A bit over four years have passed since I first heard about Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's first collaboration, The Illuminae Files. It's been three years since I read the first novel and about five days since I finished the last. I needed some time to process it all before I sat down with my review but now I'm ready to write about this last piece of an incredible ride across the universe. If you’re interested in the series but haven’t read the first two books, turn away now because this will not be spoiler-free.

In the first two novels, Illuminae and Gemina, we meet Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik who all got their own problem. The planet that Kady and Ezra lived on, Kerenza IV, got attacked by BeiTech and they’re escaping on a space ship trying to get to Jumpstation Heimdall, where Hanna and Nik live. They, in turn, have no idea what’s going on at Kerenza until BeiTech sends a crew of assassins to kill all residents on the Jumpstation and shut it down so no one outside of the Kerenza part of the universe will ever know what BeiTech did. The four teenagers work together to save each other, and the universe, but once Heimdall is destroyed they have no other option than to travel back to Kerenza IV and hope that there’s something left of their home.

Obsidio picks up right after Gemina ends and we finally get to see what happened to the planet after Kady and Ezra left it. Kady, who believed her cousin Asha was killed in the initial assault from BeiTech, has no idea that her cousin did, in fact, survive. She’s working as a pharmacy intern but she’s also a big part of the local resistance. BeiTech wants fuel for their portable jumpstation, Magellan, and they’ve kept a few of the locals alive to achieve this goal. Those who weren’t seen as valuable ended up dead. Asha knows her people need to do something or everyone’s going to die once BeiTech has enough fuel to finally leave the planet. She’s in the middle of trying to figure out a way to save her friends and family when she meets Rhys Lindstrom, a very handsome young man who’s something of a tech genius and who works for BeiTech. He also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. All the while, the 2000 survivors from Kerenza IV and Heimdall are onboard the Mao speeding toward the planet and BeiTech gets closer and closer to have a working jumpstation again. Asha needs to find a way to take BeiTech down without her ex-boyfriend getting in her way.

This novel is told like the first two, as a file with documents from chat logs, radio transmissions, video surveillance footage and so forth. I love the way it’s told but the second and third book have a lot of video surveillance footage compared to the first and that’s something I didn’t quite like. I would’ve enjoyed more chat logs and such, it was a little boring to just read the video footage but besides that the layout of the novel was great.

The third book introduces two new main characters in Asha and Rhys and there’s nothing wrong with them in particular but while the first two novels mainly focused on Kady/Ezra and Hanna/Nik and their respective storylines, Asha/Rhys had to share half the novel with the story that took place on the Mao. They’re so new and got so little chance to develop that they didn’t feel quite as real and believable as the other main characters. I wasn’t completely sold on their story-line either. They used to date three years prior when Asha lived elsewhere. When they broke up Asha realised how bad they were for each other and accepted that they shouldn’t be together because of that. Yet somehow, on a speck of ice far from the core system, right between dead bodies and evil soldiers, sparks fly between them. I was supposed to root for them just as much as I did for Kady/Ezra and Hanna/Nik, but I didn’t. They were a good example of an unhealthy relationship and it brought the novel nothing good that they fell for each other again.

Seeing the other main characters were fun and it was also interesting following them during the aftermath of everything that happened at Heimdall. I remember saying, after I read Gemina for the first time, that I thought Hanna got over her boyfriend, Jackson, very quickly to move on to Nik right away. It didn’t bother me quite so much the second time I read Gemina, but those old thoughts popped back up during Obsidio. Hanna is trying to recover from the loss of her father, accepting that she’s now an orphan and that her boyfriend of six months lied to her every single day of their relationship. Her grief regarding her father was addressed in the novel and it felt real, yet despite that I still couldn’t get on board with the fact that she opened her heart to Nik so quickly. It made her, known as a tactician, feel not quite as intelligent as I knew she was.

As I mentioned, about half of the novel took place on Kerenza and the other half on the Mao. It was fun to see both sides simultaneously, but it was harder to connect to Kerenza and the people left on the planet. It also felt like the storyline on the planet was rushed and it made it even harder to connect to what happened there. My two biggest problem with the novel, however, was this:

Throughout the two first books, Kaufman and Kristoff have surprised readers with plot twist after plot twist and I expected something extraordinary from Obsidio but I didn’t get it. Instead it rather felt like they reused things they’d already used before, making it very easy to predict what would happen. There wasn’t a moment when I was chocked and that was a big disappointment. I was prepared to be shaken to my core, to be heartbroken, but I was neither. It was a huge let-down since Illuminae and Gemina took my breath away time and time again.

The other problem was that everything was so convenient. Things just happened to fall into place, everything just worked out like it was… written in a novel. I know it’s not actually real but I’m supposed to feel like it is. I’m not supposed to see the writers behind the words, see how they pull the threads and that the characters are nothing more than puppets. But whenever something happened things just… fell into place. Everything was just solved. I was never afraid that they wouldn’t make it and the authors gave me more than enough crumbs to figure out who would survive the finally battle well before the end. It almost felt like the authors were rushed when writing this, like they just wanted it all to end. It was the thing that made me most disappointed, how the novel seemed to lack that perfect balance between action and character development that the first two novels had. Did I like Obsidio? Yes, I absolutely did. Did I love it? Sadly not. I will certainly read it again, but it will have to wait. It wasn’t the amazing end I hoped for, but it was a solid one nonetheless.