Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
Let me answer the question on everyone’s minds: is Gemina better than Illuminae? It’s been over a week and I’m still recovering from it – it was super intense and fast paced from start to finish.
Having read and loved both books, I would say it was just as good as Illuminae, if not better. Going in, we already know what to expect from the artistic formatting, space setting and the snarky chat logs. Gemina gives us a crazier, deep space experience, featuring wormholes, alien parasites and an invading elite strike team.
When sequels feature new main characters, it’s always hard to form an attachment with them. But I loved Hanna and Nik – who were completely badass and just as snarky and fun. Initially, we see Hanna as a pampered, entitled daddy’s little girl and Nik as a dodgy drug dealer. But the book really delves into character development and reveals multiple layers of their personality – we find out who they really are when they have to band together and save the space station Heimdall from being eliminated.
As the Station Commander’s daddy’s little girl who is dating the handsome Jackson Merrick, Hanna’s world falls apart when Heimdall gets invaded by the sinister Beitech strike team. Their mission is to overtake the station while eliminating anyone who gets in their way, which turns out to be Hanna and her friends. I loved discovering Hanna’s badass martial arts skills, her wicked sense of humour and her bravado and fearlessness.
While it’s a bit awkward because Hanna has a boyfriend at the start of the book, that doesn’t stop Nik from constantly flirting with her as he supplies her with drugs. As a certified bad boy, Nik also shows us a different side of himself as a reluctant participant in his family’s drug-dealing business. While I was a bit unsure about him because of how he flirts with Hanna at the start, I ended up loving Nik as well, especially seeing his love for his cousin Ella.
As the hacker superstar of the trio, Ella was my favourite out of the three characters. She’s hilariously snarky, constantly teases both Nik and Hanna and isn’t afraid to do what’s right. Although she’s physically weak, she is the glue that binds them together and monitors the surveillance tapes for danger lurking at every turn. Ella is just so much fun.
While Illuminae featured an imminent threat with the Phobos virus, there was less emphasis on the alien predators and more on the invading strike team. With photos and names of each of the members, it was actually interesting getting to know each and every one of the villains and seeing who gets eliminated. I wish there was more depth given to the Commander Cerberus though, other than being completely evil. We don’t really know their motivations for invading the station or why they are so insistent on taking it over.
Compared to the first book, Gemina is easier to read, with more narrative and surveillance tape footage. Seeing the character’s emotions up close, while also tracking the enemy locations added more depth than outside their chatlogs and illustrations. I also loved Marie Lu’s journal illustrations and the cute manga style they were drawn in.
On top of all of this, the constant twists and turns blew my mind throughout the book. There’s so many of them that I literally had to put the book down and walk away just to take a break from it.
Fast paced, action-packed and full of sci-fi goodness, Gemina exceeded my expectations as a sequel to Illuminae. I loved the badass characters, the impending danger and all the additions when it came to the space setting and the gorgeous illustrations. I’m still getting over it and it’s a book that won’t leave me anytime soon, especially after that cliffhanger. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW GUYS.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thanks Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me a review copy!
Out now at all Australian bookstores for a $22.99 RRP .