It is time, boys and girls.
It is time for me to sink back into my book blogger ways and discuss a recent favorite read of mine.
Aren’t you oh so excited?? (You better be, damnit. I worked hard on this post.)
Today I providing 5 simple reasons you will love The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. (Or at least the first book in the series.)
Reason 1: BECAUSE FUCK
Yes, fuck. I love that there are cuss words in this kick-ass bitch of a book. (Whoa Asti, whoa. I think that’s enough there. Your mom reads these posts.)
I was a teen once and, while it may be shocking to hear, I cussed. F-bombs, b-bombs, a-bombs, they all came out of my mouth – especially in high-intensity situations. So, as silly as it may sound, I actually love that there is a YA book out there in which cussing is a regular occurrence for the teenage MCs because it makes it feel that much more real to me.
But don’t worry! If you’re averse to cussing and rather turn a blind eye, this series does a good job of censoring itself. It’s like watching TV with all the “bleeps”. The cussing is there and you can easily figure out what bad word is being used, but if you rather pretend otherwise you can just admire all the random █████ marks blocking those naughty words and fill them in with your own fun alternatives like “fudge” and “witch.”
Reason 2: THAT ANTICI… PATION
Books that throw you in the deep of things and remind you that something is always around the corner are my favorite. They keep you on the edge of your seat and that anticipation of just waiting for things to blow up is absolutely delicious to me.
With both Illuminae and Gemina, the first two books of the Illuminae Files, you get regular countdowns alerting you to what is on its way. There’s a sense of urgency on every page because you can’t help but wonder if the characters will sort things out before the time runs out.
Even beyond that though, you get other little indicators of trouble such as the ever-growing blood stain from pages of Hanna’s sketchbook in Gemina. (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler, it is brought to the reader’s attention on page 17.) Details like that keep you glued to the story as you wonder what role they play and how it will get involved in the story later on.
Reason 3: IT’S WHAT IT IS: THE ILLUMINAE FILES
One of the most notable things about this series, and the one thing I think I was a bit apprehensive about going into it, was the fact that this story is told through a file of documents. It’s not just a narrator telling a story. There are chat logs, surveillance footage summaries, unipedia (aka wikipedia) documents, sketchbook pages, maps, and even just pages in which the words themselves flow around the page to illustrate movement or action or something more.
It’s a bit of everything, but I think the authors do a great job in ensuring it all serves a purpose in progressing the story and I really like how much personality is still attached to each file. Even if it’s just some unknown person describing what they’re seeing on camera monitors, there are bits and pieces of attitude here and there that make it a lot of fun to read.
Reason 4: THOSE ATTITUDES
Speaking of attitudes, can I just say I love the characters because they’re spunky? (Wait, does anyone even use that word anymore? Hm.) They’re sarcastic and sassy and inappropriate. And while I think all of that may drive some people crazy, I think it’s actually quite reflective to how ridiculous teens can be. (Add in the fact that it even goes beyond teens to a certain something else in Illuminae and LOVE!!)
Plus their interactions! Some of my favorite parts of these files are reading the interactions between the characters because they don’t hold anything back. For me, it was just so good.
Reason 5: YOU CAN GET OFF HERE
The last thing I’ll tell you in hopes that it’ll convince you to pick up this series is that you really can just stop after the first book. While the two stories published so far are loosely connected, the second book features a different set of characters and scenarios than the first.
It’s not a HUGELY different story, and in fact I feel like that’s where some readers truly struggle with when it comes to the sequel (they feel like it’s just a weak rinse and repeat of the first), but there were enough differences to keep me engaged and in love with this series as I continued.
So there you have it! My review/rave/read-this-now post about The Illuminae Series by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you haven’t read this book yet, does this sound like something you might like? And if you have, what did you think of the series? I can’t wait until the third book, Obsidio, comes out next year!