Illuminae Must Read Book of the Year

Illuminae Must Read Book of the Year

illuminae-don't-lookRecently I haven’t spent much time hailing great books out there to read. Not that there aren’t a ton of them to hail. I just did that here for a solid year straight and you guys really weren’t into books apparently. (And then, remember that time I was grousing about your lame reading habits, and how you suck and you should read more… and then, one of the authors of one of the best books of the year showed up and scolded me about wanting to stop writing about books? Remember that one?) Anyway, I stopped regardless, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped reading. In fact, I’d say I read even more probably.

But Illuminae is a book I’m going to make a serious exception for. Illuminae is a genre busting book that is bound for greatness. Guaranteed. The book just launched and already it’s number five on the New York Times Best Seller’s list in the YA section. And there is good reason for it. Because, um, it’s awesome.

Illuminae Overview

illuminae-awesomeHere’s the tricky tricky bit.  How do I explain it to you in such a way that it doesn’t sound lame? I mean, if you’ve been here before, you know I’m not going to lead you astray when it comes to good books or good movies. Let me give it a go though.

Two star-crossed lovers – Kady Grant and Ezra Mason – live on a small illegal mining colony planet that is attacked by the owners of the planet – BeiTech. BeiTech is hellbent on getting back what is theirs. The story is not really told as other books are told. You learn what is going on through documents, memos, server logs, interviews, email, security footage, and a myriad of other archived transcripts and detailed logs. It’s the book equivalent of a found footage movie.

As the surviving colonists flee, Kady and Ezra are separated on different ships and they begin to sort through their break up earlier on the mining colony. But everywhere around them everything is falling apart. BeiTech Cosmic Dreadnought which is chasing their limping caravan of ships booking it on a six month journey towards the closest light jump location. Only problem? BeiTech used a virus on the mining colony and it seems to be mutating the survivors into a horrible debilitating madness.

Illuminae-is-epicThe book itself is more art than writing. And more design and information illustration than even the publishing industry has seen before. Even J.J. Abrams book S lacks the style and design of Illuminae… which is really saying something.

Beneath the Covers

But to characterize this book as a lost romance or even a drama would be the epitome of wrong. The book is more Horror/Space Opera/Hacking/Zombie novel. Which, even saying that out loud doesn’t even make sense to myself. All I know is that the book starts at an ELEVEN on a ten point scale and it ends somewhere in the realm of a TWENTY. This book is the most perfect book form of the movie Alien I’ve ever seen. There are whole swaths of this book that are scary and violent, and supremely disquieting. And yet, it is also the funniest book I have read in a long time. Funny Alien? The Passage Vampires and post apocalyptica? Wha? This book is set in space, so I’m guessing it’ll land in the science fiction genre. But outside of the whole “space” thing… I really could land anywhere. Theology? Ok. Drama? Yup. Horror? Definitely. Comedy? Ok. War? Yes please.

But the single thing that makes this whole book worth reading is Aidan. Aidan is one of the getaway ships Artifical Intelligence that controls the ships navigation and thrusters. It controls everything… and oh by the way… he seems to be going insane. “AM I NOT BENEVELENT?” Shouts Aidan as he relieves someone of their duties by an act of ruthlessness that is just crazy to consider. Aidan is HAL, on steroids. HAL? What a pansy. Not even worth mentioning alongside Aidan.

Illuminae the Movie

Speaking of movie form, Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, has purchased the rights to the book and is working with Warner Bros. to bring the book to the silver screen. Pitt will produce along with two other of his Plan B partners. Plan B also produced “World War Z”… which is also very similar in scope and scale as Illuminae. So they really do seem to be a production company capable of pulling this amazing book off in movie form.

Illuminae is possibly the most perfect movie manuscript in book form ever written. I remember falling in love with the book The Religion by Tim Willocks and thinking that the book was the most easily convertible book to manuscript I’ve ever read. But Illuminae takes this to a whole new level. The movie lacks all description or narration as its almost all entirely crafted of instant messages, email, etc.

Final Thoughts on Illuminae

I haven’t read a book as good as Illuminae since my run in with The Passage. And that is really about the highest praise I can think of. Thankfully, Illuminae is a three book trilogy, because I’d be seriously depressed without another round of sequel-age from Illuminae. This is such a freaking good book. Such a FreaKing GOod BOOk! And how about this – the first five people to read this review and comment about the book, and what they thought about it, will be immortalized on my blog in some clever (yet to be conceived) way. Maybe a gutter plaque? Or something. READ THIS BOOK. Enough said. It’s amazing.

And if anyone can get me an interview with these two authors – will get a spot in my will. Done. In my will. (I’m not worth much… but what I have, is yours.)