White and gold powdery substance explodes on a black background

About the Book

Title: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)
Published: 2018
Series: The Illuminae Files
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Make it Rain
Talky Talk: Dossier
Bonus Factors: Teamwork, Twists
Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS
Relationship Status: Ride or Die

Danger, Will Robinson! Obsidio is the third book in The Illuminae Files series. If you have not read the first two books in the series—Illuminae and Gemina—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first books, however, feel free to continue below. As this is a review of a series conclusion, there will be spoilers.

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

GIF from Montell Jordan's music video "This Is How We Do It"

Since first cracking open Illuminae, I’ve been in love with the covers for this series. They’re gorgeous and complex and totally different than anything else out there, and they fit perfectly with the format of the story within. I will be sorely disappointed if a publisher ever tries to repackage them.

The Deal:

After the Bei-Tech attack on Kerenza, a mad dash across the galaxy to outrun a space war, dealing with AIDEN, an infestation of alien parasites, the destruction of the Heimdall, and the various other life-or-death situations they found themselves in, you’d think Kady Grant, Ezra Morgan, Hanna Donnelly, Nik Malikov, and their friends and family might need a break. But there’s no time for that—not when Bei-Tech is thisclose to getting away with all of their atrocities.

So the gang heads back to Kerenza, hoping to find survivors, and a way to put an end to Bei-Tech’s occupation once and for all.

BFF Charm: Make it Rain

BFF charm holding an umbrella

I would be so out of my league if I were friends with the characters in The Illuminae Files, but man would I ever try my best to be worthy of them calling me friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Like with the other books in this series, Obsidio introduces a new couple: Asha Grant, Kady’s cousin, and her ex-boyfriend, Rhys Lindstrom. Their relationship is probably the most complicated of all three of the couples, and we don’t get to spend as much time with them “alone,” due to the action-packed nature of this series finale. But the chemistry is still there, and, once again, I enjoy how well the swoon is mixed in with the thrills. (At one point near the end of the book, the characters are discussing the necessity of including kissing in their documentation, and the girls assure the guys that it’s vital. I laughed.)

Talky Talk: Dossier

Naturally, Obsidio continues the The Illuminae Files’s unique format; the story is told through security footage transcripts, chat and radio logs, AIDEN’s personal thoughts, etc. I continue to be mightily impressed at how well it all works together to form a cohesive narrative, and somewhat awestruck by the amount of work that had to go into making this unusual book such an engrossing read.

Unsurprisingly, Kaufman and Kristoff have once again written a novel that’s complicated, intelligent, anxiety-inducing, heartwarming, and super fucking funny.

(Side note: After I finished Obsidio, my husband asked, “what’s that book about?” I tried to explain in broad strokes, mentioning the attack on Kerenza, the alien infestation, the destruction of the Heimdall and AIDEN’s insanity, but sort of trailed off. “So … complicated, then?” he replied.)

Bonus Factor: Teamwork

A group of people with colorful sleeves put their hands on top of each other in the middle of a circle

I said as much in BFF Charm above, but the cast of characters in this series is a bunch of stone-cold badasses; they definitely rank among my Top Five “teams” of all-time. I loved seeing them all work together to bring Bei-Tech to its knees.

Bonus Factor: Twists

A yellow road sign that says "plot twist ahead"

Both Illuminae and Gemina had their fair share of surprising moments, and I might not be remembering them clearly since I haven’t read them in a while, but Obsidio took the twists to a whole other level. While reading, I second-guessed everything and everyone, and I literally gasped/said WTF/cheered out loud multiple times.

Anti-Bonus Factor: TEABS

Painting of a woman holding a book lying on a green couch. Called "Decadent young woman. After the dance" by Ramon Casas i Carbó

I’m super satisfied with the way Obsidio wraps up The Illuminae Files, but y’all know how hard it is to say goodbye to a series like this, particularly one that was this unique. I’m looking forward to what comes next from Kaufman and Kristoff, but it’s going to be really hard to top this.

Relationship Status: Ride or Die

It has been a ride, Book. Although you were at times brutal, I could never quit you, and I don’t think I ever will. We just have too much dang fun together, and I can trust that you’ll do me right in the end.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Obsidio is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband and their dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.