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Illuminae:The Illuminae Files #1    by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff order for
by Amie Kaufman
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2017 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Illuminae, the first book in The Illuminae Files, is a unique YA space opera told in epistolary form. Through emails, chats, transcripts, schematics, and reports, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff tell the story of two teenagers, Kady and Ezra, as they try to fight the evil BeiTech Industries, which destroyed their home colony and is now chasing the ships carrying the displaced colonists. When the ship that Ezra is on becomes infected with a zombie virus, Kady does everything her hacking skills will allow in order to save the one human left who means anything to her ... even if he is her ex.

The epistolary format was unique, even among other novels in this style. Not only was the story told through a variety of written documents, but some pages were filled with artwork, either in the way the lines were written, or just with characters making up a picture. The sections, though, that hurt the credibility of the story were those in which an unknown recorder put surveillance footage in report form. These were not written impartially, as a true report would be. And while one could argue that this played into the twist, the whole story would have been stronger with more factual source material.

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff show great imagination in Illuminae, and YA fans of space opera will devour this novel.

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