“Am I not merciful?”
As per usual, I am entirely late to the hype train that is Illuminae Files. Everyone was obsessed with this series when it first came out, and naturally, I am only getting started with it once the series is over. I think it was a mix of things that made me put this book off. First, it’s SciFi and I struggle so much with SciFi. I don’t know why, probably because it’s so action-packed and and plot driven. And second, I wasn’t sure how I’d bode with the mixed media format of this. Turns out, I needn’t have worried.
This book follows Kady and Ezra after their home was destroyed in a war between two rival megacorporations. It’s told through a series of texts, documents and schematics, and it follows the aftermath of those events and Kady and Ezra’s lives aboard two spaceships and their fight for their lives.
I really loved the way this book is structured. The format worked really well for me. I found that some people had issues with it, and could not connect with the story, but this format worked in the opposite way for me. I was way more invested in this story through these emails, and transcriptions and whatnot than I would have been if this was written in the traditional way. It kept me engaged in a really action-packed story where I wouldn’t have necessarily been engaged otherwise. And it’s really cool to read a story through images and texts and schematics. Especially in this genre. This is the perfect format for this genre and that’s why I think it worked really well.
I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book. Our two main characters, Kady and Ezra, are awesome. Kady is a badass and she is super smart and I absolutely loved her. And Ezra is this goofy and valiant guy and I always love characters like him, so I love him too. I don’t think they are incredibly unique characters, I don’t think they have a lot of layers to them (yet!) but I still really enjoyed them as characters.
And my favorite aspect of this story was AIDAN. He is the AI of the ship and he is batshit crazy which is always fun. I always love AIs and their cold-hearted rationality, and I think AIDAN was a great addition to the story. Because he is not really a villain and he isn’t really evil. He is a program and I think that allows for a really great exploration of right and wrong and morality which is great, even though it didn’t really go as deep as it could have.
Ultimately, this book was pure fun. Like I said, I really was engaged at all times, and I was always excited to pick this back up. I stayed up late to read it and I finished it pretty quickly. Which all goes to show how much I was enjoying myself while reading. It’s a really fast-paced, engaging and fun read and I really appreciated it for what it was. It’s exactly the kind of book I needed and it delivered on all fronts.
My one grievance with this book is that I found Kady and Ezra’s relationship to be really cringey. So much that I was really put off by reading their texts. Maybe it was the fact that it was texts and not actual conversations, but I felt it was really awkward and just bleh at times.
And there were points where the format did not work for the story. For example, there were bad things happening and people dying and just awful stuff, and then we get Kady and Ezra’s reactions to such events in this format: “:(” . It just felt silly and sort of stripped the book of levity and seriousness. Which might be the point, but I found incredibly annoying.
All in all, I highly recommend this novel. It’s so much fun and it’s a really cool concept and I think that it’s something that will keep a lot of different readers engaged.
Final verdict: 4 stars
I would love to hear from you! Have you read this one? Or do you plan to? How did you like it if you have? Let me know!
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