Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Published October 18th,2016 by Knopf Books
Illuminae Files #2
Illuminae pretty much blew my mind when I read it back in May this year. So, while I wasn’t waiting for Gemina near as long as some of the original fans of the series, I was very eager to get my hands on the continuation of this galactic adventure.
And bonus: these books are gorgeous. The US hardback editions, with the plastic, see-through dust jackets are so original and GORGEOUS together. SO. STINKIN. PRETTY.
I am sure that the authors would cringe if they heard me calling their books ‘pretty’, because these are bad ass stories, with strong independent characters, and scary alien violence. Pretty isn’t really a word that you should throw around when you have zombie viruses and alien worms eating the protagonists, but hey, sue me.
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.
Not going to lie, when I read this synopsis and saw that Kady and Ezra were nowhere to be found (the two main characters from Illuminae) I was a tad bit disappointed. I was/am pretty fond of those two, and I thought it odd that they wouldn’t be a main part of this story. However, once I really got into Gemina, I realized that I liked Hanna and Nik just as much as Kady and Ezra. My only complaint about them was that the two couples are too similar. I wish Kaufman/Kristoff would have either incorporated a tad bit more diversity in the now four main characters, or maybe have a brother/sister relationship instead of two couples.
I get that some people need romance. So, there’s that I suppose….
I really liked the formatting for Illuminae, and I LOVED the formatting of Gemina. There were still the chat logs, the video files, the diagrams, and I.M. conversations; but Gemina also included illustrations from Hanna’s journal that I was borderline obsessed with, as well as this running log of bad guys that were killed off that I found so incredibly unique. The video logs were my least favorite part of the book, I think they got a little too wordy than they were in Illuminae, but I also recognize and respect that some parts of the story would be impossible to tell without this feature. We would have no idea what was going on, or instead the plot would have zero transition and that would be even more frustrating.
While it took me way too long to get into Gemina (unlike Illuminae when I was hooked by page 49) the second half of the book is nothing short of gripping. The pacing is insane, and the formatting of the story took a turn for the better. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will admit I was WAY too excited for the reappearance of a certain character from book one.
Honestly, I have no idea how the Illuminae Files are going to end. What is the ultimate end game for them? While Gemina didn’t live up to its predecessor per say, I am still extremely excited to get my hands on book three. And honestly, the most important question we need to ask ourselves is: what color is it going to be?
Oh, and “what do you believe?” Because, yeah, the Illuminae tag line right?
★★★★ (maybe ★★★ 1/2)