Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Also by this author: Illuminae, Gemina
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: March 13, 2018
Source: Purchased from Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?
Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.
With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.
SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1 and 2: Obsidio is the third book in the Illuminae series, so I’m not going to hold back on spoilers for the first two books. If you’re interested in the series but haven’t read the first two, this is where you should leave (and immediately go get Illuminae or Gemina because let me tell you, this series is epic and ends spectacularly. You won’t be disappointed).
Review: OBSIDIO by AMIE KAUFMAN & JAY KRISTOFF
Obsidio. Whoa. My mind was BLOWN, guys.
From there, we flashback to just after the Hypatia (the ship carrying Kady Grant, Ezra Mason and the other Alexander survivors) picked up the survivors of Heimdall station. Those people include Hanna Donnelly, Nik Malikov, Ella Malikova and Isaac Grant. Yes, all our heroes. And they have problems.
Hypatia is a torn up mess that took seven months to get to Heimdall. The Hypatia and Heimdall crews are getting along terribly. And no one wants to rely on a bunch of teenagers for their survival.
Oh, also? The crews of the Heimdall and Hypatia don’t know it yet, but there are still survivors on Kerenza IV, the planet Kady and Ezra are originally from. It’s been completely occupied by BeiTech, the bad company that originally started the whole mess.
Those survivors include Kady’s cousin Asha Grant, who is part of the resistance on Kerenza trying to stop more genocide from happening. Asha’s had a bad time of it, to say the least. Aside from the genocide, BeiTech is about to drop in a blast from the past – her ex-boyfriend, techy Rhys Lindstrom.
Got all that? And that’s just the beginning of the story.
To say that Obsidio is complicated is an understatement. Authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff expertly manage a main cast of about 12, a secondary cast of about 30, and the populations of three separate locations. Oh, and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite murderous artificial intelligence system, AIDAN. I never found it difficult to maneuver through, though, because the great thing about all those source documents is that they tell the story so thoroughly.
Kaufman and Kristoff’s writing is just as on point as in the last two books. The sassiness and snark is there, the great dialogue, and the unbelievably realistic descriptions. It’s just a great sci-fi read, full of blacked-out swearing, swashbuckling, and space battles that are illustrated through word art. Like Gemina and Illuminae, you really get that sense of urgency and the magnitude of what these teens are trying to do: save the world.
Speaking of teens, one of the things that was most annoying – but something I really loved as well – about this book is how much the adults underestimated the teens in this book. These teens got it done in books 1 and 2, and the adults just can’t believe that they need to take orders from people younger and more experienced than them. That disbelief, along with discord among the two crews, makes for a complex look at how alliances can dissolve and crack when dealing with a very messed up world. And yeah, I felt like there were some real world parallels here.
Kaufman and Kristoff are great miners of the human condition. They understand perfectly how their characters tick, and even if you don’t agree with the methods of some of them, you always understand their reasoning behind it.
That’s the thing that makes the entire Illuminae Files series so brilliant. Through the snark, sass, and swashbuckling, there are complex people fighting a complex battle because they believe in the good in humanity. And that theme of belief in humanity is what makes Obsidio, to me, the best in the series. It’s not the most heart-breaking of the three books (thank goodness!), but it is the most focused and the most confident. Highly recommended.
Death Toll: Obviously this is only a bonus for this series, but I LOVE that Amie and Jay incorporated so many readers into their book this way, including yours truly!
Book Theme Song:
There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief
No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we’ve been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin’ falsely now
The hour’s getting late, hey
When I think of epic space battles, I always think of classic rock and Battlestar Galactica. It was the first song to come to mind when I was reading Obsidio. I could just hear the electric guitar wailing as the scene transitioned between all the different characters and storylines. And the fact that this is a story that has parallels with the real world, and has a cyclical nature like the song…well, it works!
The Final Word:
If you thought Illuminae and Gemina were well plotted out and exciting…Obsidio takes the cake. Obsidio is a worthy finale to a smashing, fun, high-stakes YA science fiction series. A must-read.
OBSIDIO by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is out in bookstores now. Have you read the Illuminae Files series, either Illuminae or Gemina? What format did you read in (I’ve heard excellent things about audio?)? What’s your fave sci-fi series ender? Let me know in the comments!