Author Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher Knopf Books | 2018
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. (from Goodreads)
Beware: This review may contain spoilers for the first two books of this series, Illuminae & Gemina.
Let me just start by saying this: NIK MALIKOV, YOU BEAUITFUL BOY, YOU ARE THE REAL MVP!!! THEY ALL MOCKED YOU BUT I BELIEVED!
OK, I have a lot of feelings so this might get a little long. It took me forever to finally get to this book after listening to Gemina because 1) work got insane and 2) my library hold took forever. But I am finished and HAPPY (OH SO HAPPY!!) AND EMOTIONAL AND FEELING ALL THE FEELINGS!!! After being a bit let down by Gemina, this one really pulled through and I’m really happy with the ending. It still didn’t quite reach the level of amazing that Illuminae did, but I still loved it.
The main reason why I ended up bumping this down to four stars was because I thought the beginning was a little slow. It’s hard to get attached to either Rhys or Asha since we don’t get the same amount of facetime that we did for the two duos from the previous books, and also there’s so much happening and the core four have really big roles to play. Not that I’m complaining, since I really love the core four. I will say that I was a little disappointed because after allllll this time of WAITING and HOPING for everyone to finally be together (which happened at the end of Gemina), I didn’t realize that once they were together…. we wouldn’t get as much ‘chat-room’ style conversations (the radio transmissions later on were great though!!!)…because they’re all in the same room. And I LOVE the voice cast for Kady, Ezra, Nik and Hanna so I was a bit sad that I had to listen to so much surveillance footage summaries (which by the way, WHY did they throw the random new surveillance footage narrator in there?! I was perfectly happy with the first guy and was a bit thrown by that random decision.)
Quick, but very important tangent: I am SO SO happy that there was a full cast list at the end of this audiobook. The cast definitely deserved the recognition because they are SO GOOD in this series, and while I was reading Gemina, it was super hard for me to find a full list anywhere online! So I’m really glad that they got their little ovation at the end because they MADE these audiobooks what they are. Literally any section of this book that had a conversation between any of the main voice actors (Kady, Ezra, Nik, Hanna, Ella or AIDAN) was absolutely perfect. I especially loved the interactions between Kady & Ezra (duh), Ezra & Nik (all ‘babyface’ comments were outstanding and let me reiterate here- THANK YOU NIK FOR BEING A SMART, PREPARED DUDE!), and the group’s last chat with AIDAN (‘blow me AIDAN’ is a legit quote and that’s incredible). ALSO, and I’m realizing this “quick” tangent is not at all quick- LET’S JUST GIVE A ROUND OF FRICKIN’ APPLAUSE TO THE, WHAT I AM DUBBING, THE HEIST SEQUENCE (during the Mao bridge takeover, when Kady, Ella, Ezra, Nik, Hanna and AIDAN concoct a plan of attack, complete with spy-movie-type-shit music in the background. A MASTERPIECE. A TRUE MASTERPIECE.)
I think part of my let down with Gemina was that it didn’t evoke the same feeling of complete anxiety and stress while listening to it as Illuminae did. It was still intense, for sure, but I felt that Illuminae‘s plot of the virus and AIDAN’s takeover of the Alexander, plus the added greatness of Kady and Ezra, was a lot more emotional and thrilling. Obsidio brought all those anxious feelings back out and I was excited! I knew with this being the finale there were some permanent stakes and deaths on the horizon so I was really worried all the way through. I also think that all of the characters (especially the old favorites from the first two books) were great in this one. It was so fun to see their working dynamic on board the Mao and AIDAN was back to his crazy, creepy, unsettling self, which I think was lacking a bit in Gemina.
So after all that rambling, I’m super happy with how this series ended. I loved all the final outcomes for these characters and the last few minutes are really great. This series has definitely shown me how great audiobooks can be, especially ones with full casts (which I REALLY love), and I hope to find more like this soon! I’m excited that Kaufman and Kristoff are writing more books together, and I’m eager to check out Aurora Rising! I’ve gone back and forth about trying out the Nevernight trilogy because I’ve heard so many mixed reviews about it, so if anyone’s read it and has an opinion, please let me know! A final shout out to Chelsea, without whom I might have never even thought to try out the Illuminae audiobook. THANK YOU!!! Also, Kady & Ezra- I love you.