‘Illuminae'(Illuminae files #1) Book Review

An award winning, bestselling science-fiction book, written by two amazing authors and featuring even more amazing illustrations. I totally missed the hype but eventually read the book after stumbling across it while browsing through Library ebooks. Is it worth the hype? Read on to see…

Christian Commentary:

  • Censored swear words
  • Mild violence


Readability: 2.5

Storyline: 3

Characters: 3

Read again: 1

Overall: 9.5/20


One of the reasons why this book is so popular is because of its unique writing style. This book recounts the events that happen to both Kady and Ezra aboard two different ships. Generally speaking, the style of each page varies in design, which makes sense considering title of the series ‘illuminae Files‘, and this was cool for about 50 pages; but then the novelty wore off pretty quickly. The thing is, within one ‘chapter’ there could be so much variety, which made sense in the context of the book, yet failed to maintain interest. I found myself skipping through pages and pages of useless files and images that didn’t help move the story along in any way.

Some people have complained about the humour, especially when written from the perspective of the surveillance team, but honestly it was pretty enjoyable. If the story took on a really serious tone it would’ve been impossible to get through, particularly because its quite long (over 600 pages).

In terms of things I liked, the instant messenger format was pretty cool; I found myself skipping everything else to get to those parts often. The censorship was also a funny touch, and as a Christian bookworm it was the difference between reading and not reading the book. Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to fill in the blank spaces but I tried to ignore them altogether and pretend the sentences were just incomplete or didn’t make sense. The lack of censorship is actually one of the reasons I chose not to go on and read the second book in the trilogy.


The storyline is meh. The concept isn’t as unique as the writing: planet is invaded and there are ships full of refuges and plenty of trauma. Characters make sacrifices and stupid decisions, and ultimately something must go boom! The happy ending is the cherry on top and promises more adventure. The romance is meant to be a large part of the storyline, and it definitely is, but it’s a bit lacking and I’ll explain why when discussing characters. Kady plays a larger role when it comes to the storyline and by the end it pretty much told from only her perspective; this is the part where the story becomes juicy, whereas up to that point it was a bit boring if I’m brutally honest. It shouldn’t take over 300 pages to get into the plot but that’s exactly what my experience with this book was.


Like I said before Kady is the star of this book; a strong, intelligent and intuitive lead, but other than that she has 0 personality. Ezra is the romantic one with a sense of humour that I liked, but honestly I continuously questioned why they were even together. They weren’t an enjoyable couple, I definitely didn’t ship them, I even had to look their names up to do this review since I had already forgotten them within a few months.

There were a few other characters with significant roles, but I feel like they didn’t stand out much and their personalities were pretty standard or typical. Funnily enough, the most interesting character was the ever complex AI program that was the ship itself. By the conclusion of the book, I felt like ‘he’ was the most complex, 3D character out of everyone in the story, and the only one I sympathised with. 

Read again?:

No, I wouldn’t read it again. It’s too long and too slow with a forgettable cast of characters.

Would I recommend?

The only reason to read this book is to experience the beautiful formatting and the amount of creativity that went into it’s design. I borrowed a digital copy the book using my library card and I’d recommend others to do this instead of buying it if possible. To clarify, the book isn’t bad, it just isn’t mind blowing.

Was I too harsh with this review? Maybe you think this book and its sequels are amazing and my opinions are very questionable? Or maybe you completely agree. Either way please leave a comment and tell me what you think!


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