Sequels are hard. They’re hard to write, they’re hard to read, they’re hard to enjoy. And it’s super hard to not compare them to their precursor.
Remember Insurgent, Catching Fire,
and Glass Sword? Case in point.
At first, Gemina was a little like that. After all, it’s only expected, right? I’m pleased to inform you that it didn’t stay like that for long. It was out of this world.
I’ve had to wait a bit before writing a review for Gemina because I needed to calm down. And give myself some therapy. And ceremoniously return it to its place on my shelf. You know where I’m going.
So I present to you, The Review. Pray I make sense.
BEWARE, THOSE UNFORTUNATES OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET READ ILLUMINAE. YOU MAY BE SPOILED.
If you are one of those unfortunate beings, let me steer you over here instead, where we can chat without spoiling the series for you. You’re welcome.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
“It’s not about what I say, right? It’s what I do that matters here.”
Gemina took me a while to get into. I’ve read a series that switched/added main characters with every new book (thank you, The Lunar Chronicles), but I’ve never read one that disregarded the old leads almost entirely. It was a bit strange jumping into Gemina learning about completely new characters with Ezra and Kady on the sideline. Once I got used to it though, I was all in. The new cast shined just as bright as the last one, and they grabbed my bookish heart almost as much.
I loved how character-driven Gemina was, and how much work went into the plot, writing, and dialogue. I could tell it took a lot of thought and effort, and the result was a smoothly written, effortlessly brilliant novel.
It was undefinable and unforgettable.
What I liked:
- The characters, obviously. They were so vibrant and so full of life; I loved reading about them. (Nik especially *cough cough*)
- It often happens in a sequel that the author will expand the world too quickly without proper development—which was not the case with Gemina. The world was expanded slowly and properly, I felt just as comfortable and familiar with it as I did with the world of Illuminae.
- The book was intense, but it never lost its sense of humor. It didn’t take itself too seriously, although it easily could’ve.
- The plot was unpredictable (to me), and I enjoyed the thrill of the many twists and turns!
What I didn’t like:
- Sometimes it felt like the authors were playing with my emotions just for the sake of playing with them, which I’m not a fan of. They used the same bait as in Illuminae, and after using a device once or twice, no matter how great, it gets old.
- Gemina was formatted with more narrative documents than Illuminae, so it felt less creative than its predecessor, which is fine, but made it less striking.
- A few characters were “Russian,” but some Russian grammar rules for nicknames and names in general were not applied. I was a little irritated by that, but the normal reader wouldn’t notice. (Still, some names wouldn’t even exist in Russia.)
- THE. CLIFFHANGER.
(Just kidding I loved that cliffhanger.)
Illuminae set a high bar for Gemina to live up to, but every expectation I had was met. Kaufman and Kristoff have outdone themselves.
Somehow I find sci-fi becoming one of my favorite genres…
Strangely, I don’t mind.
Is it okay for me to read?
Language • • • • •
As with Illuminae, the language in Gemina was “censored,” so prolific profanity was blacked out. However, it remained that not all cursing was censored, which still felt strange. G**d**n and h**l were both used about thirty times (over 700 pages, don’t let the large number fool you, it’s not all that frequent), and d**n and its variants 13 times. Nevertheless, I was disappointed with the language here.
Violence • • • • •
Action sequences are fairly frequent, though not disturbing. Alien-like creatures are bred in a fairly disgusting process. Said creatures prey on humanity.
Sensuality • • • • •
Lots of innuendo, some suggestive conversations. The sensuality is mainly verbal as with Illuminae, though there are a few kisses and some light making out.
Substances • • • • •
A notorious criminal family deals with the process of making and dispersing “dust,” which becomes a pretty prominent part of the story, though it ends up deadly and thus unendorsed and discouraged.
For more about my content ratings and what they mean, click here.