book review: the illuminae files, by amie kaufman and jay kristoff

IMG_0477This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

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.

BRIEFING NOTE: 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.

Finally, I’m bringing a review of one of my favorite trilogies of all times. The Illuminae Files was such a surprise for me, as I’d never been a fan of sci-fi. Picking up this series was an act very out of my comfort zone: firstly, because I read the entire trilogy in English, which is not my first language; and secondly because the format makes the entire experience very unique.

Told in a sequence of files and documments, Illuminae was still able to deliver amazing characters and relationships, taking me completely by surprise. And though not perfect, I enjoyed every single second of the ride.


  1. The writing style! Because this series is told in very different documments, the writing style was always dynamic. In one page, you’re reading just instant messages; in the other, you’re reading very sarcastic camera transcripts. You don’t really have time to get tired of the style, as it was ever-changing, which made for a very fun experience.
  2. The characters & the relationships. Kady and Ezra are my biggest sweethearts. They’re funny, sarcastic and also incredibly loving and brave. I also really liked getting to know Rhys and Asha in the last installment, as well as Ella Malikova and her always snarky remarks. The characters were all incredibly fleshed out – which I didn’t expect, considering you’re not inside their heads as you would in a regular narration. Instead, you get to know them solely through their messages & conversations, but that was already enough to make me fall hard. The relationships – romantic and familiar – were also beautiful and heartbreaking.
  3. Our beloved villain, AIDAN. AIDAN is literally a computer, an artificial inteligence that is supposed to protect them. But AIDAN has a very interesting way of seeing “protection”. It’s also incredibly dramatic and has possibly the best narration of all. Incapable of understanding sarcasm – which is a problem, considering the cast of characters – AIDAN made me laugh as much as it made me furious.
  4. This series is ridiculously action-packed and impossible to put down. Important to note: these books are STRESSFUL. There’s so much happening and the stakes are always so high. These characters hardly ever get a moment to breathe; it is a constant go-go-go that really makes impossible to stop reading. I will say, though, that Obsidio, the last book, had a much more comfortable pacing than the previous two. It’s still dynamic and entertaining, but you can definitely take a breath between the pages.


  1. Hanna/Nik. They’re by far my least-favorite couple and characters in the series. Even though I adored Gemina and had so much fun with that book, I just couldn’t stand them. Nik is sort of an asshole and keeps making moves on Hanna, even though she has a boyfriend + stated that she doesn’t feel comfortable with it. And, then, after all the inconvenient jokes, he’s still rewarded by the creepy behaviour? Uh, no thanks.
  2. Sometimes, it was too much. As much as I love the fact the series is action-packed, I will say that not always it was easy to read. I feel like I kept putting off the third book because I knew it would be a very stressful experience; and one you need to have time to commit to. Because it’s so hard to put these books down, I found myself sometimes refraining from reading, because I wouldn’t have enough time and couldn’t keep reading it.
  3. It’s hard to get into each book. Another thing I found hard in these books is that it’s quite confusing to get into them. Because I gave myself about a year between each book, I had already forgotten a lot about the previous one and it’s hard to ambient yourself again. The first 50 pages are all a bit weird to get through, but once you do, it’s majestic.

IMG_0482Obviously, The Illuminae Files has become one of my favorite trilogies of all times. Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi, I’d still recommend picking it up! I didn’t think I’d be so invested in the characters as I was, and I certainly didn’t think I’d find myself wanting to read more sci-fi after this series.

These books made me feel everything, from anger to sadness to warm fuzzies. These characters go through a lot, but are always up to another fight. It doesn’t mean they don’t get burn out or depressed, and the authors made sure to create very fleshed out & three-dimensional personalities.


Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this trilogy and what are your thoughts on it. And also, who’s your favorite character? Mine is definitely Kady! She’s amazing!

8 comentários sobre “book review: the illuminae files, by amie kaufman and jay kristoff

  1. I really want to get to this series– I’m really interested to see how the document-style format makes you care for everyone and how it makes you feel. It is so different I am excited to try it out. I am glad you enjoyed it!! Also I will definitely love the sarcasm in the book 😂

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  2. Lovely review, Lais! <3 I am not a big science-fiction reader, either, but the hype surrounding Illuminae and the unique formatting got me curious and… I'm glad that I did give it a try, because I ended up enjoying it a lot! I've only read the first two books so far and I agree with you, I found this to be… such a stressful experience overall. It's a fantastic book, I'm so immersed into it every time, which is impressive given the formatting, but… this also makes me way too stressed out, Gemina was… well, hard to get through at times haha, so I'm very nervous to read the last book. I will someday haha :)

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    • I totally understand the feeling, Marie! These books definitely are stressful and a lot to handle. I read 50% of Gemina in one sitting and it was overwhelming, but I also couldn’t put it down at the same time? I still encourage you to continue on with the series, because the pacing for Obsidio is much more chill, while still being entertaining.
      Thank you so much for the comment! 💛

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