Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffGemina (The Illuminae Files #2)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published on October 16, 2016

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Gemina
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.

My Review
One of the really fun things about this book (both books in the series, actually) is the unusual way the story is told. Instant message transcripts and transcripts of video footage make up the bulk of the story with some additional notes, like memos, journal illustrations, and emails sprinkled in.

Hanna’s a tough cookie, and a bit spoiled. She won me over because she quickly put aside her infatuation with fashion and her dreamy boyfriend to take on the task of bringing down hostile invaders.

Nik is basically your typical bad boy with the heart of gold. Maybe a little trope-y, but to be honest, I never mind that kind of a hero, so I was totally in—even though it did take me a while to get past his rough edges.

The story moves fast—lots happens and the stakes pretty much constantly jump higher and higher. Some of the twists caught me completely unprepared. I liked how things dove-tailed together to complete the arc.

Readers who enjoy quick dialogue and banter as well as somewhat gritty sci-fi will want this one on their lists. Gemina makes a great follow-up to the series debut, Illuminae, and I had no trouble following it even though I’d forgotten a lot of pertinent details to that first book.

Gemina on AmazonRecommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Major characters are white. Nik’s cousin has some physical disabilities as a result of her surviving a plague illness.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Another clever thing about this story is it censored most of the profanity, as if someone went back and blacked out the words from the record. A couple words did not get blacked out.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between a boy and girl. Also several scenes contain some sexual innuendo. At one point, Hanna ends up in her bra and underwear for non-romantic reasons, and has to find another outfit. There are a couple of references to her being in bed with her boyfriend, but they focus on either falling asleep or waking together, etc, rather than sexual details.

Spiritual Content
A couple of “Oh my God!” – “No, it’s just me,” kinds of comments.

Violent Content
Strong violence in several scenes. A man executes a hostage by shooting him in the head. Creepy descriptions tell of a parasite capable of attacking others which renders its victims sort of braindead and helpless. A couple gory descriptions of animal deaths.

Drug Content
Nik’s family deals a powerful drug referred to as dust. He’s involved in the manufacturing of the drug and in selling it. Hanna purchases it for friends and parties, but maintains that her own use is minimal or under control. She seems to have extreme familiarity with the effects of the drug and uses it for other purposes as the story progresses.

Gemina on Goodreads

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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