Book Review: ‘Obsidio’ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Across three engrossing novels comprised of sketches, instant message chat rooms, and surveillance transcripts, the Illuminae Files trilogy coauthored by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff comes to an end with the final installment: Obsidio.

For those unfamiliar with the young adult science-fiction series, the novels break boundaries in terms of format and creativity. Readers will find pages upon pages of interactive and fun layouts that somehow still manage to engage just as a typical textual novel would. Obsidio in particular combines all the formats in the previous two books with its own set of page designs to bring to life the story of Kady, Ezra, Hanna, Nik, Asha, and Rhys. The world in which the trilogy takes place is detailed and rich, sure to please science-fiction fans with a penchant for murderous artificial intelligence, interstellar romance, and good ol’ space battles.

Without spoiling the novels too much, Obsidio follows the events after the last two installments, only this time the novel jumps between two locations: the ship Mao and the ruins of Kerenza, an illegal colony occupied by hostile Beitech soldiers. The objective through all three books remains the same: record the wrongdoings of Beitech and survive to tell the tale (or die trying).

The thrilling scenes on both Kerenza and the Mao defy the usual irritation that occurs with scene-switches. Each story and each document in the novel possesses its own driving force: no matter whose story you’re more invested in, you’ll want to speed through the pages. Kaufman and Kristoff’s mastery of building suspense and tension is rivaled by their detailed character building.

Each novel in the series follows one couple: Illuminae focuses on recently separated couple Kady and Ezra, Gemina on unexpectedly playful Hanna and Nik, and Obsidio on long-lost lovers Asha and Rhys. Though this last novel introduces Asha and Rhys for the first time, it also satiates readers’ desire for more development from the previous two couples. This might be the reason why the characters and their relationships with each other are so authentic and engaging, despite the admittedly restrictive format of the trilogy. Each novel’s gripping plot, relatable characters and swoon-worthy romances pave the way for an explosive finale that plays on the strengths accumulated across the series.

Aside from the great world building, fun format, 3D characters and romances, Obsidio also brings to the table a great finale on a trilogy that is ultimately about the power of humanity. Though the trilogy takes place many centuries from present day, its message about the need to be humane through all adversity remains universally and timelessly relevant.

RRP: AU$22.99 – Purchase here

For more information on Amie Kaufman: Website | Twitter

For more information on Jay Kristoff: Website | Twitter


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Written by The Uyen Cao


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