The Illuminae Files #1. Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff.
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Illuminae was quite a breathtaking ride. With much of the interaction taking place between soldiers and other – rough types- the conversation could be quite crass at points, which I didn’t enjoy, but the actual story was amazing. The whole book is presented as a casefile, and as such there’s a certain meta element to it; everything is being deliberately presented by some of the characters, after the events, instead of just being a fourth-wall window into their life. I thought the authors did an excellent job, using the unusual formatting without making it too melodramatic or distracting.
I’m rarely as caught off guard by an ending as I was for this one, and it really impressed me – the way the authors led up so smoothly and yet never gave an inevitable answer. This was a suspenseful, action-filled read, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next (despite the downer aspects).
Sexual Content: Character threatens to make love to another character’s sister in revenge (probably not serious? The argument is later resolved). Quite a number of instances of casual sexual innuendo and crass joking between two men. Character says to girlfriend (mostly joking/wishful) “How bout you meet me in Server Room and tear me out of these coveralls with these teeth,”. Character defending woman says “She didn’t do it […] because she was with me at the time.” “’With you’ in the biblical sense?” “Yes.”
Language: 26 d***, 17 hell, Some text uses of the abbreviation ‘wtf’. Some censored swearing (blacked out in a transcript)
Violence: Scenes of destruction are somewhat blurred because of the human pov being unable to take everything in, but much of the violence is graphic.
Mass destruction – airships bombing ground, platoons of armed soldiers trying to take ground control, general mayhem and panic/death. Spaceship is blown apart by a single hit. Two men are court-martialed and shot. Character finds three people murdered by heavy blows to the head, with their eyes gashed out. Men, women, and children are driven to psychosis by a virus – they go mad, some killing each other, some shot by police. One policeman is left behind with the infected. Virus-maddened men released into another spaceship – they tear officers apart. Man electrocutes himself.