Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“In this moment, she’s both ordinary and extraordinary. Just like everyone in this story.”

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Notice: Obsidio is the final book in the Illuminae Files trilogy. You can read my reviews for the first two books here: Illuminae || Gemina

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.

Obsidio encompassed everything I wanted the ending of the Illuminae Files to be. I was so incredibly nervous to begin this book because I’ve connected to all of these characters in such a profound way, and I absolutely wasn’t ready for anything drastic to happen to any of them. Nevertheless, by the time I turned the last page, I felt like I could finally take a deep breath.

So, let’s break this down.

“I know very little else, save perhaps this: that every story needs its monster.”

As the synopsis states, this book is split between the perspectives of our Illuminae gang aboard the Mao heading back to Kerenza, and the new perspectives of Kady’s cousin Asha and her ex-boyfriend Rhys, who had an ugly past and an even uglier reunion.

There are two things driving the plot along for our character cast:

#1: For Kady and co on the Mao: there are 2,000 people aboard a ship that should only hold 1,000, meaning that food, water, and oxygen are all running out.

#2: The Asha and the Kerenza civilians are quite literally on a race against time for their lives. Once the BeiTech troops get what they want from the colonists, it’s lights out for all of them.

No pressure?

“You believe there is always an alternative. Always a chance for a miracle. But I told you that miracles are statistical improbabilities.”

What I truly hold near and dear to my heart about this book was seeing all of our main characters finally together in one place. Kady and Erza meet Nik, Hanna, and Ella meet Asha and Rhys. It felt like a final union. The perfect example of a found family trope.

And if you’ve read the Illuminae trilogy or even just begun it, you know that there is so much strategy and planning that goes into making the plot lines unfold. So for me, watching all of these characters put their minds together to make things happen is what made the ending of this trilogy so special to me.

In retrospect, it was so clever of Kaufman and Kristoff to make every book have a new main character duo. In the end, every single character had a role to play in waging the final war against BeiTech. And since we had seen nearly all of these characters in action before, they all played a role best suited to their personality and strengths.

It made the rising action feel clever, the climax feel ever so tense and hopeful, and the resolution that much more satisfying.

“These seven little pebbles who started an avalanche heard all the way around the universe.”

Besides my love for the characters and how they came together in this final installment, there’s one other important element of Obsidio that I wanted to talk about. That is:

the way that fantasy mirrored reality.

It is no spoiler that the Kerenza civilians would be killed after BeiTech was done with their insurgency of their planet. But the way that this planned, mass extermination of innocent people was described was chilling. Why? Because it sounds very familiar to things that have happened and are happening in the real world around us.

In my interest of sparing spoilers, let’s just say that there are definitely some shocking moments of pure cruelty in this book. You have been warned.

“We invaded these people’s homes. Bombed them to ███. Killed their families. You think this isn’t a battle? This is a ████ing war.”

In all, Obsidio was a thrilling conclusion to a truly otherworldly YA sci-fi series. Marie Lu is, and Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have become, some of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read more from each of them in 2020!

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