Where do I even begin? I haven’t given five stars to a novel in ages, but this book deserves twice that many. As mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of meeting both Amie Kaufman (for the second time) and Jay Kristoff at the Sydney book launch of Illuminae. The way the authors talked about their book had me intrigued (and keen to get the audio book as well as see how well it translated into an e-book format).
Flicking through the novel for the first time, I was filled with a keen curiosity and a stomach churning trepidation. How good can a narrative be when told through emails, government reports, and interviews? Would I relate to the two main characters when the majority of their perspectives are told through dialogue alone, and most of their interactions occur through messaging?
I shouldn’t have worried so much.
At times it was heartbreakingly and gut wrenchingly tragic, but it had its moments of humour and joy, and the relationships between the characters were genuine and touching. The science felt authentic and I adored the flawed AI called AIDEN. The narrative alone was brilliant, but what really sets this novel out from the rest is its creative layout. The graphics are exceptional. Each page is set out to reflect the content. My favourites include the movement of spaceships reflected in the collection of words across pages of star studded black, and AIDEN’s poetry that literately bounces across the pages. Climaxes are that much more explosive, while the moments of quiet misery are all the more poignant. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the next books in the series.
Check out the Illuminae Files website here.