Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
As with most sci-fi and fantasy series, the final book always sees the stakes rise even higher and the chances of survival very slim. Obsidio is no different. Over the course of the series, we have watched a brewing conflict explode in many different ways. At first, you wonder how these paths could possibly link, but are then treated to an incredible and intricate plot thread that leaves readers with a sense of awe whilst dreading what is to come. In Obsidio, these threads align as one as the battle against BeiTech takes us back to where it all started, Kerenza IV.
With Ezra, Kady, Hannah, and Nik all aboard the Mao, Obsidio divides its time between the Mao’s arrival at Kerenza and life on the ground of the war-torn planet. On Kerenza, we meet two individuals that have a world of history between them. After a messy break-up, the tension between Rhys and Asha is evident. However, their reunion threatens to further separate these two as Asha is one of the survivors of the Kerenza colony determined to see BeiTech fail, and Rhys a BeiTech technician stationed on the ground to resolve any technical hitch their team may face. If you’re worried about the Mao taking the spotlight away from these new characters, fret not because Kaufman and Kristoff once again succeed in developing their characters whilst progressing the overarching plot.
It is futile to write a review and not mention the narrative techniques of this series. It has been long established, but sharing this story as a compiled dossier on the events was the most effective technique, especially since the files are built up as evidence in the prosecution of BeiTech’s atrocities. The narrative method was all-encompassing and some of the illustrations included in the book further heightened the sense of desperation in the characters. That is where the Illuminae Files shine. It makes us think about what it means to be a hero or a villain. This book highlights the variety of ways a character can react to a situation when their chances of survival are slim. Some act out of anger, some out of fear, and others out of duty. It’s the way these characters react to this situation that really highlights the humanity of it all. None of them are perfect, but they do the best they can with what little assurance they have.
The best example of this is AIDAN, the ships artificial intelligence system. His presence has been felt in all three books, and his observations of humanity and the way he comes to understand the emotional components that influence our choices was intricately developed. Once again, AIDAN, takes matters into his own hands and the consequences are substantial, but do the benefits of his actions outweigh the emotional toll his choice had on our characters? That is where the lines blur because he may be in the wrong, but his actions gave the crew the chance they needed to finish the job.
Obsidio was a rollercoaster from start to finish. There were as many highs as there were lows. The chances of survival were slim, and the book highlighted the destructive yet hopeful nature of humanity. Could these characters live with the actions they choose to follow? Do you listen to your conscience or continue to be a pawn in someone else’s game? Humanity has always been at the heart of this series, and Obsidio delivers a wholly satisfying conclusion to what has been an unforgettable reading experience.
What did you think of Obsidio?
Who was your favourite character in the series?