Hanna Donnelly is the station captain’s pampered daughter and Nik Malikov is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. Together they struggle with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, blissfully unaware that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall with news of the Kerenza invasion.
Picking up about five minutes after Illuminae ends, Gemina is the electrifying sequel to the hottest YA novel of 2015.
I loved Illuminae. I didn’t think I would but after winning it in a giveaway that I thought I would enter for the hell of it combined with the amount of love for it online, I read it sooner than I probably would have done. I was very pleasantly surprised, and Illuminae ended up being one of my top reads for 2015. Needless to say that I was very much excited for its sequel, Gemina, having pre-ordered it months in advance.
I am relieved to say that Gemina did not disappoint what-so-ever. I am going to purposefully be vague in this review so no one gets spoilt – you’re going to have to read it yourself!
With Gemina we get a fresh cast of characters, although the ones that survived Illuminae do make an appearance, so they’re not totally forgotten about. I found that I warmed up to Hanna and Nik a lot quicker than Kady and Ezra and seemed able to connect to them more, not that I didn’t love Kady and Ezra, and was delighted when they made their appearance in this book. Both Hanna and Nik are well written characters, and I love that their actual personalities are not what they initially seem to be. There are also some other characters that I loved and grew attached to, and throughout the book I was terrified for them, scared as to whether they would survive or not.
The action was very fast paced – the action takes place over such a short period of time which you are reminded about through a countdown. Like the previous book, this one is a page turner, where I forced myself to stay up late at night because I just needed to find out what would happen next, needed to know that the characters I had grown attached were going to be alright. There were also many twists and turns along the way, so when you thought you had got over the last one – BAM! Another one hits you. And while there are some similarities between Gemina and Illuminae, it’s enough to remind you how the stories are linked, but different enough that it doesn’t feel like a repetition of Illuminae.
A strength of this book, as with Illuminae, is the way that the story is told. I think that is what makes this series just outstanding as it adds to the sci-fi nature of the setting. It is told through a variety of mediums such as transcripts of audio files; instant messaging; commentary on surveillance videos; diary entries and more. This keeps the narrative fresh but not so distracting to prevent you from being absorbed in the story. The addition of the countdown and the pictures of the characters crossed off as they die reminds you of how high the stakes are, adding to the tension of the story.
Like with Illuminae, it took me a little while (just under 100 pages?) to get into this book, but once I did, there was no stopping me… apart from the much needed necessities of sleep and going to work. At over 600 pages, this book is a beefy one, but it feels like you’re reading a book half its size, and you certainly want more after you’ve finished.
This book was one of my favourites so far this year.