Addicted to Space Travel Books

I have been on one hell of a science fiction binge lately and it all started with Illuminae.

IlluminaeIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers on October 20, 2015
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Space, Thriller
Pages: 599
Source: BookExpo America
Book Details
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

I’ve actually had an ARC of Illuminae sitting around since BookExpo America 2015. I just never read it. I think I was intimidated by two things:

  1. The length
  2. The format

The book is GINORMOUS and the format is certainly unique. The story is told through documents, chat logs, and surveillance footage rather than a traditional storytelling. I thought it could be hit or miss.

But as it turns out? MAJOR HIT!

  1. Space travel
  2. Romance
  3. Evil corporations
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. Viruses

God it was amazing!

Oh and about the length? It reads soooo fast. I think the format makes the book look longer than it actually is. There are a lot of illustrations and the text doesn’t always quite fill the whole page (since there are transcripts, chat logs with an illustrated interface, etc.). It only took me two days to read.

Commence sci-fi / space book binge

After Illuminae I was desperate for more sci-fi. I wanted more space travel, more artificial intelligence, more more more!

Defy the Stars

First I hit up Defy the Stars, which I got from NetGalley. This book was INCREDIBLE! It totally blew me away and it was a perfect book to read after Illuminae. They actually had a lot in common, but were still very different books.

I have a full review of Defy the Stars coming at the end of the month.

Starflight & Starfall

Then I tackled a series I’d had my eye on for a while: Starflight by Melissa Landers. Starflight was pretty fun and I gave it four stars. I didn’t quite like Starfall as much (3½ stars), but it was still worth reading.


Then my copy of Gemina finally arrived in the mail! It was a tad formulaic because it was soo similar to the first book (kind of like The Hunger Games and Catching Fire), but I still really enjoyed it. Some crazy mind blowing shit happened at the end! O_O

Do you have any other recommendations for books that take place in space?

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  1. YAS!

    My favorite space travel book is titled “Starshine” by GS Jennsen. The MC, Alexis, is kind of a free spirit and just travels the universe on her own because she’s basically addicted to the stars. She’s my sci-fi kind of girl.

    Although, a caveat: I enjoyed it best after the first half, and was then totally addicted by the second book. The 8th book is coming out soon I hope? And the ninth book will finalize the series. I’ve read all of them!

    1. I’d never heard of that book but it sounds great!! Totally adding it to my list – thanks! 🙂

  2. I liked Melissa Lander’s Alienated series. It takes place on earth and in space. The MC blogs about her experience with an alien exchange student and her posts had me laughing. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this series so I plan to read all the books you have listed.

    1. Ohh yeah! I read the first book when it first came out but kind of lost track and never read the other books. I should totally pick them back up!

  3. I LOVED Illuminae. I had NO IDEA what to expect, and at first I found the format jarring. But once I got into it, I was completely hooked. It’s spectacular as an audiobook, which was kind of surprising given the format. But they did a PHENOMENAL job of it. I haven’t read Gemina yet, but I can’t wait to get started on it!

    1. I’m so pleased they rocked the audiobook! I don’t listen to those but I hear a lot about how they can be hit or miss. Very cool that they got this one right!

  4. I love it when I get on a binge like this and I just want more, more, MORE! A classic option would be Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I adore! It’s definitely different in tone from these books (much more tongue-in-cheek comedic), but you’ll get lots of space travel! The only other one I can think of off the top of my head is the Starbound Series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (not sure if you’ve already read those, though).

    1. Yesss!! I love binges like this too! I’ve heard a lot about Hitchhiker’s Guide but never actually read it. I read and loved These Broken Stars but never actually got around to finishing the rest of the series. Have you read it?

        1. Excellent! I’ll have to get back into it. Maybe I’ll reread book one first. 🙂

          1. Okay, I’m going to pop in here and say Ashley, you definitely should finish the Starbound trilogy! These Broken Stars is my favorite, but I like how it all comes together in the end ;D

  5. I haven’t read any space travel books since Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. Have you read Kaufman’s other space series, Starbound? If you have, which series would you recommend first?

    1. I’ve only read the first book in the Starbound series. But that’s totally unrelated to Illuminae so you can read them in any order. 🙂

  6. Illuminae was so freaking awesome! I listened to the audiobook and it was superbly done. One I’d recommend is Ascension, Jacqueline Koyanagi – a space opera.

  7. I have also been putting off Illuminae for the same reasons! Everyone it seems has just loved it, and I’m over here scared of the number of pages and format. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for so long, but hearing that you had the same fears and loved it has motivated me haha. Hopefully I’ll be loving it soon too 😛

  8. I’ve not yet read any of the books that you mentioned – but I’ll order Illuminae and Gemina as soon as I’m finished commenting. Hopefully, all my ordered books don’t end up coming in at the same time…which is what usually happens. 😛 I’m a bit curious on how well the characters were developed with the style used, were you able to learn a lot about the characters to get to know them? Haha…I’ve no idea what I just typed, been up since 2ish in the morning.

    1. Oh yeah their personalities totally shine through! It’s actually done quite brilliantly. After a while you probably won’t even notice it’s in a different format.

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