminae and why it didn’t work for meIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20, 2015
Pages: 602
ISBN: 0553499114
Goodreads
three-stars

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Well, let’s be honest, this book just didn’t work for me. I liked it, but it didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor for me. I didn’t read it since this is a whole visual masterpiece and that just doesn’t match with my low-vision. So, I listened to the audiobook.

The format of Illuminae is really unique. It’s actually a dossier, not a book. This consists of e-mails, logs, military reports, IMs, interviews, schemes and pictures. The producers of the audiobook really did an amazing job to bring this book into your ears, but it still felt like I was missing something. I couldn’t connect to the story or characters, they all felt so flat. That’s the danger of this format. On one hand it’s really unique, but on the other hand everything feels so incredibly flat. You have to read through the lines and I just don’t like that. I want to get invested and not having to connect the entire plot. I still don’t know much about Ezra and Kady and that sucks.

Illuminae was an awesome experience, but I won’t continue with the rest of the series. I don’t mind cifi or space settings, but the format is just not for me. I will read Aurora Rising soon as I have a feeling that this will work much better since that’s proze. I rated this book 3 stars and that’s only because of the audiobook performance. Illuminae works as audio, but you still need the visual experience to get the whole story in my opinion.

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