Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Published: October 18, 2016
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 Illuminaecontinues 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 theHypatia 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.
Gemina is a stunning book in form, but left me desiring something with its plot. Although I picked up Illuiminae from the library earlier this year, I loved the illustrations and creative storytelling format so much that I decided to order a physical copy of Gemina for my own. The fact that this is a gorgeous book that pushes the boundaries of what we think books can do is not in question, but it’s also not enough for me to give the book five or even four starts. I wanted something that had all the strengths of Illuminae but was new and different, and I feel as if I got something that was watered-down.
I’m always the first to admit I don’t normally love space books, and Gemina is a great example of why. Setting a book on a space ship or shuttle gives the characters very limited movement or room for action. I felt like very similar things were happening in both Illuminae and Gemina, even when I could see the authors trying to make sure things were a little different. The setting also means you inevitably have to have people fill similar roles. Someone has to be the master hacker, for instance. And even though Amie and Kaufman clearly sat down and said, “Hanna cannot be Kady,” someone had to be the Kady in this book. Really, the authors tried, but at least on the surface-level the books felt very much the same to me.
One of the things I most loved about Illuminae, however, was not the action that occurred upon the space ships, but the character development of AIDAN. I think that was wildly imaginative and beautiful, and while a couple side characters had arcs in Gemina, I’m not sure that the protagonists really did. They’re both nice, competent. Badass when they need to be. But I was not sure I was invested in their life stories the way I was invested in AIDAN or even Kady. Nik seemed to have had some interesting life tales to tell, but they all occurred before Gemina started. The guy should get a novella because that would probably be quite interesting.
I enjoyed Gemina, but I’m not going to blindly give it five stars just because I loved Illuminae. Again, the format is great, but that’s something that has stayed stable since Illuminae, not something that has improved. And I think other areas of the book–plot and character development–are a little flatter than they were in Illuminae. I’ll finish up the story because I might as well at this point, but I’m definitely not as excited about Book 3 as I was about this book before its release. 3.5 stars.