Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Illuminae is riding the hype train right now – and it definitely deserves to! I happen to be a big fan of Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 reboot), and I couldn’t help but note some similarities…
Expect Battlestar Galactica + cyberpunk + zombie horror.
the Twelve Colonies the mining colony on planet Kerenza is destroyed by an evil corporation, survivors take refuge on a tiny, ragtag fleet of ships led by the warship Battlestar Galactica Battlecarrier Alexander. Also fleeing Kerenza: science ships Copernicus and Hypatia.
In the chaos, disagreements ring out over heartbreaking tactical decisions. When superior officers die, those next in the chain of command are left with big shoes to fill.
Given the manpower shortage, ordinary civilians are conscripted according to skill. Those who pass spatial and reasoning tests become
Viper pilots Cyclone pilots. They’re known by their call signs, and young Ezra hopes he gets one that sounds cooler than “Starbuck” “Sugarpants” or “Prettyboy”.
The ship is guided by dubiously-intentioned artificial intelligence called…
AIDAN, who is programmed to protect the population of the fleet. AIDAN waxes philosophical about what it means to be truly “alive”.
As for the “cyberpunk” aspect: expect hacking and instant-messaging chats.
A pathogen aptly named Phobos spreads madness among the survivors. It doesn’t make them true “zombies” in the Walking Dead sense, but the effect is much the same: murderous deranged violence, low sensitivity to pain, a loss of “self”.
Constant updates on distance from the hostile warship and survivor count only help to emphasize the Battlestar Galactica feel. Compare a page from Illuminae (left) with stills from Battlestar Galactica (right):
“High octane” is right.
The characters barely get a moment to rest – and neither does the reader. Illuminae is mostly dialogue and stream-of-consciousness, written like a fast-paced movie script.
Battle scenes are simulated with snippets of speech and half-formed thought, arranged in shapes on a dark page the way fighter ships might take formation in space. It’s a somewhat non-traditional format, but it really works.
In between all the battles: ruminations on attachment, trauma, and clinging to a last surviving friend as your emotional lifeline.
‘Illuminae’ is going to make a fantastic movie.
So say we all.