Book Review | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Looks Over Substance

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 608


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.


I’ll cut to the chase; I didn’t like this. After reading Illuminae, I wondered if people are getting too caught up in the formatting and visual aspects of this book and basing their ratings on that. I mean, I also very much enjoyed the uniquely beautiful format of this book, but aside from that…I didn’t like it much at all.

This book is told in interviews, chat logs, e-mails, web pages, reports, lots of beautiful images and more. At first I really liked the snarky dialogue in both the interviews and the chat logs. The first 20 pages or so had me chuckling, but I feel like the authors tried to keep that same tone going for far too long. After a while I just found the dialogue tiresome, and at times, cringeworthy.

A lot of the details were very info dump-y and I felt like we were being made to do too much work instead of the authors doing the work to present the information in an interesting way.

The “romance” seemed really out of place for me in this book. The romance gave Kady motive and helped move the plot along, but I never really felt chemistry between them. Honestly, the characters never felt like people to me. They were very hollow. I couldn’t connect to them at all.

I read the first 300 pages, then after that I pretty much just flipped through the last 300 pages and looked at the pictures. I skimmed the important parts so I could see what happened in the end, and I didn’t feel like I missed anything. While flipping through the book I just kept thinking that Illuminae would probably be much, much better as a movie.

A lot of my rating comes from the unconventional way they went about presenting this book. The graphics are beautiful. The story needed a lot more. And so, Illuminae gets…

2.5 Stars!

star-1     star-1    halfstar-1


8 thoughts on “Book Review | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Looks Over Substance

  1. Innnteeesting. I think yours might be the most “illuminating” book review I’ve read about Illuminae so far. It’s frustrating when a book relies more on unique structure or graphics than on telling a good, solid story. Though I still rated it 4/5 stars, I sort of felt that way about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculoar Children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this book definitely deserves credit for the structure and graphics. They did something no one else has done. The story was different and had potential but ended up falling short for me, unfortunately. I have heard some people say that the best thing about the Ransom Riggs books are the pictures. I haven’t read it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I felt the same way. Thanks for reading and commenting! <3

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And this is why I’m waiting to finish up the books I’m currently reading, so that my sole focus will be on this book. The positives outweigh the negatives, but I took both into account before I purchased it. Man, I can’t wait to see if it will live up to the hype. The last time I felt like a book was over-hyped was A Court of Thorns and Roses. I liked it well enough to want the next book, but it wasn’t all that. I just like the world and the hero, because the heroine sucked.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s