The Illuminae Files by Kaufman and Kristoff is a YA sciences fiction novel that follows the journey of two teens, recently separated exes, Ezra Mason and Kady Grant, as they escape an attack on their home planet of Kerenza and board one of three rescue fleet in the hopes of getting help from a nearby planet. However, there is a warship in hot pursuit, determined to extinguish everyone from Kerenza and all knowledge of the attack on the planet. As if that wasn’t enough there is an outbreak on one of the ships, and it is spreading fast.
With no one telling the people what’s going on, Kady takes it upon herself to find out exactly what’s happening. What she find is much more disturbing and now is propelled into a dangerous cat and mouse game. Kady hacks into various government system to find answers all while hoping she isn’t caught and killed for doing so. Soon she finds that the AI in charge of controlling their ship and getting them safely to a neighboring planet isn’t working properly.
Illuminae is a very unique book in the way it’s written. The book is a compilation of different types of files and documents pieced together to form a story. From security footage, to voice recordings, redacted files, text messages, and emails; everything is put together to create a fast paced riveting story.
Spoilers Below this line.
First things first. What the heck if wrong with Aiden? So If you haven’t read the book yet and is just reading these spoilers for fun, Aiden is the name of the artificial intelligence. Aiden stands for Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics Network.
Aiden is responsible for defending the ship and protecting the people at all cost. The AI is obviously smarter than everyone and everything combined on the ship, but there’s just one problem. He, she, it; is just a robot and does not understand trivial things such as compassion, love, empathy. Aiden suffered some damage when the ship was attacked and now is going haywire.
Aiden has been observing the disease outbreak on the other ship and realized that soon people would try and evacuate and seek refuge on the Alexander fleet. So Aiden using is all-knowing self, blew up the ship and ignored all commands to stop.
It was creepy as hell, hearing Aiden slowly develop this godlike complex, where he suddenly decides who lives and dies on the ship and considers it to be merciful. How can it kill an entire ship of people and think that’s being merciful?
Aiden was manually shut down before he could do more damage and kill more people. However, the ship cannot function without him and the crew work on fixing Aiden before the warship catches up to them. However, things get creepier when they turn Aiden back on. Aiden begins to think, not analyze and compute, think. Aiden wonders if he’s alive because getting shut down felt like death. But you can only die if you’re alive.
It begins to observe human interaction and considers what love is, and it was just creepy.
Enough about Aiden.
Oh.. I knew it was Aiden luring Kady to the Hypatia, pretending to be Ezra, I knew it. Moving on.
Let’s talk about the relationship between Kady and Ezra. Ezra sounds like a cutie. His love for Kady seems very sincere and believable. I liked Ezra he was funny and complex. Kady was also a complex character but in a more annoying way. I did not believe that she loves or have loved Ezra at all. Maybe she wasn’t has open and vulnerable as I would have liked.
The book is written in a very unique way, which is cool, but sometimes annoying. I like some files better than others, but overall it was a cool format.
I liked this book, I gave it a 4.5 because I say the ending coming from a mile away. This is where book tries to make us believe Ezra is dead and Kady is sad about it. She wasn’t sad enough in my opinion, but it goes back to what I said about not believing she liked him. I was surprised to find out that Aiden had tricked Kady to leave the Alexander and go over to the Hypatia to rescue Ezra. Which she only did because she was told not to. I did figure it out, but only when it was too late. Too late being, when Kady was already on the Hypatia. However I didn’t think Ezra was dead, the AI lied once, why would he be telling the truth now.
By far Aiden was the best character in this book. Yes, it’s a psychopathic killing machine, but it was the best. Aiden grew and developed and learned, and I could talk about Aiden forever. How can one thing be their saving grace and something that might kill them all at the same time? It was complicated, and without Aiden, the book wouldn’t have been the same.