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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

Illuminae / Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

This 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.


I realize that this book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it. I love the epistolary format--whether reading diaries, letters, texts, emails, whatever format. I don’t know why this form appeals to me so strongly, but it rarely fails to charm me.

It’s a new & fresh twist on the old computer-gone-haywire theme, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey (there’s at least one direct reference to that work in here, when someone describes the ship’s computer as “going all HAL on them”) or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Combine that with an apocalyptic bioengineered disease (shades ofThe Stand and The Walking Dead) and warring megacorporations (reminiscent of C.J. Cherryh’s Company Wars series). Put a couple of teenagers with relationship issues at the centre and set things in motion! I was entertained by Kady’s voice and their sharp and sarcastic by-play as she and Ezra figured themselves out.

The adults (whether parents, governments, military or corporate) are all of questionable motive here and these teens are kept busy parsing what everyone is actually saying vs. what they are doing. Good practice for going up against the unstable AI known as AIDAN.

The book is a thick one, but it reads very quickly. Quite a few pages have only a few words on them, making it more like a scrapbook in some ways. Once again, I like this kind of thing, but I know it irks some readers.

I will definitely read the next two books, but probably not this year. My dance card seems to still be quite full with other novels that I have assigned myself.