Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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 Illuminae continues 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.
Thank you Penguin Random House for the review copy!
This book was easily one of my top anticipated stories of 2016, given the love I had for its predecessor Illuminae, which was the first and only book I’ve reviewed on video here. While Kaufman and Kristoff continue to surprise readers with their clever plot twists and science fiction elements that are just out of this world, my initial reaction to this book wasn’t as exciting. We start off with new characters and a new setting, and while I went into this book looking forward to meeting them, a part of my heart is permanently with Ezra and Kady back on the Hypatia.
On Jump Station Heimdall, the characters are dealing with problems of BeiTech as well. When a strike team infiltrates the station, Nik and Hanna find themselves working together. Their characters contain the hilarious and fun snark of the previous book, seen through chat logs and emails. What starts out as a relatively antagonistic relationship becomes something more as the pair find themselves fighting to save the lives of everyone who’s in the station. While I enjoyed both these characters, Kady and Ezra from Illuminae remain my main couple (#sorrynotsorry).
Hanna is a bit spoiled, being the daughter of the station captain. In the beginning we see her preparing for a party and getting drugs from Nik, who’s had a real, real tough past. But being part of a crime family, that’s a given. They’re from completely different worlds, and have nothing in common (or so they think.) I liked both of them from the get-go. Even though Hanna is pretty sheltered, she knows what’s going on. She trains in a dojo and knows how to defend herself. Hanna also writes in a journal, which we can see some pages of in the book. I thought this was a nice addition to the files and video footages that make up the book. Nik, on the other hand, lives kind of secretly on the station. His family is pretty hardcore and they’re pretty much behind-the-scenes in the grand scheme of things. My heart really went out to him. We see more of his past come out in the book and the boy really went through some tough times. But despite that, he still remains jovial and amiable.
The beginning of Gemina isn’t at all like the situation of the previous book, where we were thrown into action. It’s pretty sedate as we get to know the characters and the jump station, which surrounds a wormhole (so cool!). It was there that I felt pretty lackluster feelings for the story. However, when the strike team comes up, the action starts picking up and I started to become more invested in the stories and characters.
I love seeing cameos of beloved characters from the previous books, including a certain Artificial Intelligence that has become endearing to me, as well as a hilarious footage analyzer. Just when I thought the authors couldn’t surprise me even more, they did. At the same time, I feel like the series is becoming basically a story to throw every science fiction plot element ever created into it. While I see how formulaic that is, I can’t help but still enjoy it nonetheless.
One other thing that made me enjoy it less than Illuminae, other than the slow start, is the rather rushed ending. For sure it ends on an “OH-MY-GOSH” note. But it didn’t seem as organized as the end of the first book, and certain things felt like it was resolved too quickly for me. It just felt like the focus was on this one twist so much that the book missed out on all the other great things going on. For example, the blurb mentions alien predators that are going after the passengers. That was an awesome part of the plot (maybe I’m just weirdly interesed in parasites), but I thought that the resolution regarding that particular element could have been expanded on. Although I have to admit, I was way too caught up with the twist near the end to really pay too much attention to it. And you’ll find out why the title Gemina works so well with the story!
I assume the third book is going to feature another couple, but with cameos from the characters here and Illuminae. Either way, I’m very excited to see how these characters deal with BeiTech. Gemina continues to astound readers with its twists and turns, as well as the witty dialogue from the characters. If we’re not feeling proud every time Hanna kicked butt or sympathizing with Nik’s sad past, then we’re on the edge of our seats every time another one of the characters gets killed off – or not. This sequel further solidifies my insistence that everyone should pick up this action-packed series that will surely blow your mind, one way or another.
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