Review Blog

Aug 01 2018

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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The Illuminae Files book 3. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781925266726
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Science Fiction; Warfare and conflict; Sabotage and Resistance; Technology; Artificial Intelligence; Space Travel. In this epic conclusion to the "Iluminae Files" series, we are again launched at warp speed into the phenomenal world of space conflict, where big business and humanity grapple for survival in the most extreme of environments. The fight-to-the-death battle rages between the forces to protect the interests of the corporation that has most to gain and opposed to them are the insurgents, the workers, teenagers and human faces that are just keen to survive. Linked within this conflict is the Artificial Intelligence voice and coding of AIDAN, whose 'personality' waxes and wanes between heroism, villainy and friendship. Is there a moral aspect to his AI actions, or is he programmed to act when no human could, and all in a world of complex code . . . with more than a hint of personality?
This book is told through the files, reports and documents gleaned from surveillance footage, text, messages, illustrations and computer logs and files that were made at the time of the conflict - all kept and compiled for posterity and for evidence of the 'good and the bad' events leading up to the final moments. The variety of text type formats to tell the story makes this a non-traditional narrative, and consequently this is not for the faint-hearted. This can be hard work at times, but the epic storyline and the incredible efforts and intelligence of the teenage heroes will make this a worthy escape for Sci-fi lovers. Even though I read the "Illuminae Files" book 2 some time ago, it did take me some time to reconnect all the intricacies of plot and characterisation that continue in three books. This series might be best read as a 'binge-read' in order to keep the complex threads in some order. YA readers will love this series, and will probably want to devour all three books in the series. The romantic interests of characters also make this appealing for female readers too, as it is not just an action-war story, set in space. The authors of this book have done an amazing job at writing a compelling series in a very different style of multi-format text communication.
[Note: An interesting technique of 'blacking out' all swearing in the book gives at least some credence to those who do not want this in YA fiction . . . but it is still patently clear what lies beneath the 'black blanket'! But I must credit publishers or authors with at least minimising the blatant impact of coarse and offensive language. ]
Recommended for Sci-fi lovers aged 15+
Carolyn Hull

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