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.
Oh love seeing this review!! I really enjoyed Illuminae and have this one sitting on my shelf. I was afraid I wouldn't like it as much as the first since I heard it was similar. Glad it stood well on its own! Great review!ReplyDelete
What an awesome review. I must admit that I do not read science fiction but this looks good!ReplyDelete
I liked the sound of the series by plot but I hate the format it uses to tell the story so I doubt I'll read either of them.ReplyDelete
YAY! Well, I was pretty much blown away by Illuminae so you've got me even more excited to FINALLY get into GEMINA! If I wasn't battling with a reading slump I would have definitely read it already - this series is SO addictive :D GREAT review Greg^^xxReplyDelete
I couldn't really get through Illuminae but this sounds like so much fun. Do you think I could pick this one up without having finished the first?ReplyDelete
For What It's Worth
It's always a nice surprise when you end up liking the second book more than the first. I haven't read this or the first book, but I might just have to give them a try. It sounds like a fun series.ReplyDelete
Great review. THere were a lot of things to love in Gemina and I get why you were hooked. I was the same, I read it in one sitting and only slightly regretted my lack of sleep the next day. It was such an addictive read finding at how they survive and what happens to the survivors on the Hypatia. I did enjoy the twists but it did go a little over my head and I did find the end section a little repetitive... it was really smart though. For me I loved the ship in this, major love for Nic and Hanna but I missed the craziness of Aidan from Illuminae. The kill squad was intense but yeah... Illuminae was just the touch more for me.ReplyDelete
I am glad you gave this series another chance. Jay Kristoff is always brilliant. I love his stuff. Have you read is first series? If not you must check out the Lotus War trilogy. It is amazing.ReplyDelete
Sweet! I loved the first book which took me by surprise. I didn't think I'd get into it as much. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now. I need to get to it! Brilly review!ReplyDelete
I so need to start the first book. Everyone raves about this series.ReplyDelete
I have Illuminae on my TBR and from the sounds of it I need to move it up the list just so I can get to this one! The way the story is told with all the logs and such sounds interesting and always seem to make for a fast read for me. Glad you enjoyed it so much!ReplyDelete
Fabulous review! I love this series and think Gemina is even better than Illuminae!ReplyDelete
Yes, Gemina was an absolutely amazing sequel! I loved Illuminae and I thought for sure the next book would be hard pressed to beat it - but Gemina managed it with flying colors. Like you I also enjoyed the characters so much more in this. Now I just can't wait to see what the authors have in store for us in the next one.ReplyDelete
~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
I still need to read this book. I read and loved Illuminae and have had this on my TBR forever it seems. I am glad you enjoyed it so much. Hopefully, I can get to it soon.ReplyDelete
That is great to hear that you loved this!! Unlike you, I loved both Illuminae and Gemina. I do remember liking the twist in Gemina so much more though. I was mindblown. I cannot wait to see what the third and final book brings! The series has been a stand out so far. Great review, Greg. :)ReplyDelete
I keep meaning to try this series, I must get to it this summer for sure, so many people love it.ReplyDelete
Okay, this makes me want to read it. I felt the same after reading Illumine and didn't feel much drive to read this. Now, I'm interested.ReplyDelete
I am so glad you loved this one! I really liked it too- I think maybe a tiiiiny bit less than Illuminae but I think only because of the novelty of Illuminae, you know? I did adore Hanna and Nik- I think the storyline there was much better- the will-it-or-wont-it happen kind of thing, whereas you kind of knew what Ezra and Kady's deal was. I definitely agree about the strength of all three of the characters working so well together too, it was great! I cannot wait for Obsidio- and I am sad we have to wait almost a YEAR! Great review :DReplyDelete
Everyone seems to be liking this series and I am soooooo curious.ReplyDelete
I loved this book. Even better than Illuminae. I'm also always drawn to books that are presented in unique ways. And just look at those covers!ReplyDelete
I really want to read this book but I'm waiting till it's finished. I just can't start a series anymore that takes a few years to finish. I'm so forgetful. I can't wait to start it though.ReplyDelete
I loved Illuminae - and this one - but that's great that you loved this even MORE since you weren't entirely sold on the first book. I don't read a ton of sci-fi in general but this series is just great. I do think Gemina seemed a bit more intense!ReplyDelete
A great review, Greg. I haven't yet read Illuminae but this review has prompted me to get hold of it. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete