So, a quick catchup from the last two instalments, Illuminae and Gemina: A company called BeiTech went so corrupt that when files detailing their crimes were daring to go public, the people who knew fled in spaceships with their military spaceship after them. Low fuel, low supplies, a deadly virus, and exes Kady Grant and Ezra Mason stranded on separate ships ended with tragedies but the two of them reunited. Then in the process of a day, on the Heimdall, a big space station, BeiTech took it over and the only ones who could save the day and prevent the Hypatia, the Illuminae ship, from getting ambushed, was Hanna Donnelly, Jackson Merrick and Nikolas Malikov. Jackson didn't make it but now the four remaining hotties, as well as 2,000 survivors have boarded a cargo ship called The Mao. The rub is, the low fuel and supplies thing has caught up with them again. The survivors have to get back to Earth quick, and that means about three weeks of low oxygen, stuff to help their bodies keep functioning, and the knowledge it's going to be a warzone before they have a chance to touch down. And back on Earth, Kady's cousin Asha is a former pharmacy intern turned pretty much slave to the BeiTech fighters, and she's trying to find a way to keep a little girl hiding in one of the building vents safe and fed and do what she can to aid the resistance. And a young boy named Rhys Lindstrom is a soldier that is new to the battlefield, that may be a loose coin Asha can pick up to try to sense with. Whatever happens, it's the final 615 pages of The Illuminae Files!
Upon first glance, you'd think this would be the least kind of enjoyable series; very long, and told in a storytelling format presumably limiting to the emotional standard, and characters that might feel like you're looking at them through a pixelated computer screen, not right in front of you and in the pages. That's what I at first thought Illuminae would be. I was really REALLY wrong.
Back when I first read Illuminae, it didn't pull me in right away but it was when Kady tries to find out if her mother's okay and is just trying to get some basic human rights and is lazily denied that I felt the fury of the incompetence of the upper class, and I realized this all just might work. In Obsidio, there's a moment where a side character is trying to get his wife and daughter, who's being assaulted by crewmen, out of custody, and is frequently denied. I might've pulled a muscle in my back from anger.
I thought Gemina was a blast but I wished Kady and Ezra were in it more. This time they all are, but the charm of them all together does not dissipate quickly, like shopping for something seemingly important which doesn't make a perfect book. Aboard the Mao, tensions rocket: Ezra is trying to coach an army but a portion of them don't want to, in particular a lady who doesn't want to be taught by someone her son's age. There are certainly people in the world like that, who refuse to believe a teenager's opinion is valid. And there's also someone who rebels against a system Captain Syra Boll comes up with, and since she was in the first book, and second, we know she know's what she's talking about more. And this guy does some infuriating things but his point does come through. No one but time, aboard that ship, is a real enemy.
The book is also filled with quite admirable quotes, my favourite involving Asha when she tries to save someone's life during a gunfight. The narrator explains everyone else had lots more training but Asha is a regular girl, so she was the absolute bravest. And just like the other instalments, there is so much fun stuff to look at as the ride goes along, so we anticipate the big finale but feel we don't have to rush to it. We can enjoy the pre-screenings.
Only this one has the most troubling chapter of them all. Kaufman and Kristoff even warn us this clip is unsettling, and I thought: "Pshaw. How unsettling, after everything?...Oh...Eugh. That was so uncomfortable." I couldn't help but want to know exactly how the book would've taken place, page to page, if that scene wasn't there. It isn't afraid to make you sick to your stomach of how microscopic and helpless we humans really can be.
As for how it ends, I think authors, as well as some people in too much unconditional power, could learn a lot from it. It was surprising, realistic, dynamic, upsetting, and even if there's a gotcha-moment, attempting to be funny in a very sad moment, it somehow still works. This series somehow manages to retain a sense of humour during the darkest times ever and still not make it seem unwelcomely silly.
The first book was a sort of more science-based Star Wars. The second one was a science-based Die Hard. And this last instalment, thanks to all these immense characters finally getting a showdown they can amazingly share together, it's the science-based Avengers of the entertainment industry.