Thursday, April 30, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

Genre:  Science Fiction
Kady and Ezra have just gone through the worst break up in history.  The day is not promising to be a good one - and then her planet is invaded.  The year is 2575 and Kady and Ezra live on a distant planet at the edge of the universe.  Unfortunately, there are two mega corporations fighting for the resources on that planet and one company has decided to destroy it so that the other one can't have it.  In their escape, Kady and Ezra have ended up on two different rescue ships.  And now they have to figure out how to keep themselves and everyone else from dying from the disease that one of the weapons released upon their planet.

But wait.  There's more!  The artificial intelligence system that runs the ships is trying to kill everyone too.  Oh, and Kady is a hacker who has discovered that there is MUCH more than meets the eye with this invasion.  AND, the whole story is told through IM's, military files, hacked documents, interviews, emails, and the ramblings of a computer gone mad.

What I Liked
Oh.  My.  Goodness.  What DIDN'T I like?  This is simply one of the best books I have read so far this year.  Once you get past all of the introductions to the format of the book, and once you figure out the pacing of it, you will not be able to put it down.  Reading this book was like reading a movie script.  I loved the sheer brilliance of the format.  No narration is needed.  Getting to know Kady and her hacking abilities was one of the best parts.  I also loved Ezra's side of things and the fact that both of them realize that when the end of the world is at their feet, the things they fought over are so meaningless.

It's weird to say this, but I also liked reading the inner thoughts of the artificial intelligence system, AIDEN.  The computer becomes a character all by itself by the end of the book.  It's so simple to understand that all AIDEN wants to do is save the people on board all three of these ships.  So, when we realize that he must kill some of them in order to save the rest of them, we start to see AIDEN as having human characteristics that we know computers can't have.  This is genius writing, folks.

What I Didn't Like
Um, nothing.  There was not one point in the book when I was thinking to myself, "Gee. I wish that had been done differently."  I'm one of the pickiest readers on the planet, but I found nothing that I would consider a flaw in this one.

What Did This Remind Me Of?
Some of you have probably never seen the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It's a movie made back in 1968 about a voyage to space on a ship run by an AI system named HAL.  HAL takes over the mission and it's not in a good way.  While AIDEN made me think of this old movie, he doesn't take over the plot of the story.  Kady and Ezra are still the main characters.  But they are totally affected by this computer system.


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