Nitzan Schwarz's Reviews > Illuminae

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
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4.5 stats

Well, the hype's not wrong.

I admit I was REALLY hesitant to start this one. First, the hype is really daunting. What if I end up NOT loving it the same way everyone else did?? That would *suck*. So sometimes, I kind of succumb to the Schrodinger's cat idea. Then, this book is HUGE. I have this... thing... with huge books. And by that I mean it takes me 89 years to decided to finally open them up because it's such a big time investment.

So, let's address both of these things. Clearly, from the rating, I loved this book. THE CAT IS ALIVE! This book was such a strange amalgamation of formats and styles but it worked gloriously. The characters manage to shine through even though so very little of it is directly through their eyes, or describes them directly. That's a definite plus. And it will give you feelings. Painful ones, for the most part, but...

As for the size, it kind of meant nothing in the end? If this book had been written in the "traditional" way, it would probably be a good ol' regular 300 pages book. But since this is not, and the book is also kind of a visual experience, you ended up with a ton of BEAUTIFUL one word/sentence pages or things of that kind. It's absolutely stunning, and it makes the pages fly so darn quickly.

So, the story itself, because I've been rumbling for AGES. It's one of the most terrifying things I've ever read of. I absolutely hate story-lines like this because they make me so fucking terrified but at the same time, I couldn't look away??? There is EVERYTHING that I hate about it. The big bad? It's a giant CORPORATION. I vastly prefer super villains stories or things of that nature. You can just kill the man and it ends, but corporations are a sticky business and it always feels to me far harder to read kill. They're like hydras! Then you have a BIO-WEAPON. Literal chills. Especially with this one, because it turns people into monsters. Although, I hope they explore that one more in the next books. It's kind of weird how they all react differently but they all don't want you to look at them? What is the virus attacking to make that happen? It seems... weird. And finally, we have an AI GONE MAD! Like, why did you have to put all the terrifying things together in one book??? (*whispers: although I kind of liked AIDAN)

And who're the heroes facing these gigantic problems? Well, on paper, it's Ezra Mason and Kady Grant, two love-sick teenagers. Yeah, you read that right. Oh, this book is EXCELLENT in making you see the other people working around it (i.e the grownups and commanders), but unfortunately, those people are not the main characters so for the most part, their fate is unguaranteed. Or guaranteed to be bad. The ones who are going to sort-of-maybe-in-a-way beat it are the teens. And it... works? It does. Fantastically. Amazing,

But notice I started this whole thing with "on paper"? THIS IS KADY GRANT'S STORY. Ezra Mason is there, and maybe he'll have a bigger part to play in the future, but this is 100% Kady's novel. SHE'S the one who does everything, the one we focus on, the one we get a short peek into with her journals. She's the one several people grow to love throughout the book. We basically follow only her for the last 15% of it or so. And I mean, I get it. I get people falling in love with this girl. I get her being the main character. She is fierce, she is smart and she is unyielding. She would sacrifice herself for the many, but she will do so as a last resource. Also, she's a pretty teenager with pink hair. If this was an anime, the pink hair alone would point her out as the protagonist.

As for Ezra Mason, I like this guy. Ezra is loyal, charming, a good friend and he's very much in love with his ex even six months later. He's an athlete but definitely not a rebel. And that's about what I feel like I know of this guy.

And here's the problem I had with the book. Here is where that half star went. The least well-developed part of this giant work of art is KADY & EZRA'S RELATIONSHIP. It is entirely un-based, and as it is the motivation for many things, that kind of sucked. We meet these two *after* their break up. They have been dating for a year before that. We don't get to see ANY of these things. We barely hear about their past as a couple. We don't get to experience anything of what made them fall in love or why. We don't even really get to understand the scope of their emotions to one another. Oh, they're cute together. Their banter was a winning point. But... but I still didn't get it. Why they loved each other so much to give up so much. It's all based on this shared past that I was not privy to, and that's the ONE place where I felt the novel kind of lacked.

Final note, enter this novel expecting to lose your heart. I cried in this one. It is BRUTAL. And no one is safe. So be prepared for that. I have a feeling it would get worse before it will get better....


Because I saw the beautiful hardcover I had to order it alongside the kindle edition so I could stare at it!! It looks GORGEOUS but unfortunately came a little banged up from TBD. That's a first for me - their boxes usually hold pretty well but this one was shockingly flimsy for such a giant book. Regardless, it is still gorgeous to look at and will surely make me read it soon!
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Quotes Nitzan Liked

Jay Kristoff
“Am I not merciful?”
Jay Kristoff, Illuminae

Amie Kaufman
“She is catalyst.
She is chaos.
I can see why he loves her.”
Amie Kaufman, Illuminae

Reading Progress

August 8, 2017 – Shelved
August 8, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 21, 2018 – Started Reading
April 21, 2018 –
page 42
6.98% "Part of me still doesn't believe I am really reading this, but the other part is just screaming "FINALLY!""
April 21, 2018 –
page 64
10.63% "The last part was really confusing to me. Did the Alexander destroy one of its own ships with all the people aboard, and then order their fighters to kill all the survivors? Is that what happened? WTF? Who's the bad guy in this one?? EVERYONE????
Also, the casualty list & images are really powerful."
April 22, 2018 –
page 309
51.33% "Welp. This is just getting worse and worse, isn't it? I love it yet I hate it."
April 23, 2018 –
page 362
60.13% "You know what? I didn't really need my heart anyway..."
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 01-first-in-series
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 02-young-adult
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 03-sci-fi
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 05-romance
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: cliffhanger
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: kindle
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: long-time-span
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: made-me-cry
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: multiple-pov
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: naked-cover-galore
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: physical-copy
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: related-swag
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: sale-bargain
April 24, 2018 – Shelved as: z-2018-physical
April 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 26, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites

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