REVIEW | Illuminae

“There is something in humanity more suited to the mechanics of murder than any machine yet devised.”

This review works in conjunction with my review videos so make sure you watch them too! 


This book is so unique and original that it blows my mind every time I think about it. I have yet to come across anything like it in terms of creativity and execution. I mean, I’ve come across books that use similar formats before, but they’re usually far more heavily text based (letters or journal entries) than this one, which is more tech based. And it was just executed so successfully I thought.

So. Illuminae 101. The storyline is based around a kind of war between two massive mining corporations. One corporation attacks an illegal mining colony being run by another corporation, and attempts to massacre the entire population. The other mining corporation rescues those that they can from the colony, and a massive space-chase occurs for the rest of the book, where the survivors attempt to outrun the attacking mining corporation and get to safety. If you want a more thorough explanation, check out my ‘blind book date’ video below!

Overall, I thought that the format of this story really added to the suspense of the whole plot-line, and made it impossible to put down. This was definitely a more plot-based novel than a novel about characters or themes, and it made it a perfect in-between book from some of the heavier/denser things I was reading at the time.



“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.”

“Am I not merciful?”

“Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”

“Numbers do not feel. Do not bleed or weep or hope. They do not know bravery or sacrifice. Love and allegiance. At the very apex of callousness, you will find only ones and zeros.”

“When the light that kisses the back of her eyes were birthed, her ancestors were not yet born. How many human lives have ended in the time it took that light to reach her?”

“If it is the definition of insanity to repeat the same process and expect a different outcome, most of humanity must be insane.”

“There is something in humanity more suited to the mechanics of murder than any machine yet devised.”


The character AIDAN and the decisions it makes throughout the book raises a lot of questions about morality, and whether it is possible to ‘calculate’ the most ethical outcome to a solution. Do you think it is possible to calculate the most moral solution to a problem mathematically, or is morality purely the product of human emotion?

The byline of the book is ‘first survive, then tell the truth,’ clearly truth is a large theme in the book. What do you think of the epistolary format of the book and the implications this has for the theme of telling the truth?



Interview with the authors

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