Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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1.) Illuminae ★★★★
2.) Gemina ★★★

“Every story needs its hero.
And its villain.
And its monster.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m the only person in the book world that doesn’t love this series the same way everyone else does. Seriously, take this entire review with a grain of salt, because I am very much in the minority with my feelings. There is just always something stopping me from loving and being completely invested in this series.

Illuminae is easily my favorite in the series, and even though every part of me wants to say that’s because it is where Ezra and AIDAN have the biggest roles, the realistic part of me knows it is probably because it was the first time experiencing the unique formatting. This series is told in case files, hidden documents, and messaging programs. But maybe the newness wore off after the first book?

“There’s a billion different versions of you out there, in a trillion different universes. And I still can’t get over how lucky I am that, out of all those versions, you’re the one that’s mine.”

Obsidio picks right back up after the events of Gemina, and all the characters are together and trying to save what there is left to save. This series surrounds teens in space, that after way too many betrayals, have learned that they are the only ones they can trust. This is the third and final novel, but the enemies this time are the worst type of monsters: humans.

This is the most amazing artwork from MeganJeongArt!

The story did keep me invested, and these books always feel so easy and fun to read. But, I do feel like my second biggest complaint with Obsidio was all the camera surveillance. It completely takes away from the strongest aspect of the book. And if I’m being honest, it reads like a not as good book.

I completely understood and enjoyed being introduced to Hannah, Nik, and Ella (The best person in the entire series, if we are REALLY being honest here) in Gemina, but I felt like adding two brand new characters (and their completely unnecessary romance) into Obsidio was such a poor choice. I totally get how their stories (especially Asha’s) were needed with the direction of the plot, but I truly wish it could have somehow been done some other way.

Moving on, Obsidio was able to evoke a lot of emotion from me around the half way point. I was snapping my friends, convinced that this was going to be my favorite installment in the series. And, like, I should totally care more about the humans than an AI, right? RIGHT? The lines are blurred, people. And it was hard to think with so many tears streaming down my face.

But the number one thing I disliked the most about Obsidio was the ending. I am going to keep this spoiler free, but if you’ve read it then you probably know what I’m talking about.

Overall, and again, please take this review with a grain of salt, because most of my friends have five starred all three of these books. Like, completely loved and adored and put on their favorite shelves. And, again, I don’t know why I can’t connect with these stories the way my friends do, but if you are even somewhat interested in this story, you should totally give these books a shot. I mean, murderous AI, crew of cutthroat kids willing to do anything to save each other, betrayals, twists, turns, heartbreaks, romances, the most wonderful hacker in all of literature? These all sound pretty amazing, true? Seriously, check out come of my friends’ reviews: Brandi, Em, Lilly, & Dani! TL;DR – listen to them, because I love them with my whole heart and trust them completely. Just, for some reason this series is my kryptonite.


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Buddy read with Wren! ❤

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, & Marie Lu

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1.) Illuminae ★★★★

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

You all, I just don’t know what to say. This series just doesn’t do for me what it does for everyone else. I don’t dislike these books at all, they just aren’t even close to being one of my all time favorites either. Please, take this review with a grain of salt, because literally all of my friends five star this series. And even though I really like and appreciate the unique formatting, witty banter, and twists and turns, I really hated to plot twist towards the end of this one. *dodges tomatoes*

Gemina picks back up after the events of Illuminae and after that cliffhanger, jaw dropping, ending. But Gemina is set on Jump Station Heimdall which the ships in Illuminae were trying to get to. Also, this follows a whole brand-new set of characters who are living on this jump station. Yet the distinctive and special formatting is still there and is still how the story is told. I will say that Gemina also spends a little more time using surveillance cameras as a way for the reader to see, way more than of Illuminae did, too.

The main characters we follow on the Heimdall jump station:Hanna – Daughter of the jump station’s commander. Also, a very good fighter, and very fast thinker, and a very talented artist. I loved seeing the story through her artwork, and it was for sure one of the highlights for me. (See picture above!)

Nik – Heir to the House of Knives, drug dealer, and he has served time and has a tattoo to prove it. He is basically that typical “bad boy” which makes a good and angsty juxtaposition for Hanna’s “good girl” demeanor.

Ella – Nik’s very computer savvy cousin, who helps them immensely through the entire book. She’s, hands down, the reason good things happened, and she was easily my favorite character. Also, she does all this while in a wheelchair and with an oxygen mask. Seriously, I love her and she is such a badass.

These three make up a fun YA SFF tale that is seamlessly woven and is quickly consumable and readable. Seriously, this 600+ page book felt like 250+ tops! And this was a fun read for me, that I feel so thankful that I was able to experience, especially with Obsidio coming out in a couple of weeks. But sadly, I did have a few critiques.

“I cannot help but wonder if his desire to see this place ripped to pieces pales in comparison to his desire to see her again.”

The humor got to be too much. Like, I totally understand that everyone copes with intense situations very differently. And I’m completely aware that many people would use humor, but literally every single person in this uses humor and it got to be so over the top and unrealistic. On top of the fact that all of these people are around eighteen. Like, Lord, I couldn’t do it. What started out funny and cute ended up feeling like I was getting beat over the head and impractical.

Okay, let’s talk about the plot twist as vague as possible. I hate this plot twist. And the way that it was done in Gemina felt cheap, and it felt really exploitative of the readers emotions. This was a four star book for me up until a death didn’t happen. For me, it was a bad reading experience and I was angry that I shed tears and was impressed that the authors weren’t scared “to go there.” Again, let me heavily emphasize that all my friends love this book and didn’t feel this way. But my review, my feelings, and it felt bad, man.

And even though I read Illuminae two years ago, I still felt like this book just felt too much like Gemina. The characters are different, but they still somehow feel the same. The catastrophes are different, but they still somehow feel read the same. The plots are different, but they still somehow appear the same.

Overall, I really did have a good time reading this. I thought it was funny, and smart, and action packed. I just don’t love this series the same way as everyone else. But I promise, I’m in the minority. Don’t let me or this mediocre review stop you. I honestly believe these books are worth a chance. And you’ll learn very quickly if they are or aren’t for you. Also, so many of my friends have recommended the audiobooks to me. Sadly, I’m the worst audiobook reader on this planet, but I think that’s also a good tip if you’re looking to start this series!

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, gore, death, death of a parent, death of a loved one, and very minor animal cruelty.

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