Illuminae: a surprising new YA find

Avery Bogemann, Staff Writer

When I picked up this book, I didn’t know what I was expecting. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the book despite it not being something I would normally read.

The book’s design is very unique both inside and out. It’s told in such an innovative way; it draws you into the world in a way you’d never expect. I was hooked the entire time I read it. It’s told through files and emails, so you feel as though you’re surfing through a file and uncovering secrets aboard the ship. It’s a fun challenge for readers. 

The book is long, coming in at about 599 pages. It’s so detailed, from the emails, to the files, to even the AI talking. The book looks beautiful. 

The story is also very well told. It starts off with action immediately; my only issue with this is that it’s hard to imagine the characters because I had no description. Once they get on the ship, you get this ominous feeling from how weird the people in charge are acting. As you read more of the files, more information is revealed, and you see just how corrupt things on the inside are. 

When it was revealed there was a plague, I was a little confused because it felt like it came out of nowhere. As they explained it more, I understood why it was happening, but still felt like it was unnecessary. 

When the enemy ships were getting closer and the AI was going crazy, and the main character had to worry about the deadly plague. It felt like a lot. Despite all of its flaws, it was a very interesting story, with a very interesting plot.

Kady is one of the main characters. Sometimes I felt a bit annoyed with how she was acting. She’s very sarcastic and hard to deal with. She grows and opens up throughout the story, which led me to like her a bit more, and it was very fun to read. She’s very smart and the focus of the story.

Ezra is the other main character and love interest of Kady. He’s very nice and welcoming which contrasts with Kady’s personality. He is very rash and loyal to the people he cares about. 

The romance was very well done and even added twists and turns you’d never expect in the story. Despite being on different ships and their only contact being through emails, their relationship is very well developed throughout the book. They’re able to give background on the relationship and develop it from a broken one to a caring one. 

Their personalities mesh really well together and it’s fun to see them interact. It’s also interesting to see them interact with the people on their respective ships. As they uncover information together, it’s fun to see them react.

The AI is more important at the end of the story, and I have a lot of questions about it. How it interacts with Kady is confusing, and its reasons for doing what it’s done are not explicitly answered. I’m not sure why it’s obsessed with Kady. I’m not sure why it murdered thousands of people. The only reason given is that it’s “generous.” 

All in all the book is a great and interesting read and I’m excited to see what’s in store in the next installments of the series.