Wow. Just wow. I finished reading this last night, and stayed up waaay too late to do so considering my alarm was set for 5am. There are not enough words to describe how much I loved it. If Battlestar Galactica was done as a book series, this would be how it was presented.
From the blurb:
The year is 2575 and two mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice covered speck. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them Ezra and Kady have to make their escape on the evacuating fleet. But their troubles are just beginning. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships and it is mutating with terrifying results. Their ships protection is seriously flawed. No one will say what is going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth its clear only one person can help her. Ezra. And the only problem with that is they split up before all this trouble started and she isn’t supposed to be talking to him. A fantastically original, heart-stopping adventure where everything is definitely more dangerous than it seems.
It is difficult to describe the writing style used in Illuminae, as I’ve never seen anything quite like it; you will either love it or hate it. The story isn’t told as a linear narrative from a third or even first person perspective, it is a collection of instant messenger screen grabs, audio file transcripts, descriptions of video footage, diagrams… This is a strange mix of graphic novel and novel. The style is similar to What She Left by T.R.Richmond, but not quite the same. The way that the story is presented makes the characters seem really as soon as you start reading.
On the day that their planet is attacked high school students Kady & Ezra broke up. Then Bei Technologies started to attack and they were lucky enough to be rescued by the military ship Alexander. Ezra was conscripted, and started pilot training whereas Kady transferred onto the science ship Hypatia with her mother. The Alexander was damaged during the rescue, so it will take 6-7 months for the fleet to get to a safe location, with the Beighton Technology ship Lincoln in pursuit.
I picked this up to look at when my husband needed to get something from the bookshop, and I was still reading it 20 minutes later. I was hooked from the get go.
The characters of Kady and Ezra are completely realistic to me, I love how fiery Kady is, how flippant Ezra can be. The sense of camaraderie, and love that you get from the interchanges between the characters is wonderful.
My favourite character of all has to be the Alexander’s Artificial Intelligence operating system Aidan. Oh and the “Analyst” who reviews the video footage for the files is hilarious.
This is a long book – 599 pages, but in spite (or perhaps because) of the unfamiliar format I found myself racing through it.
The overall book is presented as an investigation into the attack of the planet, so all of the swearing is blacked out. It reminds me of the bleeped over swearing in the X-Files episode Jose Chung’s From Outer Space. I bleeping love that episode.
Apparently Plan B and Warner Brothers are developing this into a film; I’m not sure how that would work, as the charm of the book is mostly in how it is presented. It makes for a unique reading experience, but I would definitely go and see the film. The sequel Gemina is out in October this year and I can’t wait!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.