Blog Tour: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Today is my 30th birthday, and I couldn't be happier than to share a book I LOVE with all of you. Check out my review of the final installment of the masterfully told Illuminae Files and then scroll down to the giveaway!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: finished copy, from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Illuminae Files series
Links: Illuminae review (5 stars)
Gemina gif review (5 stars)
Illuminae audio review (5 stars)
Illuminae pb blog tour (All the Illuminae merch!)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!




Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book because I am moderating the Dallas stop of the Obsidio publicity tour (and after I received my copy, I was offered a spot on this tour). This does not affect the content of my review.

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Summary:
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.

Review:
Briefing Note: As Obsidio is the third book of the Illuminae Files trilogy, I'm going to talk about some events that transpired in Illuminae and Gemina. Not extensively, but keep in mind, characters I mention in this review have clearly survived the first two novels, which may be a spoiler for those books (but there are no Obsidio spoilers). If you haven't yet read book 1 and 2, I recommend you do so before reading this review. Also, this is my review so prepare for several glowing paragraphs about how much I love this book (sorry, I meant for it to be shorter, but I can FINALLY talk about this book). You will not find a paragraph talking about something I don't like BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ANYTHING I DON'T LIKE.

This freaking book. Chums, I gotta tell you: it's worth the extra five months. Obsidio is an extremely emotional (at least, it was for me), but it's still a satisfying end to this wonderfully weird series and does justice to the story and the characters. I started laughing on page 12 at "a hulking soldier with a face like a dropped pie" and cried on page 20. From there, it was on. My emotions climbed more hills, slid to more valleys, and did more loops than the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags. And I have to say: it was entirely worth it. I don't want to say too much about the plot of Obsidio because that is rife with spoilers so instead, I want to talk primarily about how brilliantly the character development is.

One thing that's so great about this series and about Amie and Jay's writing is that it IS incredibly emotional. I have always felt so close to the characters. That's why every death felt like I was being gutted. Every victory, every setback felt personal. I plan on discussing this at the Obsidio tour stop I'm moderating in two weeks (Sunday, March 18 at the Southlake B&N at 2 pm, fems & chums! Bring your books and your broken hearts!), but Amie & Jay do a GREAT job of making me care about everyone, even the smallest, seemingly insignificant characters. This afflicted crew member is only mentioned in one paragraph in Illuminae? I care that he'll never see his daughter Alexa again and that he dies listening to the sound of her voice. This Bei-Tech goon who leads the ground troops on Kerenza IV? I care about his [redacted]. This cook fighting for his life in two scenes in Illuminae and Obsidio? I DESPERATELY want him to go home to his husband and daughter! One character mentioned in three emails in the Copernicus documents? I care about her romantic life. Also, Obsidio adds two main characters and several other major supporting characters to an already large cast, but I still felt invested in those characters and felt they were given a good amount of page time.

The greatest strength in the entire Illuminae Files trilogy is in the details, and the unique formatting allowed Amie & Jay to spotlight those details, even when you had to search for them. The cast of this series is VAST. I have no idea how many named characters there are, but by putting a name on characters that could easily be a number in a file somewhere, Amie & Jay humanized the survivors, victims, refugees, heroes, villains, monsters, and grunts of the entire Kerenza incident. It made me emotionally invested in everyone's individual story, not just the overarching plot, and that is no small feat for writers to do, especially in a series of this size.

I really appreciate how the characters have grown throughout the course of the series. In Illuminae, Ezra clearly displays signs of PTSD, but though I'm sure it's still with him, he's grown into a fine leader and military officer. In contrast, Hanna, who is so put together in Gemina as she fights for the Heimdall, is now confronting the loss of her father. Like most Disney movies, this series is not kind to parents, and it honestly portrays how devastating the loss of a parent (or other family members) can be for a teen. AIDAN, our favorite murdery AI, has jumped ship from the Alexander to the Hypatia to the Mao with the rest of the survivors, but because of technology and stuff, even a super self-healing computer system crammed into a datapad, then allowed out, then crammed back in, then freed once again is going to have issues. AIDAN is not a human character, but his development throughout the series has been some of the best characterization among the cast. Nik, Ella, and Kady are spectacular as always and have their own moments of growth and brilliance, but I fear this review is super long already.

The last part of the character development I want to mention is how Amie & Jay have not shied away from displaying their characters' weaknesses, both physical and emotional. Ella, who is brave and snarky and phenomenal in Gemina, safely tucked away in Anansi in her fancy bio rig, is now a refugee on a ship with bare bones medical supplies. It's easy to take her sassy personality and endless snark and think of her as this untouchable tough girl, but Obsidio shows the full limitations of her disability. As I mentioned above, fearless Hanna is dealing with certain PTSD and grief, and in one fantastic scene, Nik faces this as well (this scene will make you so so sad, but then you'll laugh your ass off so). One conversation that pops up throughout Obsidio is the moral conundrum of the worth of lives: if you would sacrifice a certain number of people to save a larger number of people, even just one more. Many of the characters face situations in which they must choose between someone they love and the greater good, and man, considering how much I care for these fictional characters, I can admit I would have had a hard time choosing too. On the one hand, it's sobering to think of these beloved characters as fallible, but it's also awesome to see characters openly acknowledging their imperfections and going on anyway.

The art and formatting in Obsidio is, of course, just as stunning as in Illuminae and Gemina. Marie Lu is back for more of Hanna's journal drawings. Like the best photojournalists, these sketches of Hanna & Marie's also do a great job of capturing the emotion of the Kerenza tragedy. Even with Amie & Jay humanizing as many characters as possible, there are still thousands and thousands of characters who never get named (the Kerenza IV colony had a population of roughly 18,000, and then add in the population of Alexander, Copernicus, Hypatia, Heimdall, and also the Bei-Tech ships—Magellan, Zhongzheng, Churchill, Kenyatta, Lincoln, and Mao). Hanna's journal does a great job of showing the desperation and exhaustion of the non-main character refugees who have survived each battle of the series and are keeping on keeping on, even though there's no supplies and not a lot of hope. I also love Hanna's comic-strip-esque depictions of the execution of her tactical plans, the addition of more audio files (I can't wait to hear them in the audiobook), the hermium mine message board, and all the other different documents used to tell this story. It's really weird, but I super dig the uniqueness of this kind of epistolary novel. I look forward to the writers it inspires to think outside of the just-prose box.

I fell in love with the Illuminae Files from the very first description we got when it was sold, and that love has only grown stronger over the past four and a half years to its culmination. Illuminae is a series that doesn't discount teens, doesn't overlook women, and especially doesn't disregard teen girls. Illuminae has always stood out from the crowd by nature of the unique way its story is told, but it should also stand out for being just that damn good. The week I read Obsidio was the week of the Parkland shooting in Florida. The Illuminae Files may be fiction, and it's a story of galaxies and planets and corporations with over 700,000 employees, but it's also a story of 7 teens doing whatever they can to stay alive, to remember and honor fallen family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, to affect great change in their worlds. The way the teens of Stoneman Douglas High have united to fight against truly horrid public policy makes me think that Kady, Ezra, Hanna, Nik, Ella, Asha, and Rhys are not so fictional. Teens can be and are heroes who can change the world, whether or not they're "just" in a book.

Purchase Links:
   


Tour Schedule:
Week One:

Week Two:
3/5: Mary Had a Little Book Blog

Week Three:

Week Four:

Week Five:
3/30: Mundie Moms


See Amie & Jay on tour!

About the Authors:

About Amie:
Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken StarsThis Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Amie's Links:
    

About Jay:
Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of The Lotus War trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy. Part 3, Endsinger, is out now. He's also co-author of the upcoming Illuminae (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi... thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015, and Nevernight, the first part of a new fantasy trilogy kicking off in 2016.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Jay's Links:
    

Giveaway: 
3 winners will receive a finished copy of Obsidio. US Only.

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4 comments:

  1. I am dying to read Obsidio, but I know it’s going to be gut wrenching.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, it totally is, but it's absolutely worth it!

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  2. I can’t wait to read what’s going to happen next. I fear for these characters.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! You SHOULD fear for them. As much as I hate that they're always in danger, I think it's really well done. It feels real.

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