(CAUTION: censored material ahead. But since WordPress doesn’t appreciate formatting I strike-d through words instead of blacked-out. What’s a girl to do?)


I will openly admit I hate when books are super hyped, I never trust them and always end up disappointed. NOT. WITH. THIS. AMAZING BOOK. I would have NEVER picked up this book on my own. But… I was at YALLWEST with a bunch of friends who could only think about getting their hands on a GEMINA arc. Well, I got one. But I felt hesitant to jump into something so hyped up. I postponed it for months, until I found out there was tour stop nearby for Gemina (and Marie Lu did the illustrations * I. DIE!). Then I began to read.

Sadly, I will not be able to make the signing, but reading Illuminae has given me hope for storytelling. Innovative, hypnotizing, elaborate… words fail me to say what about this book makes it so amazing.

The plot is simple, boy and girl break up, catastrophe happens, they rekindle the love, and everything moves forward, but it’s the HOW that has me reeling. Never have I read a book like this. Illuminae shattered how I view storytelling, not a book, but story as a fluid art form.

1st: The formatting. What makes a story different from any other form of art: formatting. Innovative, tactile, surprising. How Jay and Amie present the narrative is a testament to storytelling. Page after page of data reports, blank pages, blacked out words… This book told a story across Points of View, across people, across pages. And I never was more thrilled to turn the page.

2nd: Character. The build of these characters! It’s something I thrive off of. When I read a book, it’s not about setting or story: it’s about character. That’s what keeps me reading. Both Kady and Ezra are good and all, but AIDAN!!!! Little piece of AWESOME! I cannot express the depth that this character touched me. Yes, it’s a sassy, psychopath, murder machine, BUT I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT! Look how it grows! Am I not merciful? Taking something that is cold and heartless, yet somehow turning it inside out and suggesting it morphs into something more than a machine… It’s incredible—a credit to both Jay and Amie.

3rd: THOSE LAST AMAZING 100 PAGES!! Sure the 3rd act builds and climaxes, BUT even the last 12 pages! I hadn’t expected THAT! Granted, I should have, I always tend to guess the ending, BUT STILL I SHRIEKED! *Panicked into paper bag.

4th: The Hype: I was so hesitant to read this because of the hype built around it. Never has it been justified except in Illuminae. I. WAS. BLOWN. AWAY. By the story, by the characters, by the formatting, and every single piece of meticulous storytelling.

In short, I would have never picked this book up on my own, and I love science fiction, but I can’t stop recommending it. If you want to be a writer, if you want to be a storyteller… READ THIS BOOK.

I’m almost sad I’ve decided to read Crooked Kingdom after this. I feel like nothing is going to do what Illuminae did, give me hope about what a book, a story, can do. Well, I say that, but I know as soon as I crack open that first page Leigh Bardugo will be the master of my heart again. But it will be in a very different way than Illuminae.


See YA!


PS. I took this copy out from the library… so I couldn’t make any notes…. Which means I need to buy it… AND READ IT AGAIN!

If you need to know why formatting is a big thing: