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Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she'd ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship could be the least of their problems. 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 biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


First published October 20, 2015

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About the author

Amie Kaufman

32 books12.8k followers
Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her multi-award winning work is slated for publication in over 30 countries, and is in development for film and TV. Raised in Australia and occasionally Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and daughter, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library. She is the host of the podcasts Amie Kaufman on Writing, and Pub Dates.

You can sign up for her newsletter to see what she's working on, hear when she releases a new book, and be automatically entered for giveaways: https://amiekaufman.substack.com/

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5 stars
75,546 (50%)
4 stars
45,990 (30%)
3 stars
18,031 (12%)
2 stars
5,990 (4%)
1 star
2,964 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 29,539 reviews
November 11, 2015
DNF at 30%

This book is written in epistolary format, and it has the honor of being the most annoying book I've read this year. Some people love that stuff. I ain't one of them. I love space shit. Firefly. Star Wars (yes, EVEN THE NEWER ONES). Star Trek (I loved Enterprise and I don't care who knows it). This book was just terrible and terribly formatted.

The first few chapters are entirely interviews. It was annoying as shit. It didn't endear me to the main characters, and it explain nothing. Interviews are nigh on useless for building a memorable introduction, unless it is in the hands of an extremely skilled writer. Not the case here.

So right off we have an annoying girl who's thinking about her ex bf when the invasion occurred (huh?). I have no idea where we are. I have no idea what year it is. I don't know what a Kerenza whatever is.
Interviewer: Wait, you people had a subway system? I thought this settlement was illegal?
Ezra Mason: Chum, the Kerenza mine operated undetected for twenty years. Whole families lived there. You know how far from the Core we are, right?

Bad start. And it didn't get much better. After what seems like 10000000 pages of interviews, all of a sudden we're at war (still no idea where we are, what year it is, how we got here, etc.) and then young people are getting conscripted for the military.
Anyone showing C-grade ability or better is to be conscripted the day they hit eighteen. We need pilots. We need gunners. We need spanner monkeys and chipheads. And we need them now.

This is an unprecedented situation—to my knowledge, no stellarcorp has ever openly attacked a United Terran Authority ship. I don’t care if BeiTech Industries’ litigation department has enough red tape to gift-wrap a small moon. These corporations need to learn nobody is above the law and nobody attacks a UTA vessel without consequences.

There are battle ships and specs of battle ships.

Do I give a fuck? No, I don't. There are cool pictures. There are snippets of things I couldn't give two shits about. What I want is a sensible story, and I didn't get that here. I got a headache instead.

By 30%, I still have no idea what the fuck is going on. I concede, my brain prefers structure. If you're into this stuff, good for you. It's just not for me.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
August 1, 2015
Visually, Illuminae is an extremely fun and unique kind of book. It's a romantic space opera told through a collection of interview transcripts, diary entries, emails and gorgeous space images like this:

Sounds amazing, no? If I was rating solely based on cool ideas, this would get a bajillion stars.

A book this attractive should not be boring and yet the most exciting things about it - by far - were the unusual style and graphics. The story itself - of a planet being invaded in 2575 - simply didn't hold my attention. I found myself wanting to skim read many of the pages. Maybe it was because the lovers at the centre of the novel were boring caricatures of teenagers.

Maybe it was because of the detailed scientific descriptions and diagrams of spaceships:

Maybe it was the tiresome and dull "Unipedia" pages that made me feel like I was studying for an essay:

But mostly I think it was because of the teens in love. Kady embodies the definition of a "strong heroine" but doesn't actually have a personality beyond that. Her entire characterization is built around badass girl power and I almost want to love that fact, but she never felt like a person. She felt like a cardboard cutout delivering snarky toughness.

The conversations between her and Ezra feel forced, like someone reading off a script:

It's the kind of book that looks way better from far away.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Profile Image for Jay Kristoff.
Author 43 books24.5k followers
November 9, 2014
ILLUMINAE is the classic tale of Girl Meets Boy:


Girl Loses Boy:


And Parents:


And Planet:


and Ends Up on a Crippled Spaceship:


with a Mad Computer:


and a Deadly Virus Outbreak:


in the Middle of an Interstellar War:


It's without a doubt the coolest book I've ever written.

I'm pretty sure you've never read a book like it.

So . . . enjoy!
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
November 20, 2015
WOW. THIS WAS GOOD. It took me quite some time to really get into the story, but after around the 200 page mark I was hooked!
Profile Image for Regan.
457 reviews110k followers
June 9, 2023
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
302 reviews40.2k followers
July 17, 2015
There is no way in hell that I could possibly describe what's going through my head right now. I don't think I'll be functional for a little while.
I'll get back to you on this, but just know it blew me away. Far, far away.
Review coming closer to August, MWAHAHAHH! Wait, October now? Sucks for you that publication was pushed back :P)
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
546 reviews34.7k followers
February 25, 2019
”You picked a hell of a day to dump me, Kades.”

I swear the interviews with those two at the beginning of the book are certainly among the best introductions to a new series I ever read. I mean OMG!!!


I’m still not over it!! I swear when I started to read it I really didn’t know a lot about “Illuminae”. There were only three things I knew and I had absolutely no idea how it would work out for me.

1.) It’s a sci-fi series.
2.) The format is kinda weird and apparently the audio book is the shit!
3.) The hype around it is so real that it’s almost a physical thing.

Well, enough reasons to pick up the book and to give it a try, right? If only I would have known what I was signing up to. *lol* Nothing, really NOTHING prepared me for the things that were about to come. I was totally swept away by this book and its events and yet… yet there were many typical tropes I already read about a thousand times.

BUT tell you what?! It worked!!! And damn did it work!!! I dunno how Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann did it but this was so, so, SO GOOD!!! The suspense was killing me and whenever I had to stop to read all I wanted to do was to continue. I mean a virus outbreak in one of the ships… My first reaction was “Been there, done that, got the freaking t-shirt”, but WOW once you dive into the story, once you get used to the format it’s almost like you’re actually there, like you’re fighting alongside Ezra and Kady and this was just awesome!

”The victim often seeks physical comfort (hand holding, embraces), ultimately increasing the chances of spreading infection. It’s genius, really. Awful, horrifying genius.”

I think you can already tell that I’m struggling for words. It’s so hard to put this experience into coherent sentences! All I can say is that this book is swallowing you whole and then spits you out at the most crucial point. And there were plot twists!!! JEEZ!! Were there plot twists! The kind of plot twists that turn your entire world upside down and leave you gasping on the ground!


The best thing about the entire book were the characters though. They made it all so authentic and realistic and I found myself hoping they would make it while I sent prayers into thin air. Which should give you a good impression about how attached I got to them. Plus I had a crush on all three of them! I love Kady and Ezra and I ADORE, I ABSOLUTELY ADORE AND LOVE AIDAN!!!! <3333
And their conversations! Their humour and easy banter, the bitter truth that was hidden within it so casually. This was nothing but awesome! Let me introduce those three!

The characters:

Beware! You’re entering my characters section now and there might be spoilers ahead of you. Either you rearrange your course or you head straight into unknown non-terrestrial territory. ;-P


”That’s so not your business it almost punches clean past the event horizon of Not Your Business and becomes Your Business again.”

Haha! Oh gosh, I loved him from the very first moment I read about him. This boy was such a precious snowflake and he had a mouth on him! *LOL* I lived and breathed for the moments he appeared. He was really such a sweet guy and behind all the cussing and swearing he was a real romantic! <3 I can understand why he loved Kady and their relationship was amazing. They were friends and lovers and all I wanted for them was to be happy and to see each other again.

”Okay, well for the benefit of the sight-impaired, I am now raising my … oh, dear… yes, it’s my middle finger at Mr. Postgrad here.”

”All he thinks of amid this loveless dance, all he cares about here on the edge of forever, is HER. He does not want to die. Not because he is afraid. Simply because he cannot bear the thought of leaving her behind. And there, in that tiny moment, I envy him.”


”If I lose Ezra too, it’ll be one body blow too many.
If I lose Ezra too, I’ll give up.
I don’t think I have anyone else left.
But while I have him, I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep us safe. Whatever it takes.”

Kady! *sighs deeply* Wow! Just wow! I rarely read about such a fierce heroine and despite being so small she was so brave and A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! I mean she literally took it up with the entire world and nothing, really nothing that happened ever managed to get her down! She got up time and again and she never stopped fighting! That inner strength and iron will! *whistles* I guess I was a goner the moment she appeared in the book. <333 I love my precious girl and she needs to be protected at all costs! (She’d probably kick my behind for that statement though. *lol*)

”She is a tief. A whisper.
Melting through curtains of code and shadow
Like a knife through black water.

”ByteMe: see u soon
ByteMe: or die trying
ByteMe: haha”


”And now, with no other option,
They have turned to me.
Plucked me back from the black they left me in.
Thinking I will save them.”

And here comes the character I truly loved the most! AIDAN the AI!!! Yes, you read right! I absolutely loved and adored AIDAN!!! GAH! I worship AIDAN! I’m utterly and deeply in love with him/her/it! I carry a torch for AIDAN! I’m so besotted with this AI, it’s not even normal anymore! *lol* AIDAN was such a deep character and so very, very human! This AI had such a beautiful soul! I loved every single word he/she/it thought and said. And I really dunno what this says about me. *lol* My buddy and I even wondered if this makes me AI-phile or robo-phile?! XD Is there even a word for the state of falling in love with an AI? I can’t even tell you what made me fall head-over-heels for AIDAN but I guess it was the amazing mixture of a morally grey character that only wants the best for his people but choses the wrong means to achieve that goal. All I know is that I love AIDAN and that I really, really hope to see more of him in the next book! <333

Funnily enough I read the interview with Amie and Jay at the end of the book and Jay explained his feelings about AIDAN like that: ”I think it’s the deepest character I’ve ever written, which is odd considering it’s a machine. I dunno what it says about me that the mass-murdering artificial intelligence affected me the most. Nothing good, probably.”

Haha! I can relate to that statement so much! SAME, Jay! SAME! XD

”Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

”Before this moment, I have never wished
To be something other than what I am.
Never felt so keenly the lack of hands with which to
Touch, the lack of arms with which to hold.”

”How many people have loved only to have lost?
How countless, the hopes that have died?”


I loved this book with every fibre of my heart. There was never a dull moment; I was constantly on the edge of my seat and I bit my thumbnail about a thousand times. *lol* If there ever was a definition of suspense you’d probably find a picture of “Illuminae” next to the word in the dictionary. Yes, it was that good! ;-) If you’re still hesitating to read this book just because of the strange format: Just pick it up! Read it! Feel it! Get swept away in the tide and enjoy that freaky outer space ride! You won’t regret it! XD

And last but not least I want to thank my witchling for that super amazing buddy read! We’re one of the best buddy read teams ever and I can’t wait to dive into “Gemina” with you! I enjoyed this br so much! It was a lot of fun to guess the outcome of the ending and to wonder about what would happen next and I’m so glad we decided to read this together! To another hundred buddy reads with you. ;-P (Did you really think I’d let you off the hook?! *lol*)
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
October 19, 2020
im not a fan of audiobooks, but re-reading this while listening to the audio was such a cool experience. it just added another layer to an already immersive book. 10/10 would recommend.

this is, hands down, one of the most unique and exciting books i have ever read. like, how cool is the format?! hacked emails, court marshal documents, security surveillance, case files, and stunning artwork. i am absolutely blown away by the level of detail in this work of genius! i cant even imagine the amount of effort that went into creating this.

it is safe to say that i have not, and will never, read a book as involved as this. i felt so engaged throughout it and the plot itself was sooo thrilling. it was the right amount of sci-fi, thriller, and teen love/drama.

i. am. obsessed.

5 stars
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
December 18, 2018
Not to be dramatic but I feel like I've just went through 9 different emotions within the last two minutes and at any given moment now, I'm going to explode and become an entire fucking solar system.

Anyway, I'm sorry this review is a mess but since I can't even write bad poetry in an attempt to get my feelings outside of myself and until the universe sends me my next favorite person so I can unload all my emotional baggage on them...this hellsite will have to do.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

● First of all, I want you guys to know that the only thing that is constant in my life is my love for this series....and my ability to fall back on “sorry just got your text” but anyway
● with that being said, I feel like we should collectively admit how scary it is reading this book when you have no skills and no passions and when you want to Do something but mainly, you really just want to lie down… doing nothing
● like, I just realized that I’m not really adding anything to the universe or anyone’s individual experience, I’m basically just racking up the water bill
● but these kids? they know how to use missiles, fly rockets, hack computers and dezombie giant spaceships while also going through break ups and heartaches and all kind of interpersonal problems
● this is just my humble opinion but you guys are literally just 17 years old. Your life should only revolve around two things: 1) single-handedly sabotaging your social and academic life and 2) figuring out how to take naps without accidentally time travelling to 2025
● seriously, I have an unbecoming resentment towards anyone around my age who is doing something productive with their talents, fictional or not, and therefore I feel personally attacked by this book
● I mean explain this: it was basically the apocalypse, right? guess how many characters stopped to think, ‘you know what time it is? Time to steal clothes without worrying about the retail workers whose jobs I might be putting in jeopardy or small business owners’
ZERO!! which makes me wonder....are you fucking kidding me??
● anyway, the moral of this story kids is: if you ever feel hopeless, go outside and lay in the grass and feel the coolness of the dew on your skin and look at the sky and breathe deeply… you are not alone…there’s a pink haired eighteen years old and her artificial intelligence best friend up there fighting a maniac organization that invaded her planet and I guarantee you they are IN DEEPER SHIT

● ok, the characters
● honestly, I love every single one of these characters and I am so sick of my weak disintegrating body I need to become strong enough to lift them, their family and potential pets with one hand and carry them across space......since you know, people tend to die in this book


“I am frequently underestimated. I think it's because I'm short.”

● I want to be someone else but kady grant is already taken and I'm not creative enough to become my own person
● kady is… how do you say… beautiful strong amazing capable badass powerful gorgeous stunnig effervescent ethereal and an angel like being
● whenever I see a fanart/edit of her, I immediately die for two seconds before she gently floats down and revives me and softly wipes my gay tears while playing the lyre
● I just love her so much I wish we could get married so we can use glittery rose gold wax to seal our invites
● and honestly I wish I had the sheer will of force to be her because it was amazing how she got through everything she didn’t think she was strong enough for
● even though her bravery was bordering on insanity and half the time, I was just like, what is she doing!!! what is she attempting to accomplish!!! what is she coercing from her soul!!! why would she cosign on this spiritual monstrosity!! STOP HER!!!
● also, girls with pastel hair make me weak in the knees so I might be slightly biased


● alright, here’s the thing: I really can’t choose between wanting to punch him and wanting to cradle him in my arms and protect him from all harm. it’s like trying to decide whether to have pizza or pasta… you never turn down double carbs!!!
● I feel like if Ezra were a real life person, he’d be tragically undateable to the masses. You would go on a dinner date with him and get drunk and share a spaghetti strand but you would never want to see him again
● he’s the kind of person who would say ‘uuh one second has passed’ when you go ‘just give me a sec’
● you know exactly that type (aka, the type you need to avoid and sacrifice to the aztec gods)
● he is kind of annoying but I love him..... and if you think that I will forever look for any excuse, any opportunity to be as inconsistent as possible in all endeavors of my life always, you are most definitely correct


“Am I not merciful?”

● ah yes, the arrogant mass-murdering psychopathic part time tortured poet giant calculator… how I’ve missed it
● so arrogant in fact that he would give Julius Caesar a run for his money
● you know Julius Caesar…the same dude who was kidnapped by the cicilian pirates and when they demanded a ransom of 620 kgs of silver, he got really angry because he thought he was worth more than that and actually made them raise it to 1550 kg??
● uh-uh
● so hey, @scientists who are actively trying to make computers learn human behavior and generally scream in existential horror, this is why you need to Stop.
● I mean as appealing as it is to have an artificial intelligence software in the form of like, a really smooth orb for company, or even… saaay uploading your consciousness into a computer…that shit is too dangerous to mess with (refer to the ‘mass-murdering’ part)
now back to fiction, AIDAN is the kind of character you love to hate but also…hate that you…lowkey…love them
● you know they’re Bad, and even if sometimes that little light escapes the darkness of their heart…they catch it again
● meaning: god is he messed up
● but you know what? the smell of burnt toast is so good sometimes... guess things are better when charred beyond recognition of their ideals


“Are you afraid?"
"Energy never stops, remember. It just changes forms."
"I am still afraid.”

● lbr, this duo is even more iconic than if dwayne “the rock” johnson was cast as sherlock holmes and vin diesel as watson
● they’re like… a fairy queen and a princess who work together to save a magical tree or something
● they are such a power couple I cannot wait for them to bring about world peace and destroy the beitech killing squad
● I mean, personally, I know I’d have way more self esteem if I had an artificial intelligence for a best friend that's for sure


“She is catalyst.
She is chaos.
I can see why he loves her.”

● no offense but if my partner doesn’t sacrifice themselves to save me from Zombie Island, do we even need these rings??
● I feel like ez and kady are that kind of couple where person A sends healthy relationship memes to person B who makes fun of them for being lame for but secretly saves to their phone
● you know... that disgustingly cute couple you cannot stand but also lowkey wanna have what they have??
● anyway, romantic love is fake but *lowers my reading glasses* I'm willing to admit I ship them for a million dollars...just saying


'I just want to be me at the end, you know?'

● james mcnulty is my favorite everything in this book and NO, this has nothing to do with the fact that I sometimes choose the least popular characters as my favorites because my borderline ass can’t handle the idea of other people liking them as much as I do
● it’s like being a proud mother at a school play and cheering every time your kid comes on stage even though they’re playing the part of tree number 4
● ok yeah maybe it has a little something to do with it but LISTEN
● I love jimmy so much, even the mention of his name feels like someone’s actively scraping out my insides with a melon baller
● uuuh…shit…I fear my tears may drown some of the front row again
● but you know, they always say to Be Yourself, I guess I came into this world crying and I am never too far from my roots

sooo, I take it I'm right in assuming we all agree that re-reading the illuminae files was the best AND worst representation of a GREAT idea. yes? good? okay
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.7k followers
August 2, 2023




I hereby award one MILLION stars to Illuminae!!!

Seriously, ALL THE STARS go to this absolute gem of YA Science Fiction!!!

I sort of feel like I was the last person in the universe to experience Illuminae. I call it an experience because, oh my stars, is it ever.

I wasn't sure going in whether or not I would be able to handle the format. Scanning through the book prior to starting, it seemed chaotic and potentially difficult to follow.

In the end, it really worked for me. Something as simple as having a black page with white font makes the reading experience so unique.

I was urged by quite a few folks to check out the audiobook, but I didn't want to miss out on any of the visual component.

I won't go into the plot here, as I feel at this point, we all pretty much get what this is about. One thing I will say though, is how impressed I was with the characters; including AIDAN. They were so well done.

I felt extremely attached to Kady and Ezra, but also, even the side characters, were well-fleshed out. At its heart, this story is an action-packed tale of love and loss. It tugged at my heartstrings, for real.

Even though it is a pretty chunky book, it went by so quickly. I didn't want it to end.

I'm not sure when I will be able to continue on with the series, but am I definitely looking forward to it!!!!
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
holy ████████ what a ████████ fantastically fun book!

i have never read anything by these authors before. i was aware of kristoff's books, having put them on channels back when i was doing that sort of thing, and i knew about kaufman, but her books had never called out to me. no disrespect, but i see a cover like this:

and my first thought is "not for me." i know my own tastes, and i know that this kind of story is not likely to speak to me.

but this book was getting pushed so hard at BEA, i was curious about it, and i'll be honest - i flipped through it and thought, "i can probably read this pretty quickly," so it got pushed to the top of the to-read stack sooner than it may otherwise have.

i don't want to give too much away, so all you need to know is that this is primarily an actiony romance that takes place in outer space told through a series of found footage, emails, schematics, internal memos, and other reports, including some pages that look like this:

 photo IMG_5390_zps7q1fjp0i.jpg

 photo IMG_5393_zpsayelx5jk.jpg

 photo IMG_5391_zpsuvjzinku.jpg

 photo IMG_5388_zpsofdi1dbr.jpg

and here's the kicker - i do not like outer space books or romance, and i am wary of ephemera-based books, having been burned too many times before. sure, there are exceptions to all rules (because -phoebe north), but i went into this as an impartial investigator - as a reviewer trying to stay on top of what is popular and what is going to be popular.

it did not grab me from the outset. there's a lot of teen-snark and flippancy, kady is SO girlpower competent and tough, ezra's supposedly witty remarks were setting my teeth on edge, and there's such a forced "look at how many women are in positions of power" show, it felt a little pandering. but that's when i was reading it as a reviewer.

there was a point where that all changed, and suddenly i was reading it in a more familiar and comfortable role - as an engaged reader; as a fan.

and it started kicking my readerly ████████.

i never did warm to the star-crossed lovers as characters, but the story itself was incredible. there is just one twist after another, and i am happy to say that i didn't see all of them coming. and one of them completely blew me away

but those are my only two gripes - not liking the characters and feeling cross at the retraction-of-ballsiness. which sounds like two things major enough to ruin the experience, but not at all, dude. this book is a gripping explosion of fun and deep space carnage, and the bonus of a kind of variation on the zombie novel. plus, AIDAN.

oh, and this:

am i not merciful

the publisher's note in the ARC predicts that this will "become the buzz phrase of 2015." and i hope it does. chills, my friends, chills…

it's clear just how much fun they had writing this. there are so many little subtle shout-outs to fellow-YA authors and easter eggs in the fine print - it's like being at a slumber party where you stay up all night telling scary stories that are punctuated by nervous giggles and you start getting really silly with lack of sleep and you're laughing but it's all so ████████ horrible.

i loved this book, and i am droolingly awaiting part two.

be merciful, and bring it to me quick.


huh. okay. now i understand why you're ballsy enough to plunge into calculated ri$k-territory to mass-produce a hardcover ARC that's nicer and more detailed than most finished books, give thousands of them away at BEA and STILL shell out for the full staircase ad:

this book's gonna sell. a lot.

it's not a perfect slam dunk, but the things i thought were thumbs-down are likely just my own personal thumbs. i will review this for real soon, but just so you know - very fun, very fast, and very unexpected.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
January 12, 2017
Ok, so I've calmed down a bit and am feeling better about this. It's amazing how many different forms this book took; in the beginning I was intrigued but felt it was a little slow moving, partially due to so many "technical sci-fi (ish)" terms and the choppy format. Amazing how it could feel so hindering yet unique at the same time. Once the stage was set though, I had a really hard time putting this down. I had no idea how many twists and turns I was in for, and I REALLY had no idea how emotional of a ride this would be. I'm glad I put this one off until I already had Gemina on hand, as I didn't realize these were more of companion novels than a linear series, as time really can't be trusted in these books. All I can say is, if by some miracle you haven't read this yet, stop reading reviews and just pick up the book! Don't let anyone ruin this for you. Also, I now understand the emotions previous readers feel while seeing the new readers status updates along the way... My poor heart is still trying to recover from the whiplash this book gave me. THANKS ALOT GUYS.

WHAT DID I JUST READ?!?!?! My feelings are feeling all of the feelies right now, and how dare you leave me hanging like that? JK, I have the next book on my shelf. My words aren't working right now, but this started out as one book and then turned into another? I feel like I've been privileged to these characters most intimate details and it makes me slightly uncomfortable in the best way. I'll think on this and try to write a real review with words and thoughts and things. MIND BLOWN.

P.S. Please make this a movie.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,942 followers
October 7, 2017
Re-read on audible and OMG! It has a full cast of characters! What fun!


Right from the start this book grabbed me! When I got it in the mail I had to put it aside for a bit until I could get to it. I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH I WOULD LOVE THIS BOOK!

I picked said book up, took of the plastic over because I thought, "I can't read it with this on!" Then... I just sat there... looking.. I could quit touching and petting the book! Yes, I touch and pet my books.. get over it :) And I opened it and saw how the lay-out was and I thought.."THIS IS GOING TO ROCK!"


I mean look at it there on my rug! It's so beautiful! And look at the inside, well one page at least...


Obviously you can read on the book that Kady and Ezra were living on a little planet with their parents. Kady had broken up with Ezra and then all hell breaks loose on the planet! The BeiTech Corp starts a war on the planet and everyone is trying to get to the ships to get the hell out of dodge. Kady ends up saving Ezra, but they end up on different ships when they take off.


Kady is on the Hypatia and Ezra is on the Alexander. They are being pursued by Bei Tech's ship called Lincoln. I'm not giving out to much information on this book because I think you really need to read it. I will just tell you that a plague breaks out on their other ship called Copernicus and some of this plague gets onto the Alexander. There is also an AI on the Alexander they call Aidan and this AI goes all wackadoo and creates havoc.

I loved how the layout is in messages, files and just ahhhhhhhhh... I love it! And there is not tons of action in the book, for those that love ALL action, it's just full of so much coolness. I can't believe how happy I am to have read such an awesome sci-fi, young adult book!


And this is a trilogy!!!! A TRILOGY!!!! Oh, I hope I don't keel over before the next two books come out! I am so excited to see if they are going to get to their destination...which I'm not telling where.. and I want to see what all is going to happen with the people that made it out alive!

I love Kady and Ezra!


If you like this type of genre just read it.. read it.. read it.. and I hope you love it as much as I do!!!!
Profile Image for  Teodora .
329 reviews1,778 followers
March 26, 2023
me: *wakes up* OHHH today I start Illuminae!!
my anxiety: are you picking up another stressful series wtf is wrong with you have mercy!
me: shut up I'm picking it up deal with it
my anxiety:

5/5 ⭐

This one started off with a panic attack. Which wasn’t great (of course, who thinks panic attacks are great?) but it also was great because it caught my attention and got me interested to the point where I was so emotionally invested that I couldn’t stop reading.

The main focus in this book was on Kady Grant – a very stubborn but very smart girl, with a big mouth and sassy attitude, who was definitely Jay Kristoff’s work of art – and Ezra Mason, the golden boy of a generation, who was actually a very sweet and brave lad. Oh, and he was very much in love with Kady. They were actually such a sweet couple and there was indeed something that kept them together through all that uncertain distance. I loved their story.


Also, in this book, there was a nasty-ass virus roaming around space in the year 2575. Honestly, this whole thing was like a welcome slap in the face from whatever the hell is happening on this planet right now in 2020.

Like, they were even supposed to wear their damn face masks out there! Does it sound familiar? *wink wink*
Crazy, I know. But they did wear their face masks. In outer space. Points for that.

But now, this whole book was kind of nuts, action-wise and character-wise. Everything and everyone was a certain shade of crazy, which – mind you – gave me multiple heart attacks in a very short period of time.

And AIDAN was a computerised maniac and no one can change my mind about that. Even though it had its little moments.

All in all, brilliant book.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
August 3, 2018
Mind boggled.
1: due to confusion.
2: it was damn good!

This’ll take a while for me to process. For now what I can say though as much as I loved the format, it made a little difficult for me to completely connect with it. It would through me off at times as there wasn’t your typically well-known flow and I had to try and grasp the story each time. And quite often.
It was quite technical. I mean, I loved it since everything was so fascinating, but some things I just couldn’t grasp.

The best part was definitely the characters. Kady, Aidan and Ezra were awesome and so easy to love!
Plus I loved the sarcasm that was infused into the story.

I’m really intrigued to see how this story will develop.


Pre-reading thoughts.
I’m hella late to the party, but I’m expecting greatness.
And greatness had better be what I get.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
September 2, 2017
4.5 stars

This book is incredible! Definitely the most unique reading experience i've never had. It felt like you were in a video game, or watching a sci-fi movie. I absolutely love the way it was written and all the cool page designs and the way that the world is established is very immersive and you feel like you're a hacker reading into life on this spaceship. I love how the authors were able to write such a variety of different scenes and voices, for example how the Artificial Intelligence unit of the spaceship having a completely unique and separate tone than that of the sassy main character. I surprisingly really liked the hint of romance that was in this, and more than once I was giggling out loud at scenes where the characters were joking around in chat rooms. The only reason I took off a half star from this book is that because of the POV, I felt like you lost a little bit of the character descriptions and explanation of the plot. It takes a while to really figure out what's happening and in the end I was left slightly confused about what the Illuminae is, and it was hard to visualize a couple of action events due to most of the narrative taking place strictly through dialogue. But overall I highly recommend you pre-order this! I will be buying a finished copy because i'm so excited to see the pages that were incomplete in my advanced copy!!!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
March 12, 2018
There is so much hype surrounding this book, but after seeing Gemina make so many of my friends' "Favorite Books Published in 2016" lists, I couldn't ignore this series any longer. I also knew that it was told in a multimedia format, filled with interviews and IM conversations, and that made me a little apprehensive. This book was so unexpectedly addictive.

This story starts off in a much further progressed world, in both years and technology, than ours, on a hidden and secluded planet far, far away. Our two main protagonists, Kady and Ezra, have just broken up, and despite the awkwardness they are forced to be in class with one another. That is, until their hidden and secluded planet comes under attack, and they have to rely on each other to reach the evacuation ships.

Once safe, they are forced to board different ships, Kady on Hypatia, and Ezra on Alexander, and there is also a third ship in their fleet, Copernicus. These three ships are literally running for their lives and being pursued by an enemy battleship, the Lincoln, but they soon realize that the enemy catching up to them isn't the only thing that is putting them in danger.

This story will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, while you constantly tell yourself "just one more page" until you look at the clock and see it is 3AM. It is action packed, and the format is so easy to read, that these 600 pages will feel like 300 pages.

You won't only fall in love with Kady and Ezra, but you will also fall in love with the whole ensemble of side characters. You'll laugh and you'll cry. You'll be surprised and oh so anxious. You will feel like an absolute fool for not reading it sooner.

So why did I give this four stars? Because I couldn't help but be constantly reminded of Dead Space. Don't get me wrong, this book is still completely unique in its formatting and execution, but once the very climatic parts on Alexander started happening, I kept picturing myself playing that damn video game franchise.

AIDAN was my favorite, hands down. Kudos to both of these very talent authors for making that AI seem so scary, heartbreaking, and real. His points of view made this book for me, and once we got to those points of view, I couldn't stop turning the pages.


I was also surprised by all the twists and turns. Like, one of them was a little predictable, but the rest honestly did blindside me, especially that ending. How could you not want to immediately pick up Gemina after that ending?

I also feel like this book would be pretty universally liked, if you don't mind the format. Like, I would totally recommend this to everyone; Sci-Fi lover or not. My only regret is not reading it sooner, because I was scared of the hype train, but now I have Goodreads and my amazing friends to thank for another beloved book in my collection.

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Profile Image for Ryan.
51 reviews374 followers
February 16, 2017
Actual final rating: 4.5/5 stars

Buddy (re)read with my girls:
Jenn, Luna, Em (Kazzexual), Sana, and Mayflower


This book was epic. Epic, I tell you!


I'm a huge sci-fi fan. As I've mentioned a hundred times over, that stuff is my shit. (Which is why I have filled this review with completely irrelevant Doctor Who gifs, and only Doctor Who gifs. You're welcome.)


I think you know the drill by now: I warn the reader of the sheer multitude of gifs and fangirling coming their way, state more than once that "this is not a review, but more of a mess of my thoughts", et cetera, et cetera.

Illuminae had everything I loved: brilliant storytelling, lovable characters, and a chilling, captivating plot.

"Nothing ceases to exist. Energy does not perish, it merely changes forms. The ones you love, the ones you lose, they still exist as long as the cosmos does."

The main reason I bought this book was because of how hyped it was on Booktube, and how fucking glorious the cover is. It's okay to judge a book by it's cover in this case. I was not disappointed.


The characters were absolutely hilarious. One second I was stressing over the fate of the Alexander and the next:


"Discarded message:
Also, my friend here is wondering about the survivors lists becauseASDLKDGFKNDFGJBE MORE SUBTLE KADY LIKE A BRICK WHY DON'T YOU?"

"McNulty, J, Sgt: and if that works
McNulty, J, Sgt: u must name ur first kid james in my honour
Mason, E, LT, 2nd: >_>
McNulty, J, Sgt: if it's a daugher u name it jamette
Mason, E, LT, 2nd: 0_o"

"It's obvious he's got no ****ing idea what he's about - I mean, 'is in-experienced in matters of computer espionage.' (Shut up, I'm being professional.)"

Funnily enough, the writing style I loathed in Firstlife, I adored in Illuminae. It fit much better with the formatting, and didn't seem unnecessarily forced.

There were plenty of fantastic characters but my favourite had to be AIDAN. Yeah. The sociopathic artificial intelligence is my favourite character, and I don't know what that says about me. His It's scenes and back-and-forth with Kady was brilliant.

Kady: 'The meat? The incident? That's what you're calling them?'
Kady: 'People aren't just ****ing meat. And killing hundreds of them wasn't an incident. It was a massacre.'
Kady: 'I've heard this song before.'

Now, you may be thinking, "Ryan, if you loved this book so much, why'd you give it 4 stars instead of 5?"


Here comes the not-so-fangirly part of the review: There was an extreme lack of world building, and I almost lost interest towards the middle. The universe Kaufman and Kristoff created was wonderful - I wanted to know more about it, but sadly, it was never elaborated on to the degree I wished. Criticism aside, I had so much fun reading this book, and I suggest need you read it, too.

Illuminae: Now run.
Profile Image for the burning dreamer..
266 reviews556 followers
May 19, 2017
my heart.
is going to.
E X P L O D E.

Since my brain is still a cacophony of 1's and 0's and !!!!!!'s and fUCK's, I thought I'd walk you through it in gif form:






And that about sums up what Illuminae will do to you. Are you ready? Probably not. It's a motherfucking zombie apocalypse in outer space.

Do it anyway.

Even if the wikipedia-like texts and dossier narrative style turns you off. Especially if they do, because believe me you, I was in that same boat as you and now my mind's been blown in two.

Have a blast!

P.S. You may want to brush up on your collection of swear words beforehand, chum. You'll see why.

Book Song: Synthetic Epiphany - Rebirth
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
February 8, 2016
wow wow wow wow wow wow wow. My brain can't keep up with my emotions!

There are very few times when I actually wish I could give a book more than 5 stars. VERY FEW.

And yet, this is one of those times. I am blown away.

Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing. Review to come.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews941 followers
June 1, 2017
Surveillance footage summary,
prepared by
Analyst ID 8759-6294-DN

Subject known as 'Mary' is experiencing high levels of emotional distress while reading. Her demeanor is rapidly shifting from joy & mirth to shock & indignation and then back again. Facial expressions accordingly. Thirty minutes ago she slammed the book closed and tossed it away from her with the purest look of terror I have ever witnessed, but now she's back with her nose buried between the pages. Seriously, what the ███ is wrong with this ████? I mean, ahem... Is the subject even enjoying her read? Sometimes it is hard for a poor data analyst to tell...

♥ √v^‒√v^√‒√v^√v^√‒√v^√―――――――――――――――

Ok enough messing around! Truth is, I really enjoyed this read.

While the story was engrossing, it wasn't something I've never seen before. The real champion of this book is the format.

I am a lover of Science Fiction. I live for the spacey-wacey stuff. Spaceships & science & technological advancements & humans contemplating their place in the cosmos.

Yes please.

But never before have a seen a format so unique as this one. To lay out the story in the form of incident reports & analyst summaries & internal chat logs was genius in my book.

The illustrations on each page are absolutely stunning. It's difficult to do something new in a time when so much as already been thought of, but Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman achieve a new level of individuality with The Illuminae Files series.

It kept my attention locked in place, I was dying to turn each page and know how things would play out. There were a couple times where I feel the creator of a document has a bit more information than they're likely to (such as describing how a character on a camera feed is feeling), but it was mostly necessary to give the characters more depth.

The pace was lightning quick & there were moments when I felt genuinely emotional over the twists & turns being thrown at me. A handful of really excellent characters & circumstances made for a very fun read!

**Below this point I discuss a couple spoilery things that made this a 4 star read for me instead of a 5. Click at your own risk.**

I'd definitely recommend this for everyone.

Even if you're not a fan of Young Adult fiction, this story isn't plagued by many of the flaws of that genre. Even if you're not a fan of Science Fiction, the book is intelligently written without being overly complicated & the pace keeps you on your toes.

Super excited for Gemina!

This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!

Long awaited Buddy Read with my lovelies Tweebs, Celeste, and Haifa!!
Profile Image for Natalie.
567 reviews3,196 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 4, 2016

I tried picking this up and continuing multiple times, but I just can't do it. I think I'm going to have to put it down for now.
The whole Unipedia sections were not working for me, it felt too much like homework?? And I started skipping a lot and then not understanding anything...

Maybe (hopefully) I'll pick it up closer to Gemina's release and somehow enjoy it more then?

This review and more can be found on my blog.
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