Monday, October 17, 2016

ARC Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


Title: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 608
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//I received this book from ALA in exchange for an honest review//

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.

I read an advance copy of Illuminae last year and totally loved it! I could not wait to get my hands on Gemina and when I found it at ALA over the summer I was SO excited! Gemina is told in the same unique format as Illuminae, which I was really looking forward to. It also did a lot of other things the same as Illuminae, which I didn't love so much.

Gemina introduces two new main characters - Hanna, the captain's daughter, and her drug dealer, Nik. Hanna was a great character, strong and fully capable of handling herself. There were times when I wondered why a spoiled captain's daughter would know so much about certain things and she seemed a little too knowledgable at times. Her backstory mostly explained these things, thankfully. Nik was also a fun character, although he seemed very similar to Ezra to me. One thing that I noticed throughout both books is that every person in this universe seems to have taken sarcasm classes at some point because almost everything they say is snarky. It is amusing though. The romance between Hanna and Nik was cute, but it just wasn't on the same level as Kady and Ezra.

The storyline of Gemina crosses paths with Illuminae, which was awesome! I was concerned about a second book not having the same main characters as the first, even though it worked for the Starbound Trilogy. The big bad was also really different. Instead of a terrifying zombie virus, this time we have some kind of weird space worm parasite thing. While kind of scary in concept, it didn't end up packing the same punch as the virus from Illuminae. I did think the invasion of the ship by unknown troops was really well done, though. Like with Illuminae, I never felt like I knew exactly what was going on until the end. I love to be kept guessing!

Unfortunately, the rest of the story was quite predictable. I was really disappointed to see that Gemina used many of the same tricks as the first book in the series. There were several times when something happened that was supposed to make me sad or anxious where I didn't have much of reaction at all because I already knew what was going to happen (and I was correct). I'm sorry to say that most of the big reveals were extremely predictable because they followed a pattern very similar to Illuminae.

That isn't to say the book was a total loss though! World building is definitely where this series excels. The format that the book is written in makes it extremely easy to feel like part of the world and it's really easy to picture the ship that the characters are running around. I'm sure it'll be much better once the final art is included too!

Overall I liked Gemina but it did not blow me away like Illuminae did, mostly because it felt much to similar. I did enjoy some of the new characters and there were a few reveals that did surprise me. I also loved being immersed back in the world the authors created. I will definitely still read the next book to see how it all wraps up, but I'll probably go in with lower expectations next time.