Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)- Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)

Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files (book #2)

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Format: Hardback (663 pages)

Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers (Oct 18th 2016)

My Goodreads rating: 5/5 stars

Book Depository: Gemina

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Salutations! I’m finally getting back to the book reviewing after a two-week hiatus, and I’m starting with one of my favourite reads in June, Gemina. I have a review for its predecessor, Illuminae, here, and I wrote in that review that the book was not as great as I had hoped it would be. The style rocked, but the plot and writing were a little messy for my liking. Gemina on the other hand got a whopping five stars from me, which surprised the heck out of me! So, what gives? What changed? Let’s discuss:

The first thing I’ll say is that the awesome layout of the book did not disappoint. I’m a huge fan of alternative ways of narrating stories, and quite frankly the report files, emails and web pages that The Illuminae Files presents will continue to be my favourite thing about the series. Gemina stepped it up a notch, with some comic strips and diary entries from one our protagonists, Hanna, which had me laughing out loud:

20170617_185404 20170617_185725.jpg 20170617_185645

The book itself is just pure gorgeousness, and I honestly couldn’t stop staring at it and stroking it like the total weirdo loser I am:



My biggest source of heartbreak is when I look forward to a book that lets me down. So guess what my biggest source of happiness is? Picking up its kick-ass sequel that blows my mind and leaves me wishing I was a film director so I can adapt the damn thing immediately. There are so many times I nearly gave up on series because of disappointing opening novels, and like in almost every instance I’m glad I stuck with The Illuminae Files.

The plot picks up straight after the events in Illuminae, with a new group of protagonists to follow. We meet Hanna, the daughter of Jump Station Heimdall’s captain, and Nik, a member of the notorious House of Knives family/gang. The events take place right as the Hypatia rushes with its survivors, including Kady Grant, to warn of the attack which occurred on Kerenza. I definitely loved the protagonists in Gemina a lot more, and usually I’m not fond of series which switch the POVs after each book. But I loved getting to know the badass Hannah, her relationship with her sarcastic, flirtatious drug dealer Nik, and his relationship with the rest of his family. The House of Knives are a totally cool, Russian-inspired Mafia family and their dealings on the Heimdall are terrifying. We also meet a bunch of other awesome characters, including the antagonists, and I just feel like each of them were given more substance and personality than those in Illuminae.

“You really think “impossible” was going to be a problem for us after all that?

Hell no.

We were just getting started.”

Okay, to the real stuff. This book was a total mindfuck. There was some crazy stuff thrown at me, in the same awesome, fast-paced style as Illuminae. Not only do we have an intense space-chase, but there are aliens, wormholes, crazy hijackers and much more. If you enjoyed the madness of the first book, I guarantee that this book multiplies it 1000 times. I didn’t even care that some parts of the book were a little jokey, because there was enough happening and enough terrifying events to balance out the humour with seriousness.

And oh boy, can I just comment on the awesomeness of that ending? For some reason, 2017 is the year of wormholes and/or mad science theories in novels for me. Seriously, I’ve read a lot of books this year that discuss multiverses, wormholes, intense physics, etc. The final quarter of the book was a crazy, exciting and mind-bending plethora of plot twists, more plot twists, intense space theories, a race against time and some fast-paced, non-stop action. The ending alone would have gotten five stars from me!

So, here’s my advice to you: if you in any way felt let down by Illuminae, read this book. If you loved Illuminae, read this book. If you love the style and appearance of The Illuminae Files, read this book. If you’re looking for the perfect blend of action, space excitement, aliens, villains, humour, and plot twists, READ THIS BOOK FOR GOODNESS SAKE, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Oh, and I’ll just throw in a shout-out for our favourite crazy AI, who should be reason enough to read anything 😉

I admire the precision. Almost machine-like.

I would say inhuman, but your kind perfected the clockwork of murder long ago.

So, to conclude, I loved it. I absolutely devoured the novel and had heart palpitations the whole time. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the great characters. Maybe it was the relationship between Nik and Hanna. Maybe it was the perfected blend of humour and action. Or maybe it was the batshit crazy events that happened one after the other, in the style I fell in love with in Illuminae. Whatever it was, I’m glad it worked. And I can’t wait for Obsidio.

And that is all for today. Today being four in the morning in my corner of the globe. My god, I need sleep. If you have any thoughts on Gemina, I’d love to hear them! Did you love it? Hate it? Prefer it to Illuminae or not? Let me know! Until next time 🙂

-Royal Reader


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