Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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 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 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 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 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 the known universe—is in their hands. 
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review: This review is for book 2 in a series. I tried not to spoil anything, but you might want to check out my review of book 1.

I have a serious case of bookish déjà vu right now. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this novel before. It was called Illuminae.

The plot of Gemina runs concurrently to the plot of Illuminae. While the survivors of the BeiTech assault limp toward the Heimdall wormhole aboard the Hypatia, BeiTech is plotting their next move. BeiTech soldiers invade Heimdall station to cut off the Hypatia’s escape. That’s when all hell breaks loose.

Teenagers Hanna and Nik survive the invasion of Heimdall. Hanna is the spoiled daughter of the station’s commander. Nik is a drug dealer with a mysterious past. They have to work together to save the station and protect the Hypatia.

If you liked Illuminae, then you’ll probably like Gemina because they’re extremely similar. I know they’re part of a series, and they’re supposed to be similar, but they’re very similar. Both books are told in epistolary form with a mixture of chat logs, surveillance footage, and official documents. Nik and Hanna are basically clones of Ezra and Kady in the first book. Almost all of the characters in this series are sarcastic, athletic, flirty, and quick-witted. I desperately wanted more variety in the characters’ personalities.

“And now, born from the ashes, she’s a warrior in bloodied black.” - Gemina

Even the plots of the novels are similar. Both books have long, slow buildups to the action. Both books have disparate elements that come together to create chaos for the characters. In Illuminae, it’s invasion + evil AI + virus = problems. In Gemina, it’s invasion + malfunctioning wormhole + snakes on a spaceship = problems. There’s just too much similarity between the books for my tastes.

“It may comfort you to know that your death, while astonishingly violent, will likely be mercifully swift.” – Gemina

My only other issue with Gemina is the number of surveillance footage sections. These sections are summaries of security camera footage transcribed by an anonymous character. There are a lot of them, and I didn’t find them as compelling as the chat logs and other documents. I know that we need these sections to understand the plot, but the anonymous character puts an extra layer of distance between the reader and the main characters. The surveillance footage pulled me out of the story.

Despite the déjà vu and jarring sections, I loved the experience of reading Gemina. This novel is a 600-page beast, but the brilliant formatting makes it a quick read. It’s a beautiful book. I especially like the part where Hanna and Nik are in parallel universes. This plotline could have been confusing, but the formatting makes the action easy to follow. Whoever designed Gemina deserves a cookie.

My new favorite character is Nik’s cousin, Ella, who is a great addition to the series. She’s a fifteen-year-old computer genius who relies on a wheelchair and oxygen tanks to survive. Ella is lively. Just like a real teenager, she’s quirky in a slightly annoying way. She tells jokes during deadly situations and doesn’t take anything seriously. I need book 3 just so I can get more Ella.

I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy. I have a feeling it’ll be insane.


  1. I had heard this was similar to Illuminae but it sounds like it is still enjoyable. I hope to get to it soon. Maybe the third won't be so similar.

    1. Yes! I still really liked reading it, even though I felt like I’d read it before.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I had a feeling this would be really similar to Illuminae, and TBH that's probably why I haven't read it yet even though it's been out. I am going to read it though, and I love the idea of wormholes. Too bad the plots are similar. I also hope the payoff of WHY BeiTech is doing all this is worth it.

    I had heard Ella was great in other reviews, sounds like she livens up the story a bit.

    1. I’m eagerly awaiting the third book to get answers to all the “why?” questions. I hope it’s different and crazy.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I haven't seen a lot about this book but I did really enjoy Illuminae. I hate to hear that the plot is very similar to the first book. I will probably try to pick this up from the library at some point. Great review!

  4. I actually REALLY agree with you! When I read this, I *liked* it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why I didn't *love* it as much as I loved Illuminae, and I think you nailed it- it was too similar! I liked the new characters a lot, but yes, the plot was almost too similar. And I TOTALLY agree about the surveillance footage issue. Especially when you're going from chats and such, they seemed... extra long, maybe? But I definitely am excited for the next book and hope it will be an amazing and epic conclusion! Great review!

  5. I loved Gemina just as much as Illuminae. The similar plots didn't annoy me at all and I loved all these new characters. Yes Ella is AMAZING! I love this addition to our character list :) Really great review!

    Here's mine if you're interested in checking it out and talking more about the book with me :)

    I can't wait for the third book to be published! And I really want to know the title already :0