Just a heads up that this review will be spoiler free for Gemina but not for the events of Illuminae. I like to keep all reviews as spoiler free as possible to be accessible to everyone but with sequels it’s a bit more difficult to avoid events that have happened in previous books.
Published: October 18th 2016 by Rock the Boat
“It’s just you and it; and everything you’re about to take away.”
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.
I am dead. Review to come when I remember how to use feelings again. Were the words I used in my goodreads temporary review, this book, like its predecessor knocked me for six. Illuminae felt like something revolutionary to my world and there was no question I would be moving onto it’s sequel Gemina so there’s no interesting story about how I decided to read this book other than when I had hit just over half way through Illuminae I ordered Gemina and Obsido, which then arrived just before I finished Illuminae. Perfect timing.
Gemina is set out in the same format we already know and love from Illuminae, instant messages, audio transcripts, surveillance footage etc but everything seems to have have been knocked up a notch for this second book. First of all we are treated to excerpts from the journal of one of our main characters and instead of being hidden behind super encrypted files digitally, this journal is a pen and paper, leather bound journal and not only are we treated to the inner thoughts of this character we are treated to some beautiful and funny pictures which help portray events that transpire, explain the layout of the jump station etc and are just there for fun doodles, not to mention the ever present foreboding bullet hole present in every entry that becomes more and more saturated with blood as we read on. There are also pictures of the aforementioned (in the synopsis) Bei tech assault crew and I really enjoyed this little extra that popped up occasionally, helping to keep track of who’s who and what they do.
The basic story for Gemina is once again, if sparesly desribed at risk of sounding like a mish mash of done before sci-fi troupes but Kaufman and Kristoff have done it again by taking these very basic Sci-Fi/horror ideas and brething a good few extra dimensions of life into them, making them utterly addictive and thrilling. Like Illuminae I found some parts of Gemina rather chilling and even a little scary (I honestly have no idea how these books have not given me nightmares yet!) Not only do the events in Gemina freak me out a but it’s there way they’re presented in the file transcript, I turned a page and jumped at one point, which isn’t something I’ve ever experienced with books before and was a nice suprise in a twisted sort of way. I feel like the tension was higher here due to the way the information was presented and to me that speaks of some very good writing.
It took me a little longer to get into Gemina after becoming very attached to Kady, Ezra and even AIDAN, I had trouble meshing with our two new main characters, Hanna and Nik. Hanna seemed like a typical spoiled brat and Nik just seemed the worst kind of desperate, sleazy, don’t care if you have a boyfriend because he must be an idiot, I’m clearly the superior choice kind of guy and I was distraught after having loved Illuminae so much that these new IMPOSTERS would ruin the sequel for me. Kady and Ez went through some rough stuff before we technically even meet them and the way we see them react and deal with that helped to develop a closeness and fondness for them pretty early on. Turns out tragedy is a great character builder.
A Lot of my notes from the first quarter of the book are me moaning about things that Nik and Hanna do, how Hanna’s boyfriend is too sweet and good for her and angry/sighing faces about Nik’s desperate attempts to flirt and woo Hanna. It’s okay though, my dislike for these two is actually a point in favour of this book because I don’t remember ever having done quite the 360 on a pair of characters like I did with these two. The character progression here is totally phenomnal and is one of the things I liked most about this book, by the end of the book my notes went from “I can’t believe this spoiled child is meant to be one of our main protagonists, Kady would kick her butt” and “I really hope she breaks his wrist, he’s such a creep” to the other end of the scale with “Hanna is so amazing, everyone is in trouble” and “Nik is precious baby, I want to hug him.” I felt horrible for the way I felt about them to start with now because I realised I was judging them without knowing much about them and before I’d given them the chance to prove themselves and that they did.
Gemina is full of the heart wrenching twists and turns you would expect from the Illuminae files, this book broke my heart even more than it’s predacessor I think, to the point where I just sat and sobbed for a good few minuites and honestly debated throwing the book across the room or putting it in the freezer. I was worried about this book as middle books are notorious for being a little boring or proving that a series probably should have been a stand alone but this is totally not the case for Gemina which I think could have easily stood on it’s own if need be.
I am cautious now however about Obsido, there seems to have been a pattern in the first two books that they have both followed and I think the mould needs to be broken for the third or risk becoming boring through predictability.