Illuminae: Angsty teen romance and HAL too!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman delivers all that and zombies.

IlluminaeKade and Ezra have just broken up. They’re at high school when their mining planet is attacked by Big, Bad Corporation. They evacuate (along with others) onto three ships. Big, Bad Corporation knocks out the Faster-Than-Lightspeed drive on their ships. Their ships knock out Big, Bad Corporation’s ship.

Now Kade and Ezra have to travel on broken spaceships for several months to the nearest planet (and hopefully safety). But a lot of bad things can happen when people are locked up in the void of space for that amount of time. And Big, Bad Corporation is sending another ship to find them. And destroy them.

So, this is a bloodier book than I normally enjoy, but it didn’t get too bad until about halfway through. So I stuck with it. That and it had an psycho but sympathetic ship computer (like HAL). Technically, it’s name was AIDAN, but same idea. I love HAL and anytime I read another psycho ship’s AI, I melt.

Kaufman sold the angsty teen love story. I’m not a big fan of romance, but the zombies and techie details and space ships and AIDAN got me through the mushy parts. I actually started rooting for a Happily Ever After. (Let’s all say it together: aaaaaaah. There, I’m good now.)

And, normally I don’t go for zombies, but this book set them up so well. I was swimming up to my armpits in bodies before it hit me. *Hey!These are zombies! How long have they been here?* The symptoms developed slowly and believably step-by-step to its final, bloody result.

Personal note:

I loved the art. It was old school printer art. The kind of printers that used the pages with the perforated holes going down the sides. Nostalgically beautiful. I’d flip through the book again just for the art. Oh! And a lot of the people who die–did I mention it’s bloody?–are actually YA authors in real life. They were tickled to be included (and killed) in Kaufman’s story. Isn’t that cool? (And a little messed up too?)

Enjoy Illuminae for yourself:

And here’s a free short story of mine with a lot less blood.

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