Can I confess that my heart sank a little when I saw the thickness of this novel? And that I cursed the name of the book group member who suggested we read it, then quit the group? (Sorry Heather -- I forgive you).

Because it turned out that Illuminae was a lot of fun to read, and it must have been even more fun to write. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (disclaimer: I met them both at a dinner a few years ago, round the time this book came out, and they were both lovely) have collaborated to create an unconventional narrative, stitched together from purported transcripts of security briefings, private text messages, surveillance reports... and the inner thoughts of a rogue computer...

This immediately gives Illuminae a distinctive look and feel; but to Kaufman and Kristoff's credit, the substance of the story matches the style. Set mainly on three stranded spaceships, there is a space plague that creates violent paranoia in its victims, a secret mining base, missing family members, and a pair of smart teens who were inconveniently negotiating a break-up at the very moment their home was blown to pieces. How Ezra and Kady manage to reconnect, and then cooperate to survive and fight back is at the core of the story.

I enjoyed this book a lot. There are two more volumes in the Illuminae Files, and I'm sure they are just as satisfying as the first.

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