Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Series: The Illuminae Files, #2
Page Count: 659
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Original Publication Date: 2016
Genre(s): Young adult, Science fiction
Remember my hype over a year ago when I read Illuminae? (If not, you can find my review here.) Well, I’m happy to say Gemina did not disappoint me in any way whatsoever and actually the HYPE IS STILL REAL, FOLKS. You know how sequels are usually just a sad continuation of the first book and it doesn’t quite succeed in quite the same way? Well, Kaufman and Kristoff said a big ol’ fuck you to the usual order of things and created a sequel just as brilliant as its predecessor. Literally knocked it out of the park on this one, guys. Can you tell I’m hyped? Let’s begin.
***Oh, and it goes without saying that this review contains spoilers for book 1, Illuminae, yes? Okay. Just wanted to make that clear.***
Gemina, though it focuses on new characters, begins just minutes after Illuminae concludes. If you recall, the characters from the first book are aboard Science Vessel Hypatia and are headed towards Jump Station Heimdall after narrowly escaping total destruction for about the fifth time. Unfortunately, Heimdall is in just as much trouble: BeiTech—the organization responsible for destroying Kady and Ezra’s home and almost their lives—is moving forward with Operation Cleanup and plans to not only destroy Heimdall but also lure Hypatia into a death trap. Hanna Donnelly, the station commander’s daughter, is just trying to celebrate Terra Day when her home is invaded and taken over by BeiTech operatives. She finds herself teaming up with her drug dealer of all people, Nik Malikov, to save the entire station, its inhabitants, and the approaching Hypatia (with whom they have no contact whatsoever). Nbd, right?
Like I said, it’s been over a year since reading Illuminae, so getting back into the story was a bit of a struggle for yours truly. I actually had to go read a quick rundown of book 1 before jumping into Gemina. Immediately, I found myself missing Kady and Ezra. The details may have been a little fuzzy, but I remember adoring the two heroes from book 1. I wasn’t ready to warm up to Hanna and Nik just yet.
Another thing I noticed when starting book 2: getting used to the format again was a real bitch. I forgot how convoluted the story gets when told in the form of chatroom convos, narrated video footage, and official documents. But as the story and action picked up, I began to fall in love with the two new heroes as I had done with Kady and Ezra. Everything came back to me, and the format felt familiar again.
Speaking of action, there is plenty. of. it. I love that there’s not only some terrible people to worry about, but also a deadly alien species on the loose. Anyone else get hardcore Alien vibes? The book is super creepy and suspenseful. Also, lots of dead people. L O T S. I love these kinds of stories, but wow. I felt squeamish a couple times. Also really, really, gut-wrenching, heartbreakingly sad at some parts. Some really detailed deaths, there. Don’t get attached to anyone.
I mean it when I say this was a great sequel. It’s super easy to fall right back into the story whether you just finished book 1 or read it over a year ago. You’ll be on the edge of your seat and, if you’re like me, you’ll devour it. Kind of like the alien things devoured… Oh, nevermind.
Kaufman and Kristoff did it again, guys.
Oh, and yes, just like the first book, this one features crazy-cool illustrations, courtesy of Marie Lu. So yes, there’s plenty of ‘okay let’s flip this book around and around in order to read the spinning text lines here.’
The only bad part is this: I have to wait until tomorrow (after work!!!) for Obsidio to come in the mail. THE HORROR. Oh, well. Happy Valentine’s Day to me… *Love books, not people.*