Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffGemina Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science-Fiction
Pages: 608
Goodreads

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

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 sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
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.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

4 Stars

Gemina shines in the shadow of its super-hyped predecessor Illuminae with the introduction of a set of new characters, astrophysical plot twists, and the seamless meeting of two storylines as the Hypatia closes in on the Heimdall jump station.

BOLL, Syra: It’s called a Gemina particle.
McCALL, Winifred: Careful, you’re sciencing again, Cap.

Though Kady and Ezra from the first instalment were cute, I connected a lot more with Hanna and Nik. We get a refreshing new set of characters which are a lot more realistic than a teenage expert top-notch hacker was. In my opinion, Nik Malikov also trumps Ezra as a love interest, the latter being a cardboard character and book-perfect boyfriend. Much like with The Lunar Chronicles, I was sceptical about the focus on different characters but it turned out to be uncalled for, because I warmed up to these little suckers from the very first page.

As Illuminae was, Gemina is a fast-paced, action-packed, and intense read right from the start. You might’ve guessed from my assessment of the characters but I preferred this romantic subplot, even though it might be closer to the cliché of a quick YA romance as Kady and Ezra had romantic history when the series started whereas Hanna and Nik barely know each other (though they did know each other before the actual plot starts). Gemina offers some great plot twists. The astrophysical element of the story makes for a pleasant surprise, although I will gladly admit that Illuminae’s greatest plot twist blew my freaking mind compared to this one. Moreover, the authors are moving on dangerous grounds with such elevated theories, as we’re starting to drift away from futuristic fiction to actual scientific fantasy, if you catch my drift. So, I’m not going to lie: I much preferred Illuminae‘s focus on artificial intelligence and its game-changing plot twist to the multiverse theory which this series is heading towards.

What made me further put these four stars into question was the overall feel of the book which felt so similar to Illuminae – a similar setting with a similar increase of tension with similar struggles of hiding while hunting bad guys. The same goes for the format, actually. What allured me with the first book was the creative way in which the story unfolded, told through files like chats and graphs. This wow-effect falls away with the sequel as readers familiarize themselves with this format, though a new type of file is introduced occasionally. On the other hand, I was able to dive in without having to get used to the files first, which may be a plus. However, it could also potentially open readers’ eyes more to weaknesses of the plot. What Gemina did extremely well was the seamless joining of the two storylines, connecting the first with the second book, which is quite difficult, I’d imagine.

AIDAN: ThE ConcEpt Of GoOd forTune is NonSensical. But [censored] is inSistiNg I wisH you BoTH gooD LUck anYway. So gOOd lucK, HaNna DonnElly. The uniVerse iTSelf dePends on yOu. … nO PresSure.

Overall, Gemina met my expectations and did so by delivering great new characters, a sizzling plot, and two storylines woven together without making a mess. However, it cannot go unsaid that the novelty effect of the format and the setting have worn off, and it will become increasingly more difficult to impress me.

An advanced reader copy was kindly provided at the Young Adult Literature Convention. This has in no way influenced my review. Special thanks to my co-blogger and friend Chantal for letting me borrow it because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel.