Illuminae was set to be one of the biggest YA releases of 2015 – and although I was excited for this book, I am going to be honest, the thought of reading it scared me.
For months leading up to its release, there was a LOT of hype about Illuminae. Everyone who had anything to do with the bookish community had heard about this book, and while this happens with a lot of books, what was most impressive is that this hype was about a title from two Australian authors, and the hype was predominately coming from the United States, and later the United Kingdom. And while this is fantastic, it is not common for Aussie authors to be so hyped up, especially before a release. There was so much promotional effort put into this book by the international teams, that while fantastic, it was also a little daunting for my little Aussie self.
There is always a little pressure when there is so much hype about a book – what if the hype builds up my expectations too high, and I feel let down? But more importantly, what if I don’t enjoy a story by two great Aussie authors that are so loved beyond our own shores? I haven’t read any other work from either Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff as yet (I have their books on my shelf waiting to be read though), but as people, I like them. They are sociable on Twitter, they are active within the Aussie YA blogging community, and they are genuinely nice (and hilarious) people.
Plus, I was one of the unfortunate people who saw a spoiler tweet months before the book was released, and I was dreading that this had totally ruined the experience for me!
Agggghhhh….. the pressure!!!
And now, well, I feel like a twit – because I had nothing to fear at all. THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!!!!
And when I say amazing, I really mean it. This (huge) book is truly extraordinary. It is unique, it is intriguing, it is… well… mind-blowing.
I am not going to talk about the storyline; you can get that from the synopsis. And to be honest, I recommend reading it without any more information than that. This book was designed to be read to obtain little pieces of information at a time – so do yourself a favour and do not try to find anything further about the storyline.
Now, that leads me to the most important thing you need to know about this book – the design. OMG! The design!!! The design of this book fulfils every single book design desire that you never knew you had. It is art. It is…. unparalleled, astonishing, beautiful, incredible, clever, fascinating, astounding, interesting, hypnotising, exceptional – pick your favourite word, as it is all of these things and more.
The story is told in the form of files – from interviews and emails to chat logs and transcripts. This is a great way to get bits of the story little by little, answering questions and creating new mysteries along the way. But the design of the pages – I cannot express my love for these pages enough. They are beautiful and intriguing, interesting and unique. Trust me when I say they are a HUGE part of what makes this book truly special.
Also the formatting of the book allows us to get to know the characters a little bit at a time – so while this does mean it takes you a while to connect to the characters, this is a major part of the mystery and complexities of this book. These characters will intrigue and confuse you – at times you won’t know up from down, left to right, right from wrong – and it is a fantastic experience to have your head and heart pulled into so many different directions. The story is filled with action, hope, danger, blood and gore, mysteries, forgiveness, respect, questionable morals, creepiness, determination and everything in between – you will flip through the beautiful pages as quickly as you can, and those ever so pretty pages will slap you in the face with the feels!
THIS is the book you have been waiting for! I have no doubt you will love Illuminae. I honestly cannot see how anyone could not enjoy something so unique and distinctive.
Illuminae IS the standout Aussie YA sci-fi book of 2015. In fact, it is the standout book for any Aussie, YA, sci-fi or 2015 category. It has set the bar for all sci-fi books the world over. Illuminae is nothing short of phenomenal!