All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Allen & Unwin
2016, 659p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’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 crew 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.

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.

I have to admit, after finishing Illuminae and picking this up I was a bit disappointed when I realised that it wasn’t straight continuing on with Kady Grant and everyone – instead the action moves to the place Kady and those ships from Illuminae were attempting to reach – Jump Station Heimdall so that they can get the word out about what happened on Kerenza.

But – I should’ve known that after Illuminae it would be impossible to be disappointed. This novel introduces the reader to two more sassy teens – Hanna, the daughter of the person basically in charge on Heimdall and Nik, a resident who is part of a very notorious family that are mostly up to no good. Nik is Hanna’s contact for something that she occasionally requires and although he flirts with her, she has a boyfriend, who belongs to the Heimdall security team.

Continuing on from Illuminae in an attempt to leave no survivors from the Kerenza invasion, an elite BeiTech team invade Heimdall and take it hostage and they’ll be ready if the Hypatia carrying Kady Grant ever limps to the station. There area also drones dispatched to take out the Hypatia, which is a research vessel. After the BeiTech crew storm Heimdall, take hostages and start killing people, Hanna goes rogue. Raised by a Commander father who thought that war games and military strategy were both a) a good way to pass the time and b) bonding experiences, Hanna decides to stage a little operation of her own, taking out soldiers where she can and linking up with a few others that don’t want to be caught – including Nik.

Like Illuminae, Gemina is presented as a file comprised of documents, security footage analysis, memos, recordings, emails, chat sessions etc that take place during the invasion of Heimdall. There is a lot of stuff about wormholes which hey, I don’t understand at all but I grasp the danger of things going wrong. Also there’s a kind of alien parasite aboard the Jump Station that are being used for something but are basically abandoned after the invasion and they’re seriously creepy. It’s a very full on story, it felt even more heart stopping that Illuminae – so many different threats from so many different directions and several countdowns that keep everything feeling very fast-paced, like the impending doom is impossibly close. It’s a great atmosphere – this book is almost 660 pages and I plowed through it in a day. I know the format means that pretty much none of the pages are completely filled with text but it’s still a lot to get through and I just couldn’t put it down.

Hanna is pretty badass – she has been roleplaying military strategy and the like with her dad for years and she gets the chance to put it into serious practice here. She’s studied martial arts as well and knows the ship. A new format included here are Hanna’s journal entries which often comprise of sketches (done by author Marie Lu) and they are amazing! I really enjoyed her personality, both before the invasion and even more so after. She’s bored living on Heimdall and occasionally enjoys pushing some boundaries, living a bit. It’s what brings her in contact with Nik, who is kind of a reluctant member of a futuristic Mafia-style family. He’s inked up, like the rest of the clan and they’re involved with some of the seedier things on the Jump Station. Nik enjoys flirting with Hanna and their interactions are quite funny and I think he interests her too even though she has the ‘perfect’ boyfriend in Jackson. At face value, Nik and Jackson would be polar opposites – but Nik’s character definitely has hidden depths.

I said in my Illuminae review that I knew within the first 100p that I would need Gemina right away and I was right. Unfortunately I have to wait until March I think, of next year to get Obsidio, the third installment of the series. This one ends in a way that just leaves you needing more. If someone asked me which one was better,  Illuminae or Gemina, I’m not sure I could say. They’re both amazing and Gemina takes the story of Illuminae and expands the world and the danger.

I’m so glad I joined #TheReadingQuest Challenge because sometimes I just need something like that to give me that push outside of my comfort zone. I have a lot of books to read and it’s true that I do often tend to pick the ones that are familiar genres or shorter reads, just because I know what to expect. But in doing this challenge I’ve remembered how much I do enjoy sci-fi/fantasy novels when I read them and this series, set in space, is definitely one of the few futuristic space dramas I’ve ever read and I love them.


Book #141 of 2017

I’m counting Gemina towards my participation in #TheReadingQuest Challenge! Given it’s huge page count (659p) I’d be silly not to count it toward the Grind side challenge – read a novel over 500p. In my original TBR I had The Diviners by Libba Bray earmarked for this category but that was before I read Illuminae and decided I’d also be reading Gemina during the challenge timeframe. I figure if I have a book that counts towards a category, I might as well use it!

And my updated character card! Another 10pts earned for a new book completed taking me to 50 overall experience points. Also 66 points added to my health points taking me to 209pts total.