Kady barely has time to register how awful her breakup with Ezra feels—these things still hurt, even in year 2575—when, later that same day, her home planet is attacked. Kady and Ezra fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, but they’re separated onto two different ships in the process. With the enemy on their tails, bad turns to worse for the survivors: A plague on one of the ships is leading to quarantines, and the artificial intelligence known as AIDAN is becoming increasingly difficult to trust.
At more than 600 pages and presented as a dossier containing emails, ship schematics, private journals and the transcribed “thoughts” of AIDAN, Illuminae is a bit of a doorstopper, but one readers will be hard-pressed to set down after page one. Part of the fun is piecing together these sometimes funny, often scary fragments to discover the story within. Gory scenes of plague victims are especially chilling when juxtaposed against clinical tallies of the infected and dead. Many of the survivors have been conscripted into the military, and the subsequent male bonding and raunchy humor lighten the mood while also adding an element of realism.
Illuminae is a smart, sad, funny, philosophical, action-packed futuristic love story. It’s also part one of a planned trilogy, so start here and prepare to be impatient for the arrival of the next installment.