Second Look: GEMINA: THE ILLUMINAE FILES_02 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

gemina

I have been eagerly awaiting Gemina since I finished Illuminae over the summer. Illuminae was so intense and amazing that I couldn’t imagine how Gemina could be as good, and was afraid I was going to experience what I call “The Hunger Games Effect.” You know, where book two of a trilogy only acts as a bridge to the series finale? I’m going to come right out and say it was NOT the case.

Gemina isn’t a continuation of Kady and Ezra’s story from Illuminae, but more a companion story of what is happening to Hanna and Nik at the Heimdall Jump Station. But don’t worry, we still hear from our favorite out-of-this-world couple (pun-intended). They’re not primary characters, but they do make appearances.

Here’s the official synopsis, via Goodreads:

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.

So after I was done, I gently closed the book, calmly hugged it to my chest, and then held it in my lap and quietly stared with my mouth hanging open as I tried to digest what I just read. I emailed Ashley a little bit later to try to explain my feels, and this was all I could muster:

Much like Illuminae, this book has EVERYTHING you could ever want: excitement, betrayal, epic fight scenes, bad ass heroines, swoonworthy guys, hateful villains, scary-ass worms with four mouths that paralyze you, astrophysics…

Ok, so maybe not everyone is a nerd-girl like me who thinks astrophysics is fascinating. And I think my interest in it was one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. If you’re not a science geek, some of the plot twists in Gemina will either blow your mind, or confuse you into paralysis (much like the four-mouthed worms). To Kaufman and Kristoff’s credit, they do a great job of breaking down the stuff that some may find difficult to understand.

This book is such a fun wild ride. The writing is superb, and I love one of the quotes so much that I’m considering it for my next tattoo. It’s non-stop action, and you can never guess what awaits Hanna and Nik around the next corner. And speaking of Hanna and Nik, these characters are amazing and just as fun and likable as Kady and Ezra. I didn’t think I could find a book crush I love more than Ezra, but Nik is definitely in my Top 5.

Gemina is a little longer than Illuminae by about 50 pages (weighing it at a whopping 659), but the epistolary format (a word which here means “a work of fiction written in the form of documents, such as letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, etc.”) makes it fly by. Plus it’s so freaking addicting you won’t want to put it down.

A five star rating doesn’t even seem like enough stars for this book. I’d give it 15 stars if I could. But since I suppose we have to draw the line somewhere or we’d get REALLY out of control with our ratings, I’ll behave. But I’m just going to put this out there… The Illuminae Files is absolutely one of my most favorite series of all time EVER I absolutely cannot wait for Book 3.

OFFICIAL RATING: 10/10

P.S. Ya’ll can thank me later for teaching you a new word. I expect you all to go out and use “epistolary” in as many every day situations as possible. Maybe you can start by telling everyone you know about Illuminae and Gemina.

 

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