THE ILLUMINAE FILES – the best sci-fi book of the year (the last five years? the decade?)

Nothing like a gorgeous new book to finally inspire me to write a blog post. This month was the release of GEMINA – the sequel to ILLUMINAE by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, a NYT bestseller. But before you get to GEMINA, you have to read ILLUMINAE!

For those of you who haven’t held it in your hands – you have never seen a book like this! It is what the first word processor was to typewriters, what the iPhone was to the Blackberry, what a bottle of Laphroaig is to a Gin Tonic. A totally new type of reading experience, one that will change the way books are written and read.

There is no narrator. The book is a file compiled from various sources to tell the story of Kady and Ezra – a couple of teenagers, whose planet becomes a victim in the war between two intergalactic corporations. The documents in the file include chat records, ship intercoms, secret diaries, surveillance footage (transcribed by the funniest video technician you’ve ever met), excerpts from Unipedia (the 25th-century space version of Wikipedia) and even the (in)human thoughts of a supercomputer. Told this way, the story becomes so immediate, so real, that you start wondering whether Mr. Kristoff and Ms. Kaufman didn’t just get these files faxed down from space.

The main character is Kady – a teenage hacker prodigy – who, after the attack on her planet, is forced to escape to a fleet of spaceships together with several thousand survivors. The evil corporation’s dreadnought chases the survivors through space, trying to destroy them and any evidence of the massacre it committed. There is a mutating killer virus, a psychopathic mega computer, secrets, conspiracies, betrayals, space fights, sacrifice, heroism, love and hate. The characters are so real, so loveably flawed, smartass and witty! It grips you by the throat from the first page and keeps squeezing and squeezing until you can barely breathe with excitement. My heart was literally beating madly in my chest near the end as if something very personal was happening to me.

Get hold of a copy of ILLUMINAE! Not the ebook (unless you have one of those extra large readers! I read it first on my regular Kindle, and it’s such a waste, it’s like watching Avatar on the screen of your cell phone.) Enjoy! And know the sequel is already out.


About Lily Grigorova

Stories, characters, plots, fairy tales, stars, books, words, worlds ...
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