Publishers Weekly Review
Star-crossed lovers fight for survival in this visually stunning adventure, the first in a trilogy and told through myriad documents and archived information, including instant messages, email, interview transcripts, memos, and security footage. Following a devastating attack on their home planet, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, having just broken up, end up on different ships, part of a refugee fleet fleeing a cosmic dreadnought. Additionally, a virus is turning the survivors into bloodthirsty monsters, while one ship's murderous AI takes extreme measures to protect the fleet. Though separated, Kady and Ezra rekindle their relationship while everything collapses around them. What starts off as a spacefaring action-romance evolves into a nerve-wracking horror story as the true scope of the situation becomes clear. Kaufman (the Starbound trilogy) and Kristoff (the Lotus War series) offer a stylistically mesmerizing tale, where story and art are interchangeable, and words act as pictures. The more experimental sections may require extra effort on readers' parts, but the result is worth it. Ages 14-up. Agent: (for Kaufman) John Adams and Tracey Adams, Adams Literary; (for Kristoff) Matt Bialer and Lindsay Ribar, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Kady Grant has typical problems: school, parents, and a boyfriend she just dumped. But life spirals out of control when Kady's planet, Kerenza, is attacked by an unknown enemy. As destruction unfolds around her, Kady manages to escape her planet on one of three ships. Kady is considered lucky, with her mother on one ship and her ex, Ezra, on another. As the convoy flees Kerenza with the enemy close behind, it is clear that the problems have just begun. A deadly virus is spreading through one of the ships; AIDEN, the onboard computer of the lead ship, has gone rogue; and the enemy is in close pursuit in an attempt to destroy the last witnesses of the Kerenza catastrophe. Using a nontraditional writing style, Kaufman and Kristoff craft the narrative using illustrated screen shots of spaceship blueprints, interviews, data, and messages that make up the "Illuminae Files." Despite the minimal presence of conventional paragraphs, there is a surprisingly natural flow as elements are seamlessly woven together to create a satisfying dossier-style reading experience. The characters are immediately real and with harrowing accounts, unexpected twists, and gut-wrenching selflessness, they become even more endearing over the course of the book. While reminiscent of the works of Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card, this work is a distinct piece that stands alone. VERDICT A great recommendation for middle and high school science-fiction fans.-Paige Rowse, Syosset High School Library, New York © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* High-school students Kady and Ezra have just broken up with each other when Kerenza IV, their mining outpost planetary home, is suddenly attacked by a rival company using both traditional and biological weapons. In the scramble to get off the planet, they are separated, ending up with a waning number of Kerenza survivors on two different space vessels that are trying to outrun one remaining BeiTech dreadnought; however, Kady and Ezra remain united in their desire to escape destruction, exact revenge, and maybe give each other a second chance. Tightly woven and suspenseful, this is one long briefing report about the mining colony attack and its aftermath that makes innovative use of mission reports, e-mails, texts, ship schematics, dialogue, and other forms of communication with profanity cunningly redacted. Kaufman and Kristoff have created a fast-paced, quasi-political sci-fi thriller that is completely unique. Hints of romance and references to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey interweave with the text, itself an arresting visual experience that weds form with expression and content: for example, a thin pinwheel of print reflects the chaos of a newbie pilot's first deadly space battle. The ending, two simple words, sets the stage for the next entry in the Illuminae Files, a planned trilogy. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Kaufman (Starbound series) and Kristoff (Lotus War series) are no strangers to the sf-fantasy world. Their combined expertise and fan bases, plus a huge marketing campaign by the publisher, will make this a hot title.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2015 Booklist