This Sci-Fi Space Adventure Will Be Your New YA Obsession

Watch the exclusive trailer for Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's new YA sci-fi thriller, "Illuminae."

Breakups suck. But having your planet invaded by an evil megacorporation might actually suck more. Might. Welcome to Kady's life in the year 2575.

With enemy fire raining down on her colony, our teen heroine Kady and her ex Ezra are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. Awkward. But that's only the start of their problems in "Illuminae," a YA collaboration between award-winning authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Because if a burgeoning war wasn't enough drama, a deadly space plague is threatening to kill off the survivors, while Kady, with her newfound hacker skills, discovers that the fleet's AI, called AIDEN, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy.

Now Kady and Ezra -- separated by actual space, as if life wasn't hard enough -- must work together to solve the mystery and save their people. The sci-fi thriller (out Oct. 20) is told through a series of hacked documents, including emails, schematics, military files, medical reports, journal entries and more, making it a truly interactive experience for the reader.

If that sounds like your kind of space opera, you're in serious luck: MTV News has the exclusive book trailer -- and you can check it out RIGHT NOW.

What is AIDEN, you ask? "It's an Artificial Intelligence, a computer that runs what is essentially a battleship," Kristoff told MTV News. "Its highest priority is to protect the people in the fleet."

But during the initial attack on Kady's planet, AIDEN suffered major damages. "We kind of fell back on the three classic laws of robotics, the first being that a robot can't, by action or a mission of action, do harm to a human being," Kristoff said. "But AIDEN has taken some damage in the initial battle of the book that takes place in the first couple of pages in the book, and the way it perceives the concept of the greater good starts to have some very interesting and dramatic effects."

"It starts to make decisions that it probably shouldn't by itself because it doesn't trust the people around it to do what's best for themselves," he added. "It's kind of a thought experiment for amorality for the sake of morality -- doing bad things for good reasons."

Random House

Illuminae Book Cover

Cover art for "Illuminae."

As for the unique design of the book, which is told through a series of correspondences, Kaufman said the idea came to her in a dream.

"Originally, we started working together because I had an anxiety dream that we were already working together," she said. "And in this dream that I had, the book we were writing was an email book. When I told him about that, we both kinda laughed and then said, 'Wait a minute, there's something in there.' From there, we kind of started discussing, well, 'Why does it have to be an email book? How much stranger can it be?'"

Random House


The cover insert, which illustrates the unique look of the book.

"It was a pretty organic evolution, and once we started on the idea of AIDEN, the artificial intelligence, we realized that we could do almost anything we wanted, in terms of having the design help tell the story and being intrinsic to the story," she added. "It's part of the reading experience."

And the reading experience is a fantastically fun ride, complete with "Unipedia" entries that fill in the timeline gaps of the megacorporations at war and intense battle scenes that literally have your head spinning.

"We wanted to change the way that you use the book," Kaufman said. "When there's a big barrel roll, you physically have to turn the book 360 degrees in order to read what's happening. We wanted to make the format a part of the storytelling; the story wouldn't be complete without it."

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