**As always, there might be spoilers in this review**
THE ILLUMINAE FILES, BOOK THREE
AMIE KAUFMAN, JAY KRISTOFF
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, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.
Okay, the third and final installment of The Illuminae Files was just as terrifying as the first two… but… I just didn’t connect with Rhys and Asha the way I did with Kady, Ezra, Hannah, and Nik. Maybe it was because ALL the characters were in one book, so there wasn’t much time to connect with them? I’m not sure. I didn’t dislike the characters at all (though Rhys was a little brain-dead there for a while) but I didn’t feel as much of a pull to their story.
That said, the third installment does have a very satisfying ending, plus a few twists I really did not see coming. I’m usually pretty good at figuring those out, but not this time. I loved a certain scene at the end when one of the BeiTech goons has finally had enough. It’s touching even though it doesn’t make up for all the murder and mayhem throughout the story.
This series had me on a roller coaster the entire time, which is a huge credit to the authors. To make me care about every single character takes a lot of work, and they did (even though I loved some more than others, I still pulled for them all.) I was anxious—to the point of holding my breath and sweating. I cried big ol’ alligator tears for these characters, honestly, and I just… don’t do that. I’m rarely connected enough to a character to feel that much about their situation, but Kaufman and Kristoff pulled it off.
When the book ended, I wished there was just one more chapter, just one more moment with this ragtag bunch of characters that kept me up way past my bedtime for four solid nights (yes… I read all THREE books in four nights… I was very sleep deprived.)
The writing style and format of the entire series was so unique (at times confusing) that I would definitely recommend reading the print version. If you are a staunch e-book fan, then try reading on something larger than a phone. I had to zoom in and out to read some of the illustrated pages, which slowed my reading. I don’t think I would have had that problem on a larger tablet. That said, I loved the trilogy so much that I bought the set in hardcover. It is MUCH easier to read in that format… and prettier. The covers are unique and, honestly, pretty cool.
Favorite Character: Nik Malikov (again, yes, because he is the comedic relief necessary to make it through such a slaughterous series) and AIDEN because after everything, the AI in this series achieved its ultimate desire.
Least Favorite Character: Literally every BeiTech soldier on Karenza because… Well, it’s bad.
Language: Redacted cussing, multiple uses of God as an expletive
Graphic Violence rating: High… that didn’t change from the previous books
Heat rating: Low – kissing, nothing obscene