It is time, boys and girls.
It is time for me to sink back into my book blogger ways and discuss a recent favorite of mine.
Aren’t you oh so excited?? (You better be, damnit. I worked hard on this post.)
Today I want to urge you to pick up and read The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (at least the first one). Why?
Yes, fuck. I love that there are fucking 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 I know it may be shocking to hear, but I cussed. 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.
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 it is, but if you rather pretend otherwise you can just admire all the random █████ marks blocking those naughty words.
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, you get regular countdowns alerting you to what is on its way. Even beyond that though, you get other little indicators of trouble, too, such as the 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.) I found myself reading in anticipation for when it was going to come into play.
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.
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.
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?
PS. In case you missed it, the first issue of my biweekly newsletter in which I share the linkage love around the blogosphere and provide some sneak peaks / insight into my current happenings went live this weekend! If you’d like future issues to be delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up!