Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Genre: science fiction, young adult

The TL,DR: I loved this book way more than I expected I would and it was a fun, fast-paced, refreshing read ft. a race against time in space, a zombie outbreak, a whirlwind romance, and a cool AI. 😉

“He presses the triggers. And like roses in his hands, death blooms.”

My god this book review is very late. The empty framework has been sitting in my draft box for the past month since I finished it. I usually hate writing reviews after a space of time has passed between reading but I honestly could not go without reviewing this book.

I definitely picked this book up after hearing good reviews on bookstagram, briefly looked through the inside and had the immediate thought that would go one of two ways: either I’d love it or I’d despise it.

Some people really like it when books are interestingly formatted. For me it can only go exceptionally well (Anna Dressed in Blood, reddish brown font? Cool.) or disastrously (I could not force myself through a single Ellen Hopkins book).  I definitely was afraid this might lean towards the disaster, so often do great ideas fall short on their execution…

But I was pleasantly surprised (sometimes it pays to have low expectations), and I might even go as far to say that I was blown away by how much I enjoyed myself while reading this book. The plot line was refreshing (cool sci-fi, space things) and from a genre I don’t read very often/have not read in a while. There’s a lot going on and it’s very fast paced.

Sometimes it’s a bit of a hassle in terms of the text is very stylized and you have to be a really engaged reader (aka ok with turning your book 360 degrees and upside down and what not) but I thought it was enjoyable. The end result is ending with some beautiful and in some cases extremely powerful, impacting pages.

The writing style is so beautiful and so seamlessly intertwined for a collaboration. I’m usually very picky about hearing two different writing voices/styles present in a book.

My only complaint is that it is somewhat like reading a movie script or a play in that sometimes it is pure dialog and you have to imagine the actions or create your own set of ‘stage directions’ for picturing the story in your mind. I mostly say this because I loved the plot so much that I wanted more.

While I didn’t feel any particular strong attachment to either of the characters I certainly didn’t have complaints about them. The ending (!!!) is such a tease and I cannot wait for the sequel, Gemina.

I recommend this book if you like YA, sci-fi, space settings, or zombie stories (not a spoiler, it’s on the jacket I promise). This book is super cool and has a little bit of everything and a whole lot going on. It’s an odyssey-like journey against time and a crazy ride and I think there’s a little bit of something for all YA readers in it.

“You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. You have me.”

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