Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Source: Borrowed

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.

BRIEFING NOTE: 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.

In case you didn’t see my rating up there, I’m going to say it here: I did not enjoy this book. I know it’s a well-loved book and this is probably heresy or something, but this book was just not for me, and here’s why.

The characters: Did I care about even one single character? No. They were roles, not characters. We have the Strong Female Protagonist who’s ready to save the world. We have the Charming Love Interest who… doesn’t really have much more of a function than that. We have some Fun Side Characters whose only purpose is to die for shock value.

The plot: I’m sorry, what plot? There are two ships, okay. There’s a very contagious sickness on one of them. Some lovers who’ve been separated after breaking up but they’re still in love? There’s a war, I guess, but it’s not really explained in any kind of detail. I don’t even know what the plot is, really, aside from Kady and Ezra pining over each other for no reason.

The relationship: I’m a romance lover and even I can admit that the romance in this book was entirely unnecessary. If Kady and Ezra love each other so much, why did they break up at the beginning of the book? I couldn’t take them seriously.

The plot twist: I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t one of those “oh wow, that plot twist!!” kind of situations. It was one of those “really? are you actually serious? this is what I waited for??” kind of moments. The big plot twist was some nonsense.

I had really hoped to enjoy Illuminae since so many of my Goodreads friends and fellow bloggers love it, but I just couldn’t get into it. The format is fun, but that’s about all that I can say about this one. I love Jay Kristoff, but I’m not going to be continuing with this series.

Have you read Illuminae? Do you agree with me or did you love it?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2018

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is new-to-me authors of 2018 and I have to say, I think it’s going to be a little difficult to narrow this down to ten.

Shaun David Hutchinson

my reviewmy review

Alice Clayton


my review

Jenn Bennett

my reviewmy reviewmy review

Sarah J. Maas

my reviewmy review
my reviewmy review

Emma Hart

my reviewmy review

Jay Kristoff

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Tara Sivec

my reviewmy reviewmy review

Maggie Stiefvater

my reviewmy review
my reviewmy review


my review

Brian K. Vaughan

see all my Saga reviews here!

Erin Hahn


my review will be posted closer to publication!

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Have you read any of these books? Who’s the best author that you read for the first time in 2018? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff
Series: Lifelike #1
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Source: Purchased

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.

I bought Lifel1k3 in one of my many book-buying binges of the summer. It sat on my desk for a good few months before I finally picked it up. I was in a little bit of a slump when I started reading it. I’ve been having trouble focusing on novels recently, hence the reviews of other things, like graphic novels. This book might have just pulled me out that slump.

I kind of expected to love Lifel1k3 since I loved Nevernight and Godsgrave so much. It’s a very different type of story, but it’s still so good.

The biggest thing for me was probably that I loved the characters so much! Eve was great, but Lemon Fresh and Cricket really stole the show. I have a soft spot for sassy robots, and Lifel1k3 has so many sassy robots. It’s no wonder I liked it so much. I also really liked the whole concept of Lifelikes and I really can’t wait to read more about them in the next book. (Whenever that will be.)

This book was just so great and now I think I need to go read the rest of Jay Kristoff’s books because he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

#killingthetbr: 3 months on shelf

Have you read Lifel1k3? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #2
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Source: Borrowed

A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

If you recall, I was a literal 😭 emoji after finishing Nevernight. I buddy read that one with Leslie and neither of us could wait to dive into the next book, so we did a surprise buddy read of this one too! (You can see her review here!)

I love that this book starts with a recap! I wish that more books would do this! Even though I started it two days after finishing Nevernight, it was still really great. And I’m much less apprehensive about the fact that I have to wait an entire year for Darkdawn now that I know it’ll probably have a little recap in the front too.

There are some great new characters introduced in Godsgrave! I loved Sid, I constantly wanted to know more about Furian, and Maggot was amazing. Of course, several characters from Nevernight make a comeback and Mia’s Blade training comes in very handy when she sells herself as a gladiator in her crazy quest for vengeance.

Now, no spoilers here, but a whole heck of a lot happens in this book. There are a lot of battle scenes, a lot of blood, a lot of poison, a lot of plotting, and a lot of plot twists. Also, much like in Nevernight, a fair amount of sexy scenes.

I am basically dead from the last ten or so pages. Some of it I saw coming, some of it I definitely did not. My only negative comments have to do with (a) the fact that we really don’t know anything more about being a darkin than we did at the end of Nevernight and (b) that Mia seemed to forgive a certain character for a certain thing rather quickly, given the circumstances. (That was really hard to keep spoiler-free!)

Still, a really good book that I’d definitely recommend!

Some quotes:

  • “When you take a person out of the world, you don’t just take them, do you? You take everything they were, too.”
  • “You can keep the glory. I’m just here for the blood.”
  • “This is not where I die.”
  • “She’d grown up inside books. No matter how dark life became, shutting out the hurt was as easy as opening a cover. A child of murdered parents and a failed rebellion, she’d still walked in the boots of scholars and warriors, queens and conquerors.
    The heavens grant us only one life, but through books, we live a thousand.”

Me before reading Godsgrave: 😭
Me after reading Godsgrave: 🤯

Please read this book so I can gush about that ending.

Have you read Godsgrave? Do you love Jay Kristoff?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Source: Purchased

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

I have a lot of thoughts about this book, so my review is probably going to be a mess. Apologies in advance. But first things first, this was my first ever buddy read! Thanks to Leslie for doing it with me and for putting up with my excessive use of exclamation points and crying emojis via Goodreads messages. ❤

Here’s her review!

Anyway, wow, this book starts off with a bang. I don’t think it’s a spoiler and I also want to prepare you in case you decide to read it: this starts off with death and sex and it’s really cool, okay? I love the parallels between the two scenes and I think it was the best way to start a book. I was committed to this book and these characters and this world from the very first page.

This book is so different from what I usually read. SO DIFFERENT. I can see why some people have struggled with the writing style, but I absolutely adored it and I just thought it was so fitting for the world that Kristoff created. While we’re talking about the writing style, fair warning: there are a lot of footnotes. They were funny at the beginning, got mildly annoying about halfway in, and I barely paid attention to them by the end. That’s my one and only criticism of this book.

So. The characters. I loved them. I LOVED ALL OF THEM. I am dying, dead, RIP me. Mia is possibly my favorite fantasy protagonist ever because she’s just a teenage girl, but she’s been through so much and she’s channeling all of her rage and sadness into this crazy quest to become an assassin. And she has a talking cat?? A really sassy talking cat! Named Mister Kindly. It doesn’t get better than this.

I also loved (or loved to hate) every other character in this book. Tric! Ashlinn! Carlotta! Hush! Naev! All the crazy teachers and the librarian and oh my god, everybody.

Some quotes:

  • “If you’d like to go fuck yourself, I’ll be waiting here patiently for your return.”
  • “The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.”
  • “Too many books. Too few centuries.”
  • “O, bitch,” Mia nodded. “How creative. What’s next? Slut? No, whore, am I right?”
    Diamo blinked. Mia could practically see him striking off the words in his mental insult list and coming up empty.

Me before reading Nevernight: 😊
Me after reading Nevernight: 😭

Please read this book.

Have you read Nevernight? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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