Another Crazy space romp, or my review of Gemina


Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 18th, 2016

Format: Hardcover

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

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4 star (griffin)

When I got Illuminae from the library, I also picked up the sequel, Gemina, on the chance that the series was good enough that I’d immediately want to start reading the second. This was absolutely the case–I couldn’t get enough of the heart-pounding, inventively sci-fi world that Kaufman and Kristoff have come up with.

To my surprise, Gemina isn’t exactly a sequel. It takes place in the same world/situation, with some of the main characters, but the focus isn’t on the Hypatia. Instead we’re looking at the space station it’s headed towards, the Heimdall, as they try to fight off another Beitech attempt to hide their actions. And, like Illuminae, it’s told in chat messages, computer reports, and drawn journal entries (courtesy of Marie Lu).

I was momentarily sad that I wasn’t going to get more stuff with Kady and Ezra. But then I met Hanna and Nik, and I wasn’t sad anymore. It’s a very typical love story–bad boy gangster plus the commander’s little girl, a classic for the ages (Even if Hanna is with someone else at first). But Nik isn’t exactly the typical Russian gangster, and Hanna is far, far more than a pretty face. Faced with the destruction of the Heimdall at the hands of a Beitech hit squad, they band together to kick ass. And you know, save the universe. And also kiss.

Again, Nik is a good character, but Hanna absolutely steals the show. Sure, she’s the commander’s darling daughter, but that only means that she has multiple black belts and a head full of strategy games. She is absolutely a match for anyone who even dares to touch her, let alone take over her spaceship and kill her father. But again, Hanna and Nik are surviving in extraordinary situations, learning just how much steel they both have, and it’s a fantastic read. Them versus an entire squad of hitmen is DEFINITELY worth reading.

Ano although I’m normally not a fan of love triangles, I have to admit that this one is skillfully done. For one, there’s no internal struggle in Hanna to choose between them–she knows who she wants. And when he proves to be something other than who he says, and when Nik shows he’s more than what he appears, the choice is pretty obvious. And although there’s a little bit of lurve angst, it’s at least understandable.

My one complaint is that Gemina followed roughly the same formula as Illuminae…it was easy to guess what was coming next, how the suspense would be built, to the point where I more or less ignored the dramatic not-quite cliffhanger at the end. But there were still elements that blindsided me, which I really liked (I was NOT expecting the crazy physics event that the book is named after). And even with some of the suspense lessened, it was still a crazy, adrenaline-inducing romp of a book.

And it’s still a four-star read for me. Seeing Hannah, Nik and his cousin Ella rampage was fantastic. The plot twists I didn’t see were potentially mind blowing, especially if you have little understanding of physics. And the glimpses I had of Kady and Ezra were icing on the cake. Now, if that third book could just come out sooner…

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.

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