Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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 saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while they 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 team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the crew one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may 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 in the known universe – is in their hands.”
Review: While I loved the unique formatting of Illuminae, I found it difficult to engage in the story for a majority of the almost 600 pages. My feelings towards the book gradually began to improve as the relationship between Kady Grant and the shipboard artificial intelligence system, AIDAN, progressed. But given how long it took me to find some redeemable quality in the plot, I didn’t have the highest hopes for Gemina. However, I was looking forward to reading a book in the same unique style (i.e., told via briefing transcripts, classified files, emails, infographics, and more) as Illuminae. Unfortunately, Gemina felt like a simple retelling of Illuminae. Sure, the characters and the setting were marginally different, but the overall plot felt extremely repetitive. That being said, I did find that it was easier and more enjoyable to get through Gemina than it was to get through Illuminae. While I still felt like I was missing some crucial world-building (a complaint I had while reading Illuminae), I had an overall better understanding of the galaxy that these stories take place in. The best character by far was neither of the star-crossed protagonists, but Nik’s cousing Ella: a feisty, sickly, hilarious computer whiz. She brought some much needed humor and humanity to an otherwise very YA story. There’s one more book in the series, set for an October 2017 release date, and I’m sure I’ll read that one too because I am a fan of the storytelling method (such a fan that I’ll still give Gemina a three star rating). But as far as literary excellence is concerned, the Illuminae series mostly falls short.