Series Review: Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Illuminae Files Trilogy


Synopsis for Illuminae (from Goodreads):

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.

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


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav YA 2015
Series: Illuminae Files
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
# of Books: 3 (Illuminae, Gemina, Obsidio)
Book Order: Chronological Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Emails, Files, Chats, Reports
Publication Date: October 2015 – March 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere before it came out! Those who had ARCs loved it and so my interest was peaked. I’ve been looking for a great Science Fiction YA Thriller since I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Illuminae seemed right up that alley.

What I Liked:


Originally, I tried to get the eBook of this from my library but they kept delaying the release date for it. I didn’t really understand why until I picked up the hardcover in person. When I first heard of the book, I totally missed the paragraph that told you this book was told through “hacked documents” etc. So when I opened it up and saw how everything was formatted, I simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief (because the size of the book scared me a little) and grinned in excitement!

You would think a story told like this would suffer from underdeveloped world building and the like but it’s the exact opposite! Because you can include pictures and reports about everything in the world, it really makes it easy for the reader to see and understand what is happening. It also makes reading go a lot faster since the pages aren’t loaded with text.

–The Plot–

I loved that there were so many elements at play! From the romance (which was there in just the right amount) to the plague to the actual escape: it was just plain fun and addicting to read! I really wanted to get to the bottom of everything and there were great twists along the way.

–The Humour–

I just have to say that there were quite a few times I laughed out loud during this.

What I Didn’t Like:


Nothing immediately comes to mind when I think about what I didn’t like. I didn’t like how heavy the hardcover novel was to hold when I was reading in bed but that can’t be helped. I will admit though that it took me a little while to warm up to Kady but I was a total fan of hers by the end!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I think it is really interesting that the next book will feature completely different characters. While I love Kady and Ezra’s story (and really grew to like them as characters), I definitely want to see what else is happening in this world at the same time!


–November 24, 2016– Book #2: Gemina

Illuminae was going to be a tough act to follow–but Gemina is more than a worthy successor!

I’ll admit, it took me a little while to warm up to Hanna’s character. Like Kady, I had to learn more about her character and see how she handles herself before I could call myself a fan. I think it’s hard to get to know these characters sometimes because the narration is just documents and chats. You don’t get the inner emotions you would if it were a first person narration; more outside looking in. But despite that, these are really well developed characters, it just takes a bit of time to establish it all.

I loved the action-suspense vibe we got in this book! Illuminae has some high-risk situations but this one really seemed more life-and-death to me and that made it a lot more thrilling to read. Add to it the great plot twists along the way and you have yourself a pretty addicting book!

–April 12, 2018– Book #3: Obsidio

I’m so torn over my rating for this book! I think my love of the concept (and format) for this series often clouds my rating because it truly isn’t like any other book I’ve read before.

However, I had the hardest time becoming invested in this story. At the 30%, I found that the plot finally started to build. But it wasn’t until I reached the 50% mark that I started enjoying this novel. Parts were a touch predictable but I still enjoyed watching how everything unfolded as the end neared.

I thought Asha and Rhys would be a bigger focus of this novel–and they weren’t. This book is all about bringing everything together so it was nice to see our past leads take part in the events of this book. But at the same time, I think this stifled Asha and Rhys a bit as characters and left them a little underdeveloped.

So while I think this book is a great finale, I wasn’t as “wowed” with it as I was with the first novel.

My Audiobook Experience:

I was only able to briefly listen to the audio version of Illuminae but it was a huge treat. It has a full cast of narrators and they do a great job of bringing this story to life. It’s a completely different experience listening to the audio and something I definitely recommend to audiobook lovers (or those wanting to give audiobooks a try!).

My Rating: 4/5

Illuminae 5/5 | Gemina 4.5/5 | Obsidio 3.5/5


One of the coolest reads ever in terms of its formating! If you want to try Science Fiction but are scared to jump into the complicated worlds, this is a great introduction!

Read if You Like: unique POVs, world-building, Science Ficiton
Avoid if You: want more romance





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Comments 6

  • I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE!!! *cries* I want to hug it and cherish it for the rest of my life! Avoid my little outburst, it happens every time I see this book. But I’m positively going to buy it after my finals finish! Great review btw! 🙂

  • Wow, this book must be really something ‘coz I haven’t seen a single negative review for this one yet so far. I’ve seen this floating around in my local bookstore and like you, I was intimidated by it’s size. I should definitely pick it up the moment my book buying ban is lifted.

    P.S. I love how you write your reviews. The “read if you like/avoid if you” and the “similar reads” are so value-adding to the readers.

    • Yes, the size was terrifying! But you move through it very quickly so it doesn’t take as long as you think.

      Yay! I’m glad those add-ons are helpful! I’m one of those people who is always comparing and likes to get to the point so I thought those might appeal to some readers 🙂

  • I still can’t believe that I haven’t read this book! I think it’s because I am a little scared of the hype, haha XD I don’t know of one blogger who hasn’t LOVED this book, and I don’t want to be the black sheep (hyped books and I don’t have a very good history). But I have to say that it sounds really unique and awesome.

    I think it’s always a bit of shame to love characters and find out the next book is a companion, rather than a direct sequel. I hope you like the next set of character as much! <3

    • They hype is crazy for this one so I understand the hesitation. But it is a very unique read so I think it deserves all the praise it gets.

      Yeah, I was a little bummed that we will be getting different characters but from the synopsis, these next two sound really interesting 🙂

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