By Sai Vidhya
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Oneworld Publications
No. of Pages: 599
Available at Kinokuniya
Told through a compilation of various hacked documents including Instant Messages (IMs), interviews, reports, and even posters – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have taken interactive storytelling to a whole new level with Illuminae, the first novel in their futuristic trilogy series.
Just when Kady thought breaking up with then-boyfriend, Ezra, was the hardest thing to do, war and a deadly virus broke out on her planet, leaving the duo responsible to protect it. As a brilliant data hacker, Kady uncovers complicated, disturbing truths, and finds herself reluctantly seeking help from her ex-boyfriend.
Illuminae is one of those rare novels that gives you the perspective of almost every character involved. While this might seem complicated, “briefing notes” are provided at the top right hand corner of every new chapter/situation, which will give you a summary of the current situation.
Alternatively, the ‘Unipedia’ located earlier in the book is a must read to understand the backstory, and also makes a good reference for when you get confused.
Having the characters communicate via the means of IMs throughout the book was definitely an interesting experience, and allowed for even more personal connection with the characters and their emotions. However, the bits and pieces of broken English, paired with Internet lingo and futuristic slang, made the language used seem rather foreign, and hard to understand at times.
Though a fun, interesting read, packed with loads of action and drama, the novel was not executed fairly in terms of character development. While Kady had various diary entries in parts of the book that depicted her character development, this was not the case for the other characters. The rekindling of the romance between Kady and Ezra, in particular, developed too quickly.
Packed with descriptive and strong imagery, Illuminae is sure to get you immersed in the book, as it invigorates your senses, and provides you with first hand experience.
Though there might be Kindle or e-book versions available out there, due to Illuminae’s highly creative and unique execution, it is recommended that you grab a physical copy and enjoy with a side of popcorn for the best experience.