Hello humans. Ugh. I can’t believe I’m here writing this review. Illuminae was one of the first hyped up books I ever read and reviewed on this blog, it was kind of what pushed me into more of the community of bloggers rather than just sitting on the fringe. It’s also one of the first books I managed to persuade my husband (then Fiancé) to read that he genuinely enjoyed. You can see why these books have a special place in my heart. So, to come to the conclusion of this series is something simultaneously wonderful and also a bit sad. Now Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are putting out books like there is no tomorrow so I don’t fear that I’m going to run out of reading material. But it is somewhat bittersweet to be penning my review of the final book in The Illuminae Files.
Spoiler warning for Illuminae and Gemina but will be spoiler free for this book.
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 was worried in the run-up to reading this, that I wasn’t going to like the new characters. It’s always a risk with a final book, you don’t have a lot of time to introduce new people and to let us fall in love with them (especially if you are also bringing back a whole host of old characters to boot!). I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to love these two, and how rich they were (not financially), the details in their personalities and their voices were communicated within a few pages and I was hooked. Of course, I loved the old characters and familiar faces, but it was delightful to also get that injection of something fresh and new.
This very much felt like a finale. It built wonderfully, as these books do, with countdowns at various points and statistics to keep you on your toes. I devoured this book in about four hours because I could feel myself being pulled towards the end (I would say climax but that sounds a little lewd). I don’t want to get too much into the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is brutal, all-encompassing and hugely powerful. I think it’s the perfect blend of science fiction and reality, such a wealth of detail is provided – even in this unique format – that you can’t help but feel that it is all real.
These books have always been wonderful for exploring ethical dilemmas and Obsidio is no exception. I actually gasped out loud at several page turns (much to the despair of my husband who wanted absolutely no spoilers whatsoever. I also laughed out loud at several points. I know for a fact that I have the same sense of humour as both authors as no matter how dark their books are I always manage to laugh along with them.
I thought that the ‘means of communication’ in this book were a little less varied than they have been in previous books? That might just be me misremembering and it isn’t so much a criticism as it is something to note, you do get to read some fun handwritten notes and there are some more unique ways of communicating plot alongside the usual emails, IMs and chains of consciousness from AIs.
This book is gorgeous, it’s hard-hitting it’s nail-biting it’s a whole host of other words that I cannot pull together. Is there romance? Yes, as much as there is in the previous books. I personally like the romance in all three books, but if that’s something you avoid consider yourself warned.
Should you read this? If you liked the previous books then definitely yes, it holds up. If you haven’t yet and you aren’t sure, then I say go for it! These are wonderful books and now I can say the entire series is great!
My rating: 5/5 stars
All opinions are my own.
What say you? Are you an Illuminae fan? Let me know in the comments below!