Gemina was an amazing sequel. I was totally blown away by this, and I was quite surprised because as some of my readers know I liked Illuminae but didn't love it. And that caused me to delay reading this as it just wasn't high on my priority list. But once I started it I was sucked in and didn't want to stop until I was done. I can't say enough good things about it... but I'll try. As you probably know the format of this book is unique- just like Illuminae the story is told through chat logs, surveillance video, and IM's so the book reads exactly the same as its predecessor. This time the action takes place on space station Heimdall which orbits a wormhole- the wormhole being the only way for the survivors from Illuminae to reach safety.
As the Hypatia from the first book limps towards Heimdall we pick up on the space station, where Hanna Donnelly (the commander's daughter) is meeting Nik Malikov to buy some drugs. Hanna was instantly likable to me and so was Nik. They're so different and even though Hanna is involved with someone else, her and Nik have a little playful flirting- although it's mostly Nik doing the flirting. But BeiTech, the company responsible for the atrocities in Illuminae, have sent a kill squad to Heimdall to take over and prevent the survivors on the Hypatia from reaching safety. So just as Kady and Ezra had to beat the odds in the first book, Hanna and Nik have to do the same here.
I've seen a lot of reviews say that this book is a lot like Illuminae in terms of structure, and I agree with that. However maybe because some time has passed for me since reading the first book but that didn't really pose a problem for me. Sure there are similarities but I thought this story was different enough that it was its own thing. Unlike Illuminae which took place primarily aboard several starships, this one takes place entirely on the station. And let me say once the kill squad arrives, all bets are off. They are good at what they do and nasty- BeiTech is not playing around- and the situation aboard the station gets bad quickly.
Hanna though is tough, having trained in martial arts and between her abilities and Nik's criminal background they make a pretty good team. And they have Ella, a computer prodigy who is also Nik's cousin, to help them with hacking and all that. Ella is kind of the Kady (hacker extraordinaire) of this one, but with a twist. The three of them are awesome together, and one of my favorite parts of the book are their snarky chat exchanges. This book was a lot funnier for me than Illuminae was, and the humor was so on point it relieved the almost unrelenting tension of the story. There are betrayals and surprises galore, some awesome fights, and a pretty horrifying x factor in the form of some strange lifeforms aboard the station. Lifeforms that are being cultivated, but when chaos descends on the Heimdall there's no one to manage them... and when they get loose, watch out.
This is simply one of the best science fiction books I've read. I liked it so much more than Illuminae- I liked the characters better, the situation was more compelling, it was just head and shoulders above the first book for me. I wanted this to keep going and although Kady and Ezra were alright, I liked Hanna and the characters in this one so much more. The wormhole was fascinating, the interactions with the kill squad were great, and again the dynamic between Hanna and Malikov were excellent. This book has a ton of action, good characterization, some chills and some twisty surprises too. One of my favorites of the year.