I finally picked Illuminae up after having a conversation with the lovely Fi (blog here) and Kimi (blog here) stood in the kids department of Waterstones. A conversation that involved a lot of squealing, mainly from Fi about the fact that Kimi and I hadn't yet read the Illuminae series. Thus the Illuminae Files Read-along was born. There's also some photo challenges to go along with the read-a-along and a twitter chat on Friday 28th February 7pm GMT.
Now for the review.
I really wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this, I liked the sci-fi element but I wasn't sold on the idea of mixed media. For those unsure of what I mean, all the books in the Illuminae Files aren't told through traditional prose. Instead, the books are constructed via a series of dossiers, transcripts and photos. And it is absolutely incredible. I was concerned that I wouldn't feel connected to the characters or that the story would feel very disjointed. I was so wrong. I fell in love with the characters, even the ones I probably shouldn't have done. Using these documents allowed us to meet briefly other characters and also see into their minds a lot easier than a traditional narrative may have provided. It didn't hamper the plot either, if anything it added to the intensity. You could visually see the hysteria begin to arise across the fleet in how brief the reports were and the language used.
Considering that this is a pretty terrifying novel. I'm talking plague, homicidal computer and looming war terrifying, it still remained funny. I adored the IM conversations between Kady and Ezra. For such short sentences you really got a feel of how much they cared about each other and the people around them. I loved the side characters too. Especially, the ones that interacted with Ezra. Again, it was funny but definitely trench humour.
There were things in this book that I could never have anticipated. I was texting Fi and Kimi freaking out at the end because I thought something bad had happened. For the last 100 pages I was a wreck, an anxiety filled wreck. Oh my god this was incredible. The novel starts out with an attack on a small planet causing its inhabitants to flee aboard the carriers sent to help them. The turns and twists the novel takes are incredible, the change in scope from where the book started to where it finished. Just wow.