Obsidio Book Review

obsidioTitle: Obsidio
Series: Illuminae Files #3
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 615
Format: Hardcover

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. 

I. Loved. This. Whole. Trilogy.

This whole book was a whirlwind of emotions: anxiety, fear, anger, happiness, sorrow, joy, you name it, I probably felt it. The only thing that could’ve made it better was it actually playing out like a movie in front of my eyes because Jay and Amie brought the visuals again (literally and literary [ha, see what I did there?]) and I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to a trilogy. And as this is the third book, there will probably be spoilers ahead.

Alright, so, where to even begin?

After the events of Gemina, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Obsidio when it came to the plot because how could it possibly live up to that? Well, it brought on another level of many questions and action that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning.

We’re introduced to two new main characters: Asha and Rhys. They were once star-crossed lovers, so to speak, and so totally in love, but events caused them to be separated by time and space (literally), and one went to become a medical intern (Asha), while the other got shipped to military school and went to work for BeiTech (Rhys).

Now as this was the third book, there was a lot going on. I don’t know that I’m as attached to these to as I am to Nik and Hanna, but I still loved their characters. They were just trying to each do their jobs, to look humanity in the face and question it, and to really put to the test about morality and how the decisions you make can really affect everything around you.

Asha is Kady’s older cousin and a strong, brave woman. She’s pretty ordinary, but she has a fierce love for others and she isn’t about to put up with anyone’s bullshit when it comes to that love. I loved one of the lines in one of the surveillance footage chapters where it says how she doesn’t have anything special about her like Hanna and Kady do, which probably makes her the bravest of all – and, frankly, I have to agree. She’s not a martial arts or tactician like Hanna, or a computer whiz like Kady; she’s just a young woman trying to survive on a planet much too unforgiving with people even more unforgiving than that.

And then we have Rhys who’s a tech whiz from the spaceship Magellan with the perfect quiffed hair that seems to defy all laws of physics. The part about him that I loved the most is that he never stopped questioning the morality of what was happening on the planet Korenza IV. He never stopped asking why the BeiTech soldiers did what they did, why they killed for some stupid reasons, etc. I think that even though he was a trained military soldier, he was still so fresh and human compared to the other BeiTech soldiers that it pushed some other characters to really reflect on their own decisions.

When they managed to work together despite their past, they really managed to do so well. I liked their dynamic and how one was looking out for the other while also trying to look out for others.

And then we have everyone else that was important coming back full force and there was a lot of death, a lot of pain, but so much to look forward to.

Kady and AIDEN were two of my favorite aspects of this story, in particular. AIDEN is actually one of my favorite characters in any series, and he’s an AI system. A monster. And I can’t help but feel attached to him because despite all of that, he was still… human. It’s hard to explain, really, but his character was one of the best I’ve read. And Kady was fighting so hard and showing that she wasn’t going to back down for anything, even the few times that AIDEN showed how unstable he was and how weak he was becoming.

Nik, Hanna, Ezra, and Ella were all key players in this story, as well, but not as much as in previous books (obviously, because we had two new main characters). There were a few times that they brought a lot of humor to tense situations, which I found to be a nice buffer in all of the chaos.

Also, shout out to Dr. Isaac Grant for being the best dad ever and caring not just for his own daughter, but for all of our main heroes aboard. My heart. It weeps.

Okay, but the plot? ACTION. PACKED. Like I seriously felt like I didn’t have a break from someone being shot or yelled at or AIDEN being all “I am a monster,” or anything because holy crap, this plot moved fast. But like, it was a good kind of fast like the other two books. It encompassed so much in its 600+ pages that my brain is still wrapping around it. There was a lot of death and destruction, yes, but there were also moments of tenderness, of grief, of solitude and togetherness, of mutiny and anger. There was so much wrapped up into this plot that I felt so much a part of it.

I think that’s one of the main reasons I loved this trilogy so much. It really brings you into the story – and not just because the formatting of the book is awesome and very visually stimulating, but also for its characters and the lives they’re trying to lead.

Overall, this book was a great conclusion. I didn’t know how it was going to end. There were twists and turns, places where I gasped, where I wanted to cry, where I was shocked, laughed out loud, angry. It brought out a whole well of emotions, and I’m beyond happy I read it.

As for the trilogy itself, it’s become one of my all-time favorites. From page one of book one it’s had me hooked. I can honestly say that this series is one I would recommend to anyone, especially if they’re look for a visual stimulating, high stakes, whirlwind of an adventure.

If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, what are you doing?

I rated this book 5/5 stars, and this trilogy 5/5 stars.

Gemina Book Review

geminaTitle: Gemina
Series: Illuminae Files #2
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 659
Format: Hardcover

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Guys.

Guys.

I LOVED this sequel. I can’t believe I waited so long to pick it up because I remember loving the first book so much that I couldn’t wait for this one to come out.

Well, here I am, sobbing into the void that is Gemina because wow, was it amazing. As this is a sequel there might be minor spoilers, but I’ll give you my general thoughts about a few things, but just know that you should definitely read this book to find out all of the things that happen!

Okay, let’s talk about the aesthetics of the book before I jump into anything else. Like the first book, Illuminae, Gemina‘s pages were filled with files and chats and pictures that encompassed the story from different points of view, and I think that that really helps you to get into the story. Seriously, the format with which the pages are in just bring this storytelling to a whole new level. I especially loved toward the end of the book the dual perspectives. That’s all I’m going to say about that because I thought it was SO cool and very well done.

Now, for the main characters we have Hanna, the Commander’s daughter, the “Princess” of the ship, if you will, and Nik, a criminal who lives with a family of criminals. Hanna, I thought, was actually not like I was expecting her to be as the story progressed. I was expecting a sex-driven, gets-what-she-wants, piss-poor attitude of a girl, but instead what I got was a sassy, funny, strong, unafraid-to-kick-ass girl with military and martial arts training, who did have a sex drive, but it wasn’t the focal point of her character. Many times I was surprised by her wit and comebacks and I loved that about her. As the story progressed, I could see her struggle with the situation unfolding around her, but that never stopped her from trying to do what needed to be done.

Nik was also not what I was expecting, either. Yeah, he was kind of a smartass like I was expecting, but even through his sexual flirting he had a heart of gold, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that in the “bad boy?” I wasn’t as surprised with his character and his development, but I still found that his family-oriented pride was really in the right place, and that he was willing to do anything for those that he deemed family or those he deemed close.

There were also important side characters, too, such as Dr. Grant, Ella, Jackson, and the BeiTech SpecOps people, and I found each of their character unique and compelling and hiding so many facets that I wanted to see uncovered throughout the story – especially those of Ella and Jackson, and I was not disappointed.

Ella, especially, was my favorite side character. She’s a 15-year-old hacker genius who was disabled due to a plague, but her dad spent a fortune on the best medicine and medical treatment he could to save her (she’s Nik’s cousin, so the family thing is also on her side). She’s super sassy and smart and so not putting up with anyone’s bullshit when it comes down to it, and I love that about her.

The story was action packed from pretty much beginning to end. Not only were there human threats and space-type threats, but there were also parasitic threats. Like. Creepy parasitic threats that will give you the creeps kind. Honestly, I thought that was a nice touch and really expanded upon this being a science fiction novel. Plus the way they were written was believable for the setting that they were in, which I thought really sold it. They also just added to the atmosphere of “oh shit we really need to save these people now.”

We get some surprises throughout the story that I had to dig into my memory banks to remember because it’s been forever and a day since I read Illuminae, but OMG THE PLOT TWISTS. When I read certain scenes, I felt myself confused and trying to click what exactly happened when I read it, and then something happened later and it clicked and I was mind blown. Seriously. This book had so many twists and turns, and I’m usually pretty good at catching onto those things early on in books, but this one? Not so much, which I thought was executed really well.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this book to the point where when I reached a certain scene in the book, I literally couldn’t stop reading. I finished this in practically one day and I have no regrets about it. It was fast paced, heart wrenching, mind blowing, fun, and there is so much to look forward to in the final book of this trilogy that I cannot wait to start reading it.

Overall, I highly recommend this second book and I rate it 5/5 stars.

Illuminae Book Review

illuminaeTitle: Illuminae
Series: Illuminae Files #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 599
Format: Purchased Hardcover

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This book was fantastic! From the formatting to the story, the characters, everything was just brilliant and it quickly became one of my top three favorite books I’ve read this year.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first when into the book because I knew the format was extremely different to any other book I’ve read before as it’s told in IMs, case files, video surveillance logs, fancy font designs, etc., but wow. I think the format of the book really helped to tell the story and enhance what was being told and happening to the characters as they tried to live another day.

The format was pretty seamless, going from one form to another in the next “chapter” and each time it would be a different voice or character and it made feel as though I was in that world and experiencing what the characters were. Bravo to the authors for coming up with the idea!

The plot itself was one we’ve probably heard a bunch of times when it comes to science fiction: a rogue AI (Artificial Intelligence) goes rogue and the people have to stop it from destroying everything. I think that the way in which it was delivered, though, was extremely effective and allowed immersion with the story. It went through heartbreak, survival, grief, bravery, and it talked about disease, making the right call, and belief in yourself. It was delivered really well and it kept me on my toes and needing to turn the page to know what happened next. (I literally read this in one sitting. A nine hour sitting, but one sitting nonetheless.)

Kady Grant is a seventeen year old computer hacker who plays off like she’s indifferent and cold, but she really is trying to push her feelings down so they don’t interfere with what she needs to get done. She doesn’t accept a lot of things that happen during this journey, but toward the end she comes to the realization of so many things and I think that her heartbreak really broke my own heart. But through it all she was brave, willing to try the next thing, to put a stop to whatever the people in charge aboard both the Alexander and Hypatia were trying to do. I thought that she went through a great arc of character growth and that she showed resilience when it was needed, fear, grief, determination. She was truly an inspiring character.

Ezra Mason is an eighteen year old guy who just wants to get his life back together and talk out things with Kady and make things up to her. But when everything goes to shit on their planet Kerenza IV, he gets enlisted as a flight pilot aboard the Alexander. I loved Ezra so, SO much. He was funny, sarcastic, always had a joke to tell. I was so heartbroken during some of the conversations that were had regarding him, but also laughing out loud during some of the conversations he had with others. He seriously made me so happy. He was willing to take risks, willing to help out wherever he could, and he was strong through a lot of it.

AIDAN, the AI system aboard the Alexander, was a character I didn’t think I would grow so attached to. He was essentially the main “villain” in this story, and as such, I was expecting to hate him. It. Whatever. It was always saying it was trying to protect the people when it killed them, or that it was being merciful, or that it made the decisions it made within the protocols that were set for it. And, well, I could see that it tried. It really, really did. I knew that the intentions it had weren’t inherently bad ones, just the execution of them was. It was a character that I wanted to yell at and shake and hurt, but then it became a character I cried over, a character I cared about so much that I felt sorry for it rather than angry. I found that these moments were so powerful and profound that I had to stop and absorb it all.

That’s not to say that what happened aboard all of the ships were good things. In fact, quite the opposite, especially in the last quarter of the book, but I found that I was still so invested in all of the characters, even the ones that had made shorter appearances than others throughout the book. It was so fun, so heartbreaking, but so beautiful all at the same time.

There were hints of romance, which I thought were super adorable because the flirting was just… Oh man, it was funny. There were friendships and those conversations had me laughing out loud! There was correspondence, conversations had over radios and letters that went south real fast.

All in all, the formatting, the story, the characters, the language, everything used was amazing and I feel like this really deserved all the hype that it got.

I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

Their Fractured Light Book Review

theirfracturedlightTitle: Their Fractured Light
Series: Book #3 in the Starbound trilogy
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Sci-Fi, Romance
Pages: 425
Format: Purchased Hardcover

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

As this is the third book, there will probably be spoilers.

This book made me feel all the feels, and I couldn’t have loved it more.

Now I knew that the plot was going to be building up to stopping LaRoux and whatever his plans were for the “whispers,” but what happened I wasn’t actually expecting, which I think was even better.

A lot of what happened in the previous books flashed back to me when I read this installment, particularly in the small sections between the chapters. Those parts are actually what hit me the hardest and the parts that were from the perspective of the whispers from before the first book until now. I think adding that aspect to the book really helped to shed a light on the whispers and how they think and what really happened to them. It’s hard not to feel something for them when reading those bits; I almost cried during a few just because it hit me right in the feels.

But the plot itself was engaging and I needed to know what was going to happen next. Every page and every chapter had me wanting more, and I personally think that’s a sign of an excellent story.

So let me talk about the characters now, because OMG the feels.

When we’re first introduced to Sophia, we know that she’s the con artist. She’s smart and thinks on her feet, able to read peoples’ body language to use to her advantage. I actually thought that was a great character trait and one that she constantly used to her advantage. She was always trying to weave her way through situations, using tactics and techniques she’d gathered over the year she had been on the run, working to manipulate others into what she wanted them to do.

But then she meets Gideon (who I’ll talk about in a minute) and though she tries her best to keep everything she can a secret, trying to hide who she really is from him, I think she realizes just how smart and aware Gideon is of those around him – even if he isn’t the best at reading people. I think her major character flaw is being so untrusting of not only others, but of herself, especially after the traumatic incidents that happened when she was on her home planet. She knows what it takes to survive, though, which is a great quality to have, and though she’s rough around the edges, she really came into her own around the end and listened to herself, first, before doing what others may have expected of her.

Now, Gideon is a sassy pants and I love him. I thought that his easy going attitude was charming and funny at the beginning, but he’s definitely a lot smarter than he initially lets on. Given he’s a hacker, I don’t doubt that intelligence. But he’s definitely a kind soul that cares deeply for others. He knows he can’t really trust everyone around him, but he lets Sophia in and does get burned a few times. Even though this happens, and he wars with himself on whether or not he can trust her, unlike Sophia, Gideon knows how to listen to himself and his heart, and his heart tells him he can trust her.

I love that about these two: they’re very opposite each other in certain aspects, but I think that’s really what makes them fit and mold together so nicely.

Gideon was also very quick with his actions, too, but in a different way to Sophia. Where she was quick on her feet with people, he was quick when it came to scenarios and being equipped with anything and everything he could need in any given situation. Most situations, anyway. He was always prepared in case of threat or emergency, and I think that worked really well given the situations in the story.

We also got to see Tarver, Lilac, Jubilee, and Flynn again, and my heart nearly exploded when everything was going down when they were introduced. It was so amazing to have them all together in one book, and I think that their stories and what happened to mesh them all together really made sense and worked well. There is more explanation that is possible as to why they were all there, but I don’t want to delve into too many spoilers here!

Just know that I love each and every single one of these characters and I wish there were more stories with them out there.

As for the romance, like the previous books, this romance was slow burning, building up gradually and naturally, and I think that’s what I love most about Kaufman’s and Spooner’s writing. Though there was initial attraction on the part of Gideon mostly, it wasn’t insta-love by any means. I think that also having those troubled flaws of back and forth unable to trust, but still trusting really showed just how raw these characters and the emotions could get.

This book didn’t disappoint. It was definitely more action packed than I think even the second book was, or right up that alley, and it was definitely full of twists and turns and surprises. It will make you feel pity, love, hope, frustration, shock, and more. It did for me, anyway.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first two novels.

If you couldn’t guess, I rated this book 5/5 stars.

As for the overall trilogy rating: 5/5 stars.

Accompanying video: Their Fractured Light Book Review

This Shattered World Book Review

thisshatteredworld

Title: This Shattered World
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: Book #2 in the Starbound trilogy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Genres: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 390
Format: Purchased Hardcover

As always, I’m going to try my best to be spoiler free in this review. If you want some more in depth looks into what I thought about other parts of the book, please see my video review for more detail!

“This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a story that follows two new characters, Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac, who couldn’t be more different from each other. Jubilee is a soldier stationed on Avon – a Captain, to be more precise – and is very strict about being a soldier and following protocol. She rarely shows her emotions and has earned the nickname “Stone-faced Chase” because of it. Flynn Cormac, on the other hand, is a rebel who was born and raised on Avon, a planet whose terraforming has slowed down to the point of stopping, gets very little to no sun exposure, and is not really thriving as a planet. Flynn is a diplomat for peace among his community, and when one man wants to go into a full out war and tries to find any excuse he can to do it, Flynn is always there to try and ease the flames.

And when Jubilee and Flynn’s worlds collide, things become pretty heated and intense pretty quick.

This book is the second installment in the Starbound trilogy, but as a companion novel it follows a new set of characters. I do suggest reading “These Broken Stars” before reading this book because a cameo appears in this book that is actually pretty important to the plotline.

Throughout the book the characters’ points of view change every chapter between Jubilee and Flynn. Both characters have their own distinct voices so you never confuse one for the other, which is nice when there is so much going on in their world as it is.

Now we get a lot of description of Avon: swampy, watery, muddy, cloud covered atmosphere. It’s nice to be able to read about this world and to get a true sense of it. It makes sense that a world with little to no sunlight would have barely any landmasses suitable for living on, that a lot of it would be water. It obviously has had enough sun or terraforming substances to help it become habitable for humans to occupy and everything, but it’s not a thriving world.

This actually plays a great deal into the rest of the story that surrounds Jubilee and Flynn. As they go throughout the novel and venture forth together (though they don’t want to through the beginning of the novel), they have to trek through terrain that is less than friendly and oftentimes very dirty.

Now let me get into a few points that I think are important (and not really spoilery) that take place in the story:

  • The romance between Jubilee and Flynn is gradual and believable. They don’t start out as an insta-romance, but there is mutual attraction. For Jubilee it’s more along the lines of, “You look suspicious, so I’m going to check you out.” For Flynn it’s more like, “You’re a Captain and can be used as leverage to help my people.” Yes, they’re relationship grows throughout the novel, but it’s believable and slow. Emotions can become heated and drive a person to do something that may otherwise not happen, but their emotions don’t fully dictate what happens to them.
  • They use logic over emotions. Yes, a lot of it can be emotion driven, but there are other factors that play into both of their actions throughout the novel, including vengeance, rebellion, anger, compassion. But a lot of what they do they base off of what they know and/or were trained to do.
  • The background information provided about both Jubilee and Flynn was both useful and refreshing. It’s not always common to have such in depth background into a character’s past in novels, but there was just enough detail to really get a sense of who each character was in the story.
  • My biggest complaint is that we didn’t really get enough of who I thought to be the main villain in the story. There were short glimpses of him in some of Flynn’s chapters, but otherwise I felt that those plot points were rushed and didn’t really provide a true insight as to who the enemy was at the time on Avon (but then there are other factors and people who can also be viewed as villains, so… I’ll leave it at that).
  • The Fury was an interesting concept that was also believable in this world’s setting (the Starbound trilogy as a whole, not just Avon).
  • Cameos are awesome.

So those are just some of the points I wanted to further touch upon in this novel. The book was overall enjoyable and I think I enjoyed it more than the first novel, though you can read my review to see what I thought.

I rated this book 5/5 stars. It was fast-paced, fun, serious, romantic, and it furthered my desire to learn more about this world and those who inhabit it. I highly recommend it.