Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Also by this author: Illuminae, Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Source: Gifted by Indigo Teen (thank you!)
Brace yourself for GEMINA—the highly anticipated sequel to the book critics called “out-of-this-world awesome,”—featuring journal illustrations by bestselling author Marie Lu! 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.
Review: GEMINA by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’m not sure what I can say about GEMINA that I didn’t already say in my review of Illuminae last year. Like Illuminae, Gemina is a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller with brutal death toll, a shippy romance, and twists at every turn. And like Illuminae, Gemina is also told completely in gorgeous source documents that get you right into the action.
While Illuminae is set on two spaceships just outside the Kerenza colony after an attack by a corporation trying to cover up their illegal mining operation, Gemina is set on a space station. Heimdall station, in fact, just on the other side of a wormhole from Kerenza. The action in Gemina and Illuminae take place mostly in parallel to one another.
Once again, Kaufman and Kristoff really bring it in terms of the voices of the characters. If you liked Kady and her sassy af mouth in Illuminae, you’ll really love Hanna, the station commander’s daughter.
Hanna is a 17-year-old who studies martial arts and discusses strategy with her father. She’s also dating a super-hot British communications officer. While Kady was all about hiding through her computer skills, Hanna is a much more physical, more outgoing teen. And that serves her really well as she fights off some serious threats.
Oh yeah, also? Hanna likes to have a little fun with some illicit substances.
Hanna gets those substances from Nik, another teen on the station who works in the family business, the House of Knives. If you’re thinking The Godfather, you’d be right. I really appreciated that Kaufman and Kristoff included some seriously dangerous people in this book, because, of course, a space station of this size would include some shady characters doing shady things.
Nik is a seasoned hard criminal, and drug dealer. But he’s also a dude who seems to care deeply about his family and this girl that he just can’t get off his mind.
A big part of this family includes Ella, his cousin, who becomes another central voice to the narrative. I really, really don’t want to tell you anything about her other than that she’s a computer whiz like Kady, and has a foul mouth.
I didn’t find Gemina as heart-pounding as Illuminae, but it was just as twisty, just as surprising in certain moments. I definitely had some moments of WTFery and heavy breathing, but I wasn’t quite as freaked out.
The two things that Gemina did have? More of an ick factor, and a darker tone. In Illuminae, we saw Kady struggle with the deaths of people. In Gemina, Hanna, Nik, and Ella are forced to not only watch death happen, but to make it happen themselves. The questions of morality in the last book dealt with sacrifice of a group of people for the greater good; this book deals with personal morality and what you’re willing to do and live with in extreme circumstances.
The other thing I really loved about Gemina was how much of Hanna’s narrative was about her trying to figure out what she wanted in life. Like in Illuminae, we get to see some of Hanna’s diary entries. These, however, are far more personal than Kady’s were, mostly because Hanna is an artist. The finished version of GEMINA has manga-like art (drawn by YA author Marie Lu) that fills in a lot of what Hanna was thinking before things on the station went to crap. I think the style and what Hanna chooses to include says a lot about her.
If there’s anything I was a little hesitant on, it was the fact that Gemina was maybe a bit TOO similar to Illuminae. I had moments when I really thought Hanna was Kady, and Nik was Ezra. I also had moments when a twist was happening, and I recalled a similar thing happening in Illuminae, and I think that made this a slightly less intense read.
Cameos: Kaufman and Kristoff promised some cameos from some of the characters in Illuminae, and boy, do they deliver. One of these cameos made me laugh a lot, which is something in a book this intense.
Bad-Ass Females: Oh man. Not only are Hanna and Ella just absolutely amazing, but like in Illuminae, there are a whole host of really hardcore, amazing females who completely kick butt. And that includes some of the “bad guys.”
Casual Diversity: It’s completely normal and assumed that all genders, people with different sexual orientations, and people from different ethnic backgrounds play all kinds of roles in this book – from villains to background characters to main characters. It’s diversity you don’t think about because it’s just there, and it’s awesome.
The Resolution: You’re going to either consider the resolution to this book an anti-bonus or a bonus. I consider it the latter – how Kaufman and Kristoff wrap this thing up is absolutely bonkers, but also brilliant and unexpected.
The Final Word:
Gemina is a worthy follow-up to Illuminae, full of the same twists, turns, and source documents. Because it involves more direct human-to-human violence, Gemina felt like a darker book than Illuminae, but that exploration of personal ethics gave me a deeper understanding of the characters, and as a result, their relationships in this book soared. That, plus the unique ending made Gemina an incredible read – one that had me turning the pages far into the night.
If you loved Illuminae, pick up Gemina immediately. And then tell me what you think because I have no idea how this series is going to end!
GEMINA is out in bookstores now. Have you read Illuminae? Are you also obsessed with this series? Have you read Gemina? Let me know your thoughts below – I need to talk with someone!