Illuminae seems to be a go-to recommendation when it comes to sci-fi. Never having been someone that spends much time reading about spaceships or robots, I thought a YA book was a perfect way to open myself up to the genre.
Illuminae follows Kady and Ezra, ex's that are separated during an invasion of their planet on an evacuating craft. With an AI to help, they have to navigate their way to reunite with one another and avoid the mutating plague and enemy warcraft that is in hot pursuit.
One of the stand out features of this book is it's inclusion of mix media as it's way of storytelling. They include emails, instant messages, detailing of video surveillance footage, case files and other interesting uses of shapes, colours and fonts to convey different formats to contribute to the story. I somewhat enjoyed the mixed media aspect, however I felt it didn't add much to the story and the novelty of it wore off quickly. I think ultimately it helped to make the book different and unique, but without the new method of consuming the information, the storyline was ultimately dull and fell flat. I stumbled upon a very predictable issue with this book that I do with all YA (these reviews will start getting very repetitive). Being for a young adult audience, the main characters are teenagers, which made a lot of their interactions tedious and immature. The added element of their conversations being written as text messages, also meant their language was even more juvenile. Other elements of the storyline (outside of Kady and Ezra's messaging back and forth) felt very underdeveloped, ultimately leading to their interaction being the sections where the storyline would be driven forward as well as the moments the reader most had to look forward to. Unfortunately, my annoyance at these conversations and their use of language tainted my overall reading experience. I definitely see the appeal of the book. The mixed media certainly makes for a fun change in ones usual reading routine. However, if young adult fiction is something you are usually put off by, then I wouldn't recommend this one.
Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: 20 October 2015
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
# of Pages: 599