Gemina By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Book Review 

Gemina book review

GENRE: SCI FI/YA
PAGE COUNT: 659 PAGES
“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.” 

Book 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.

Oft! My Emotions! Kaufman and Kristoff have done it again. A sequel that is just as enthralling, poetic and gut wrenching as the first! I’m so shook after finishing this book. It’s very rare these days that a sequel can hold a candle to the first book in a series, let alone have it be just as brilliant. 

It is clear to me that both of these authors excel in creating unique and compelling characters that the reader will find impossible not to fall in love with.

“And now, born from the ashes, she’s a warrior in bloodied black.” 

Hanna Donnelly is nothing short of completely badass. She is intelligent, charming and could absolutely kick your ass. Hanna is easily just as endearing a character as her counterpart from the first book, Kady. However the authors have managed to make her, her own individual so you don’t feel like you are reading book with the same female lead. Though this one is as equally kickass as the first. 

“You might get only one shot. So shoot. You know who said that?”

The rifle clatters to the bloody floor.

“Hanna FUCKING Donnelly. That’s who.”

Gemina owes it’s brilliance to the fact that it keeps all the elements that people loved from the previous book, the witty characters, brutality of events juxtaposed with poetic prose, the rare format the story is told in (classified documents, censored emails, interviews, and others) and adds new elements which makes it stand out as it’s own story. I also particularly enjoyed finding references to the characters of the first book throughout Gemina.

“This tiny moment. In between the time you decide to pull a trigger and the time death arrives. There’s just you and it and everything you’re about to take away. It’s too big. It goes forever.”

Nik Malikov is another character you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy. He certainly hasn’t had an easy life, yet he is completely charming, cheeky and entirely resourceful. His character stands out for me as he’s very different to anyone we have seen in the series so far. The House of Knives storyline is another great part of the story. It demonstrates one of my favourite things about this series, the multiple interlocking stories and surprises that could have entire books of their own. 

“It’s not about what I say, right? It’s what I do that matters here.” 

Kaufman and Kristoff  have done a wonderful job of creating the stereotypical sweet-as-pie heartthrob character Jackson Merrick. Think Stefan Salvatore, Edward Cullen. For this reason I’m not that drawn to his character.. I’m never team the cookie cutter good guy. Maybe that says something about me. For this reason, in this particular love triangle, I’m defiantly team Malikov. 

I can’t say too much about the plot as I don’t want this review to have any spoilers, so I’ll just say If you haven’t started your journey into the Illuminae Files you need to start now. Seriously, what are you doing right now? Run to your nearest bookstore now!

 

 

“Her eyes shining with the light of it. 

Beneath, between, beyond.

Along the endless circle.

Down the ceaseless spiral.

And waiting for her on the other side? 

Just like he promised.

“A whole sky of different stars.”

RATING:

★★★★★

Illuminae By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Review

Illuminae By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Review

GENRE: Science Fiction/YA

PAGE COUNT: 599 PAGES

“You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. 

You have me.

Book Synopsis

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, exes Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. 

But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results. The fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what the hell is going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. 

I have been hearing about this book for a while now, people are very, very passionate about this series and after reading it last night I completely understand. Illuminae is Starwars meets The Walking Dead meets 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It’s also a super fun read, which is impressive, considering the complete emotional shitstorm you endure over the course of its 599 pages.

The book is told via various interviews, recovered documents, IM Chats and more. The style makes the book a stand out for me as I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s visually stunning as well- the artwork is truly transformative in this novel. The formatting makes the book an absolute page-turner, that makes me feel like a space detective. Always a plus.

 

While reading you question all of the details present and are aware that some may be missing. More importantly, have things been left out intentionally? The book is like a puzzle the reader can interpret as they wish. I will be rereading this in the future to pick up on whatever I missed. I believe a great book should be readable multiple times with the reader still discovering points they missed the first read. Illuminae nails this perfectly.

Aside from the writing style the story is completely heart breaking and enthralling, and superbly character driven.

“I am frequently underestimated, I think it’s because I’m short”

-Kady Grant

Our main character is a classic everyman hero, completely relatable, bitingly sarcastic and charmingly youthful. In what can only be described as the literal worst day a person can have, she remains strong, and fights till the very end. If you are looking for a seriously kick ass female empowering character, you have found her. Kady has empowerment in spades.  She also happens to be an amazing hacker, you could say it’s her superpower. This talent sets her out as a unique kind of hero and I found her very relatable and was cheering her on from my reading nook throughout her journey.

“Let’s try really, really hard not to die”

“He presses the triggers. And like roses in his hands, death blooms.”

Ezra Mason is the modern day Patrick Verona (10 Things I hate about you), seriously, he gave me major Health Ledger vibes throughout the book. He brought a lot of the comedy and lighthearted moments in the novel and is another character who is very easy to love. He’s certainly not perfect, which makes him all the more endearing. He’s an extremely loyal character that complements Kady’s character well.

“Its like a beautiful painting of a totally empty room”

Illuminae will take you on an intense emotional journey. Laughter, loss, conspiracy, twists, tears, friendship, space, death, love – it has it all, and more.

Overall this book is a definite favourite for me and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series! I was very emotionally invested and finished this book in a day as I simply refused to put it down. The lost sleep was well worth it, I cannot recommend this book enough! If this has been on your TBR for a while, do yourself a favour and pick it up. I can guarantee you wont regret it.

“I hear her whisper their names as seventeen depleted uranium rounds punter her full tanks and scatter her across the void”

Sidenote… The Authors are Aussie’s! I don’t seem to have a lot of Australian authors on my bookshelf currently which is definitely something I need to remedy!

Some quotes that have stuck with me and give me all of the feels;

“Endless darkness shot through with tiny spears of sunlight older than you and your entire species” 

“Lines like poetry, she doesn’t move in space, she dances in it”

“All of it happening in perfect, absolute silence”

“Promises are just words, they don’t mean a thing”

“All this in the time it takes god to blink”

“Glittering fragments spinning out into forever”

RATING:

★★★★★