BOOK REVIEW: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff & Marie Lu
Publication date: 26 October 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Goodreads: The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’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 crew 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.
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.
Gemina was an epic space ride from start to finish. The question that’s probably on everyone’s lips: is it as good as Illuminae? For me, Gemina didn’t quite live up to the bar but it came very close. I don’t know if it’s even possible to be better than Illuminae.
Thanks to Illuminae, we know what to expect from Gemina and being familiar with the format made it much easier to jump straight into the book. The series is told through a series of transcripts, IMs, military files and other documents. We’re also blessed with journal illustrations by Marie Lu which were absolutely adorable. The book follows a different set of characters on a different space station, Heimdall, but follows the same plot of Illuminae. And much like Illuminae, it had me on the edge of my seat, screaming ‘Oh my god’ but it also had me laughing out loud. Nothing is better than a book that can make you feel two very different things.
I found that there were more surveillance footage summaries in Gemina, which helped develop the plot more than it had in Illuminae. The summaries, along with other files, gave us an insight into all the characters and what they were up to, not just the main ones. Despite all the constant change between the documents and files, the story just flowed. Kaufman & Kristoff have found a unique way to tell a story and they are nailing it.
Our new main characters, Hanna and Nik, were amazing and lived up to the expectations set by Kady and Ezra. When we first meet them, Hanna is a pampered daddy’s little girl and Nik’s a drug dealer from a crime family. But when they have to work together to save their home, their real characters and personalities start to come through. Kaufman & Kristoff do an amazing job of really developing their characters. I loved their interactions and the development of their relationship felt natural and realistic. Hanna is a total badass and so much more than the spoiled brat that people expect her to be. Nik is not just a resident drug dealing bad boy. There’s more to him than meets the eye. One of my favourite things about him is the love he has for his cousin, Ella.
Speaking of, Ella is my favourite of the new characters. She’s snarky and fun. She teases Nik relentlessly. She may be physically weak but without her, Hanna and Nik wouldn’t have been able to do what they needed to in order to save Heimdall.
In summary, Gemina was full of fast paced, sci-fi action that definitely lived up to its hype. I loved everything about it but that ending could be the death of me. I need Book 3 STAT!