So here goes my first book review – or series review for that matter! On my recent holiday to Mallorca I decided to download The Illuminae Files trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, having loved Kristoff’s Nevernight.
I’d been meaning to give it a go for quite a while but the format – a collection of instant messages, descriptions of video footage and journal entries etc. made me a bit sceptical. How I was wrong! The format did make it a little difficult to read on Kindle – I had to change the font size alot (for some reason Gemina and Obsidio were easier than Illuminae). But once I figured out how to work around that, I was drawn in to a great plot with dynamic, real characters.
Now to the (perhaps some) spoilers:
My favourite aspect of the series was definitely AIDEN, the artificial intelligence on the ships. Depicted as a monster, the AI goes a bit rogue – but only because of the way it is programmed. It’s weird – I almost found AIDEN likeable as it struggles with not understanding emotions when sort of developing love for one of the main characters. I enjoyed the poetic style of writing in the AIDEN sections, and it was really wonderful to witness it become more human-like as the series progressed.
I loved how many strong female characters there were. Kady, Hanna, Ella and Asha were fantastic and represented a broad spectrum of personalities. I wish we’d had more time to get to know Asha – I really enjoyed seeing the most ordinary of the girls persevere with pure grit to get things done. The hacker girls were awesome! Really good to see female computer science representation – something I have noticed is on the increase with books like When Dimple Met Rishi. It was great to see them being resourceful and resilient. I also thought that all the characters gelled together well in Obsidio after Illuminae focussed on Kady and Ezra, and Gemina focussed on Hanna and Nik (and Ella!).
I also really liked the struggles of the teenagers against their adult seniors. The teenagers were the best at doing what they do and were often overlooked – something that happens in real life.
Definitely recommend the series – even if you’re not a big sci-fi fan. It is fast paced, clever, has lots of twists and turns and a whole cast of very likeable characters. Would buy hard copies to get the full effect of how awesome it is though!
Give it a go!