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Illuminae

The Illuminae Files, Book 1
Written by: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Marie Lu comes the first book in an epic series that bends the sci-fi genre into a new dimension.

“A truly beautiful novel that redefines the form." (Victoria Aveyard, best-selling author of Red Queen)

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 mega-corporations are at war over a planet that's little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra - who are barely even talking to each other - are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. 

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet's AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it's clear only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. 

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents - including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more - Illuminae is the first audiobook in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.  

“Prepare yourselves for Illuminae.” (EW.com)   

“[Y]ou’re not in for an ordinary novel experience....” (Bustle.com)

“A truly interactive experience.... A fantastically fun ride.” (MTV.com)   

“...stylistically mesmerizing.” (Publishers Weekly)    

“[A]n arresting visual experience.” (Booklist)     

“[A] game-changer.” (Shelf Awareness)

"Genre: Undefinable. Novel: Unforgettable." (Kami Garcia, best-selling coauthor of Beautiful Creatures and author of Unbreakable)

“An exuberant mix of space opera, romance, zombies, hackers, and political thrills.” (Scott Westerfeld, best-selling author of Zeroes and Uglies)

“Stunningly creative. Smart, funny, and romantic.” (Veronica Rossi, best-selling author of Under the Never Sky)

“This is one of those rare books that will truly keep your heart pounding.” (Beth Revis, best-selling author of Across the Universe)

“This book is xxxxing awesome.” (Laini Taylor, best-selling author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

©2015 Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (P)2015 Listening Libary

What the critics say

"Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave." (Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy)

"Ambitious, heartbreaking, and out-of-this-world awesome." (Kirkus Reviews)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!

At first I thought the sound effects weird but they made the book! It was awesome. It made listening to the book that much better. The writing was very well done. I thought it would be choppy since it was intercepted messages, emails, etc but it was so well put together.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very unique audiobook experience

I can honestly say I haven't ever listened to an audiobook quite like this..

First, the content itself: the story and characters are really interesting, but I wouldn't say groundbreaking (fairly typical sci-fi). It follows some familiar beats.. however, it is the character development that really makes this book. Over the course of the story the characters actually have tangible arcs! And it is exciting to see them grow.. particularly Kady and AIDAN. The climax is amazingly gratifying.. one of the best I can remember.

Now onto the performances - honestly I wasn't feeling it at first.. but as I got to 'know' characters it began to make sense.. the best performance by far is by Olivia Taylor Dudley as Kady Grant.. she is honestly a hidden treasure. Her voice is pleasant to listen to and you can really feel she totally immersed herself in the part. I cant say enough things.

A very close second in terms of performance is Lincoln Hoppe as AIDAN. He absolutely NAILED it.. with a very tough role! Balance between cold calculating computer and a confused true artificial intelligence. Damn close to a perfect performance.

Format: This I must stress above all else.. you may be uncomfortable or uneasy with the format and pace of this story. It is played back through a series of emails, text messages, briefing notes, and video narration. It is essentially a huge 'report' that is being played back for the reader (hence, the Illuminae Files). This may take some time to get used to compared to more traditional story telling but I strongly suggest you give it a chance! About 25% in I was totally immersed and was excited for the story to progress.. it works so well for this story.

As many other reviewers have noted.. this one is really one you can't miss if you are a fan of science fiction. At first I had a sinking feeling it was a young adult romance story and would be overly gushy.. nothing wrong with those, but not my preferred style. I was quickly proven wrong and even though the main protagonists are late teens it was no less enthralling.. it may have even contributed to my enjoyment of it!

TL;DR - incredible audiobook experience. Absolute must have.

Side note: Another bonus of the audiobook is the ambient sounds and 'music'. Some random audio effects include voice modulation to mimic speakers, random beeps and boops and a deep low thrumming imitates the sounds one might imagine on a space ship, and the noises of the antagonists.. oh yes so very effective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

it was good... near the end

I attempted to listen to this book at least 3 times this past year. finally on this fourth attempt I succeeded. The problem is the formatting of the book (timestamps, lettered, etc), and the censoring of curse words (why was every second word a curse word. I'm totally ok with cursing but this was excessive) kept distracting me from what was going on in the story.

In the end the story was actually good. But too bad it took 8 hours for me to realize it

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Super well executed audiobook

I loved this book! Very well executed, incredible cast, phenomenal story. The full cast production really elevates the epistolary element of the book - and I never found the sound effects to be too in your face, rather they really enhanced the story. I definitely recommend this book for those who like SciFi, full cast productions, and well executed drama!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

best.audio.book.ever.

Intense, gripping, amazing performances. what else is there to say? fifteen words minimum, but all I needed were the first four.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

love it!

I was questioning it at first as it was hard to following with the swinging from narration to narration but after I got what was going on it was a wonderful story with a few twists you Falk in love with the characters some in a bit of a sad way. you cant help wondering what's happening next or what other things will be split. the next in the series is definitely on my list.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

To much censorship <br />

Bizzar ending, good performances and like a play, but the censorship marred the narrative. did not make me want to continue the trilogy

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A bit Mary Sue, might have been better in text

Positives: kept me guessing and I'm hooked enough to need to know what the deal is with ongoing mysteries. I bought the sequel.

Negatives: I feel like the lead protagonist has a bit of special girl syndrome and that was sometimes hard to get past. Maybe it was in part the voice acting, I'm not sure. On the subject of voice acting I think some of the characters were hard to listen to seriously and it took some of the drama away.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Annoying, boring and not engaging

Having a large proportion of dialogue prefixed by computer style timestamps adds nothing and detracts. If essential to the story then ok, but they were not and they were fulsome (place, route, date, time).

Also, for a sci Fi novel, it felt very rooted in 21st Century tech. Great sci Fi I have read surprised me with unimagined innovations and weird behaviors dictated by a futuristic setting.

Full disclosure, I gave up, so perhaps it would become a whole different book later.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love the full cast

The different perspectives and full cast narration had me hooked from the start. Great listen for teens or adults. #Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • MD, United States
  • 2015-11-30

Romantic Space Opera

This book is so unique that it is almost impossible to explain it. Told through interviews, emails, instant messages, translated video footage and an AI (Artificial Intelligence) named AIDAN it felt more like a congressional investigation than a YA novel. But don’t be turned off by that explanation. It’s so much more – there is romance, mystery, action, government conspiracies, sci-fi fantasy, etc. It was a unique and wonderful space opera and I loved every minute of this listen. It’s one of the most original books out there today. I bought the print version as well for all the diagrams and pictures that can’t be experienced through audio. This is the rare book that both print and audio come together so perfectly.

77 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ddavis.97
  • Crown City, Ohio USA
  • 2015-11-25

AWESOME!

What made the experience of listening to Illuminae the most enjoyable?

The four readers really added to the realization of the story

What other book might you compare Illuminae to and why?

The Pentagon Papers because the book is written like declassified government documents. I've never read a book written like this. It's a pretty cool format!

Any additional comments?

In other reviews, people are commenting that the audio version has been edited and the profanity beeped out. This is not the case. I read the book in ARC. It's is written like a released confidential government report. The swear words are blacked out in the text which is why they are beeped out in the audio. In my opinion, this doesn't ruin the story at all. If a story requires swearing to keep the reader's attention, it's probably not a very good story to begin with. Just saying....😎

83 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Steve Taylor
  • 2019-01-23

Might be a good story but not through audio

They tried, they really tried. Adding a cast of voice actors to bring the characters to life was a great idea, and their performances were good. I wish the audio versions of the Game of Thrones books did this. But, the constant date stamps and, name, stamps? Was constantly distracting.

I stopped listening to this book three times because of the interruptions then returning to try an fish it. I couldn’t do it, I gave up on chapter 44 (out of 100+ chapters). Maybe I’ll pick up a print copy.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • irishred507
  • 2017-04-15

Duped by good reviews!!

First of all, the audio is NOT censored by Audible or anyone else, it was written that way. Anyone who thinks so obviously wasn't paying attention because only 2 minutes into the book, the creepy muffled/distorted voice tells us that all the files that make up the story were instructed to have the profanity censored by the UTA (I think that's the government in the book). So you can blame the authors for that one because even the book blacks out the profanity.

I feel very deceived because when I read the reviews the first 25 or so reviews that are displayed are 5 star absolutely rave reviews! Then when you get past all those, the real truth comes out (which I didn't see before I bought the book).

The format was hard to follow and confusing. At least if you were reading the book, rather than listening to it, you would have been able to skim past all of the unnecessary info that is repeated constantly, such as timestamps, dates, and locations, etc.

The writing was very juvenile at best and the characters were irritating. I only made it through 17 chapters (out of 173) and I decided to return it to get my credit back because it was so awful. I saw that other reviewers said that it gets better by the last quarter of the book, but I couldn't even stand one chapter more so I don't know how I could make it through that much more before it actually got interesting, if it even ever did.

The full cast was neat and it did feel like a radio show, but it was just very hard to follow the way it was written.

47 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Caitie F
  • 2015-12-07

Best book of the year has the best audio as well

This is by far the best book I have read in 2015 and the audio production is incredible as well.

The full cast adds so much to it and the sound effects build the tension.

The writing in this book is incredible as are the characterizations and the plot. It is smart, funny, and absolutely thrilling.

This is a great choice for anyone who likes adventure, space, love, or humor. It has it all.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonas Lee
  • Rapid City
  • 2015-10-28

Mind + Illuminae = Blown

If you could sum up Illuminae in three words, what would they be?

Cataclysmic
Imaginitive
Awesomeness

Who was your favorite character and why?

I honestly felt the most for AIDAN. I was equally scared of what he might do and remorsing his life playing out

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was when AIDAN and Grant were sharing a moment at the end after the Lincoln arrived and the Infected were trying still to desperately get at her.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Survive the black to show the light

Any additional comments?

This is a re-read for sure. Normally I buy audio books because I think I might take too long to read, but in this case, I'll be looking for a physical copy.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret
  • 2015-10-31

Illuminae

Really enjoyed this book. This production is beautifully executed and very immersive. The many voices make the characters come alive - almost like watching a good movie!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eli
  • Manila
  • 2015-12-04

This book + audiobook is just mind blowing!

I bought the book and the audiobook. Oh, my god, I don't regret sending for both. It was such an amazingly immersive experience. The book is marvelous. Beautiful! Amazing performance, the audio book is too! Illuminae is beyond galaxy, space and time!

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • pondo
  • Gilbert Arizona
  • 2018-04-27

Couldn’t finish it, had to return

The number one reason to write a book is to entertain. This author is unaware of that premise

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Margo
  • 2016-05-14

good story but

good storyline but the format was cumbersome and hard to follow
I would have enjoyed it more if it was more dialog

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zineb Bouzaaboun
  • 2019-05-08

Amazing !

The story is excellent, hard to grasp at first but after the 150th page, it is really hard to put it down ! The reading cast did a perfect job portraying the different characters with different voices which made the reading even more enjoyable.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Aluna
  • 2018-12-15

sympa

Ouvrage sympa, belle performance audio, belle intrigue : toutefois je n'ai pas accroché au mode de narration en mode "interview" et l'histoire ne m'a pas assez intéressée pour que je lise la suite...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Courson
  • 2017-01-19

brilliant

I loved this (audio)book, the way that it is written is so unique and clever. The readers did a fantastic job you can totally recognise the character by their voices and way of expressing themselves