Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why Illuminae is a Great Science Fiction Novel

Recently, I read a little book (or maybe not so little, it comes in at around 600 pages) that you may have heard of if you've been on Goodreads or any book blogs within the last few months. That book is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Illuminae tells the heart-pounding story of Kady Grant and Ezra Mason after their planet was invaded by hostile forces. They quickly become major players in the survival of the remaining members of their colony and learn that getting back to civilization is going to be a harder task than they ever realized.

Why did I enjoy it so much? That's what I'm here to tell you.

1. The format is unique.

I love interesting and new ways of writing something on a page, and Illuminae did not disappoint. Written entirely in chat room logs, interviews and records, it gives a new perspective on practically every major event in the story. This is what first intrigued me about the book and also probably why I picked it up in the first place, and it entirely lived up to and exceeded my expectations.

2. It's true sci-fi.

You know how there are those books that are pitched as sci-fi but really aren't? This is true, hard-core sci-fi all the way. It's got space and spaceships and colonies on new planets and adventure and intrigue and AIs, and it is marvelous. Illuminae is everything I love wrapped up in a book.

3. It has heart.

While reading this book, I felt connected and invested. The things that happened to these characters in this story meant something to me. It never becomes cold, it only grows more emotionally hard-hitting as the story line progresses. This story had passion and snark, and it's hard to say too much about it.

4. The love story is adorable.

Kady and Ezra's relationship is not easy. But it is deep and true. They have their moments of disagreements, and they've just broken up before the events at the beginning of the book. However, they still deeply care about each other.

5. It never slows down.

This book never lets up. I was never bored and there were so many twists and turns of the plot that I never saw coming. I read it slowly (even though I wanted to read it faster), and I'm very glad I took the time to really savor it! Even though it was 600 pages long, it wasn't too long at all, and the length just added to the immersion of the story. This is an unusual reaction for me, as I tend to gravitate more towards short and concise stories.

Illuminae gave me a new perspective on what it means to be a human. It showed me fantastic human ingenuity and survival. But most of all, it's just a really good story.

Do you like science fiction? Have you read Illuminae?


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