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.
BeiTech invades Kerenza IV, killing most of the population. Ezra Mason and Kady Grant are among the few survivors. On board the warship Alexander they must fix their broken relationship and reach the Heimdall waypoint before the BeiTech warship Lincoln intercepts and destroys them. When the Alexander's Artificial Intelligence named AIDAN goes rogue, Ezra and Kady have to work together to not only beat the Lincoln to Heimdall, but also to beat AIDAN. While they are trying to do that, a deadly bio-weapon that has been unleashed by bei-tech is decimating the crew. the weapon influences the victoems mind with paranoia and helplessness... at least thats strain A. named phobos, strain B doubles the paranoia and the crazyness. vitoms go so far as to scoop their murder's eyes out. "It was then that I discovered the fourth victom (julia morton, age 6). victoms eyes had also been removed." and in a conversation between ezra and kady, "...carrying a fire ax. painted red to his elbows" kady has to cope with her mothers death in the copernicus explosion that AIDEN initiated.
✝️ Byron Zhang - A Technical Engineer, Research Officer and Civilian Contractor working on the Hypatia. He is an information-liberty activist, who teaches Kady how to code properly and hack into computer networks.
ILLUMINAE was sold to Random House based on a 130 page sample, which included rough designs of the pages designed by Jay Kristoff, who studied graphic design and used to work as an art director.
"Illuminae" means "the radiant ones" or "those who shed light" in Latin. Jay Kristoff came up with the title during a Tool concert, not knowning that it was a real Latin word until a year later.
Ezra's AAR on page 42 was the first scene written for the novel, and was originally intended to be the opening of the book, until the authors decided to discard this idea.
The binary at the edges of Kady's journal pages reads "Death by Giant Slug to the reader of this journal" when translated.
Leigh Bardugo is listed amongst the casualty list of the Copernicus; it is a name of an actual author. This easter egg however causes a slight continuity error, for it appears again in GEMINA: The ILLUMINAE Files 02, as another eventual casualty.