Series Review: The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

Posted 20 April, 2018 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 24 Comments

Series Review: The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufmann and Jay KristoffIlluminae Series: The Illuminae Files #1
on 20 October 2015
Length: 11h 41m
Reading Challenges: 18 Audio Challenge
5 Stars

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.

Beware readers! I am reviewing all three books in one go. There may be spoilers from books 1 and 2 in the review of book 3. 

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

When Illuminae was first released, it was one of those immense buzz-books from the get-go. Remember? I was excited about it, too, and I bought the book as soon as was possible. Then, I left it on my shelf. Until I went to BEA in 2016, where I got an advanced copy of Gemina… which I also put on my shelf once I returned home. See a pattern here? The books appealed to me, but I just kind of didn’t get to them. Until one of my favorite authors told me that her co-author is one of the full cast narrators. And that the audiobooks were awesome. And so, in late February, I started listening to Illuminae. And I was totally blown away!

A full cast is the way to go when it comes to audiobooks. It made it so easy to follow everything, and I loved getting the sound effects for the AI, AIDEN, the different sounds for the briefing notes and all… The story was very exciting, as it started with an attack on Kady and Ezra’s planet. BeiTech used some kind of biological agent to make the population easy to take – only they hadn’t counted on other space ships being near enough to save several of them. Ezra and Kady were separated when they were saved. Those who weren’t hurt went to one space shuttle, those who were hurt to a second, and those who could help with scientific problems to a third. Only, nobody knew that some people had been infected. And that the virus would mutate in close quarters.

Illuminae is not only a fantastic science fiction, it is also filled with mystery and suspense, and my emotions were all over the place. I cried so, so hard at one place I almost had to pull over on my way to work – I couldn’t see the road! Extremely well written, with characters that were fleshed out and realistic, I was spellbound from start to finish!


Series Review: The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufmann and Jay KristoffGemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Published by Listening Library on 18 October 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Length: 12 h 34 m
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Purchase
Reading Challenges: 18 Audio Challenge
5 Stars

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews


In Gemina, we were taken to Heimdall to see why they never showed up to help the survivors from Kerenza. Here, we got to meet Hanna, the rich girl who followed her father’s work, and Nik, a drug-dealer hiding in plain sight. Again, the pace was fast, and the intricate plot unfolded with just enough clues to not feel completely clueless, yet still not able to figure anything out. Again, I went through all the emotions possible to humans. I laughed, I cried, I was afraid for the characters, I wondered if anyone would make it. And the heartbreak of seeing how some had no scruples betraying others was strong.

Again, I found the characters to be well fleshed out, and the suspense kept me wanting my commute to be longer. Little by little, we also learned a little bit about whether anyone from Kerenza was still alive, and I have nothing but good things to say about both Gemina and The Illuminae Files.

Series Review: The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufmann and Jay KristoffObsidio by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #3
Published by Listening Library on 13 March 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 13 m
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Purchase
Reading Challenges: 18 Audio Challenge
5 Stars

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?
Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews


In Obsidio, the readers are taken back to Kerenza. To where the survivors live under siege, and the whole situation is not only hard, it’s also a question of loyalty, friendships, trust, and how to ultimately win against BeiTech. Asha has been quietly rebelling against BeiTech forces with others in the resistance, and this part of the overall story made a lot of sense to me. There will always be people who will never accept defeat – and that’s part of what makes us human.

When Rhys arrives on Kerenza, Asha doesn’t want anything to do with him – he’s working as an IT tech for BeiTech, and she doesn’t trust him. At all. Until she realizes that she might be able to sway him to the other side. Obsidio is just as fast-paced as the other Illuminae Files stories, and I loved how the authors managed to show the readers (or listeners as the case may be) that the human beings on both side of a conflict are just that – human. And that for soldiers who are used to following orders, it can be very difficult after a while to differentiate between right and wrong.

The ending to The Illuminae Files was just as strong as the first two stories, and I felt a sense of accomplishment at the end. I cannot recommend this series enough! And if you’re a fan of audiobooks, you should listen to them – you’ll feel like you’re on Hypetia, Kerenza and Heimdall with the characters. Running, hiding, strategizing, trying to stay alive with them.

The Illuminae Files is a fast-paced, action-filled science fiction series with suspense, romane, smart teenagers and a lot of heartache. Click To Tweet


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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24 responses to “Series Review: The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

  1. Yay! Glad you were able to jump in and have a wonderful experience with the series. I cried several times, too. And laughed. I like the sound of the full cast. I’ll have to try that when I do my re-read eventually.

    Great series review, Lexxie!

    • I have the hardcover editions, too – because they look so very good on my shelf 😀 I truly loved the audio, though – and I became slightly obsessed with the whole universe Kaufman and Kristoff built here.
      I hope this weekend will be your first warm Saturday afternoon, so you and Obsidio can have your date 😉

  2. Okay, after the first few lines I stopped reading your review. BUT you convinced me, to buy the two other books as well (I have No 1 already on my TBR) and to start reading. The fact, that you gave them all a five is, at the moment, enough for me to know. Rest I read later.

    Thanks for sharing and best wishes

    Vi @Inkvotary recently posted: One Foot In The Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  3. I’ve been wanting to read The Illuminae Series for god knows how long!! But I just always end up putting it on my shelf and awing at the huge size of the books. The shelf is the problem, I guess; I should really get it out XD But wow, this series review makes me want to pick this right now because sci fi is my favorite and this sounds like one well written complex story I would absolutely love 😀

    Fanna recently posted: Why I Call Myself A Book Phoenix
  4. I did read Illuminae as an ARC but haven’t read any further. I really can’t wait to read more though. I love full cast audiobooks and really want to go back to the beginning of this series and listen to all of them like you did. I am so glad you liked all three books, Lexxie!

    • They were awesome! I tried reading the first book, and while I found the layout to be great, it made it difficult for me to read it and stay in the story. The audio just worked much better for me. And the full cast definitely made it an entertaining experience.

  5. Oh I bet these are phenomenal on audio! I don’t do a lot of audio but I would almost make an exception for these if I hadn’t already read them. I bet the sound effects are so cool! Anyway glad you liked these- it is an amazing series.

  6. I’ve the first book in this series stacked up on my TBR pile – and I’m going to bump it further up given your glowing review – thank you for sharing Lexxie:)

  7. I’m glad you liked them! I’ve read the first two, but I haven’t gotten to the third one yet. I have a terrible memory and probably need to reread the first books before I read the last one. Great reviews!

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