Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by: Knopf Books on October 18, 2016
Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Series: The Illuminae Files
Others in Series: Illuminae (#1), Obsidio (#3, March 2018)
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.
If you read my Illuminae review, you’ll know that my main point of contention was that the plot was so confusing. Well, as everyone has said since, Gemina definitely cleared up any questions I still had. In addition, the wormhole at Heimdall brought some of my favourite sci-fi tropes forward, which I will not mention by name in order to avoid any and all spoilers. And that last line! There was definitely some frustrated yelling. Luckily, March is only seven months away. Seven. Months.
I also really liked the new characters this sequel brought in, with Ella and Isaac Grant being my favourites. But AIDAN remains my favourite character in the whole series and his return was wonderful. Plus, I was genuinely surprised by a lot of the plot points. Obsidio will have a lot to live up to where this is concerned, and the best way Kaufman and Kristoff could do that for me is to bring in time travel (and more Star Trek references).
As for the not-so-great stuff, I have a few points. This book took me significantly longer to read, and although I do mostly place the blame on the fact that I was playing Dragon Age, this book just wasn’t as compelling to me as Illuminae was. For one, the bit with the worms was satisfyingly creepy, but felt unnecessary. It was such a throwaway plot point that it was there and then gone for practically no reason. I forgot about it until I sat down to write this review, to be completely honest.
Another thing I didn’t love was the romance. Hannah goes from being in love with one person to being in love with someone else entirely in a matter of hours. The book could have been just as good, if not better, with no romance at all. Or if you must include romance, then can we at least not have yet another heterosexual white couple? Some diversity would be nice. The romance felt like it was there just for the emotional bits and we don’t need romance for emotion. This felt more like emotional manipulation, which both of these books do a lot. Maybe this is a personal preference, but emotional manipulation for its own sake just feels cheap to me. I even found myself rolling my eyes at some of it because it was so obvious.
I really liked it, but Gemina was pretty much Illuminae except not as good and with some paradoxes sprinkled in. And even though its description sounds like it’ll be more of the same, I am still absurdly excited for Obsidio. Let’s hope that it’s a little more diverse than its predecessors, at the very least.
“It may comfort you to know that your death, while astonishingly violent, will likely be mercifully swift.”