Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) (Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff)

I can’t talk about this book without giving out spoilers for Book #1: Illuminae (< click for review of Book #1). So unless you’re like me, not bothered about having spoilers, and actually in fact loves spoilers before going into books, then please proceed.

Turns out Heimdall is still surviving and is about to celebrate some kind of space occasion having no idea that Hypatia is en-route to them via Heimdall Waypoint, a wormhole portal with the news that Kerenza has been attacked. The people at Heimdall are also unaware that they are harbouring some alien predators. Lincoln might be destroyed, but Beitech is far from finished with it’s sights now on Heimdall (aka Heimdall Jump Station, – Heimdall is a jump station because it has a wormhole portal which allows you to jump…. galaxies[?]). Beitech intends to use this wormhole portal to get to Hypatia. But shit hits the fan when the galaxy Kerenza/Hypatia(/Heimdall Waypoint) is in collides with the galaxy Heimdall Jump Station is in – ‘universe ending’ kind of shit.

(Yea, I don’t know if they are in different galaxies, I just needed a word to to use in the above paragraph. What I do know is that Heimdall Jump Station and Hypatia are toooooooo far apart and Hypatia can only get to Heimdall Jump Station via this wormhole portal aka Heimdall Waypoint)

I’ll try really hard to not have any spoilers for Gemina.

(Any subsequent use of Heimdall refers to the Jump Station and not the wormhole portal unless specified)

See I like Gemina, but I have some issues with it.

So let’s talk about our lead characters. After a cringe-y romance between Kady and Grant, we have a much snarkier, sassier romance line between Hanna and Nik. Hanna is the daughter of the Commander in charge of Heimdall and Nik’s a member of an underground gangster group. Unlikely relationships. I love them. I enjoyed the romance line to say the least.

I liked the action in this one. And daaamn, the authors just killing off (named) people like nobody’s business at every turn of the page. I appreciate that.

But this book is really content heavy with all the science and the action. I’m glad I read it at one go if not I might have forgotten who’s on who’s side and just what the hell is happening. With Illuminae, Kady does all her action in front of a computer. And she just needs to get to a computer terminal and her actions are pretty straightforward – as in we know what she’s trying to achieve with her hacking skills, she has only a couple of motives. With Gemina, we’re going all over the spaceship, Hanna and Nik have all kinds of action sequences in the toilet, the air vents, the reactor, the mess halls, the docks, the atrium etc. They have enemies from everywhere. So if you put this book down, I do think there’s a high chance you won’t know where you are in the plot and who our leads are fighting at that moment and what their priority at that moment is, when you pick this book back up.

I like that we have a human villain, Travis Falk, in this one (until the universe ending shit happens and then that steals the show). The villain’s someone that seems to be worth fearing.

A little spoiler:

Travis Falk and his gang of troublemakers (all of whom are given names and have some page time in the book) are raiding Heimdall, under the instructions of Beitech, so that they can control the wormhole portal at Heimdall to allow this Assault Spaceship, also Beitech’s, to cross through the wormhole to get to the galaxy Hypatia/Kerenza is in so as to destroy Hypatia and whatever remains of Kerenza.

I thought the colliding universe theory because of the wormhole thing at the end was cool. The story makes sense and I like the direction it went.

But.

This one had way more of a happy ending than Illuminae. Or at least by the last hundred pages of Gemina you come to find out it’s going to have a happy ending. In Illuminae, it was only at the end of the end when you realised it was a happy ending. Kady surviving was fine, knowing Ezra survived was a happy ending I was not expecting but at least it was right at the last two – three pages, and not hundred pages in advance which seems to be affecting my feelings about Gemina. I mean I was still glued for how shit’s going to go down but yea. Although the happy ending makes total sense, I just wanted a sad ending at this point. And I would have preferred the character death to have happened. But if that character death had happened, there wouldn’t be a need to have the ‘universe ending’ shit. We’re talking about a whole different kind of (last hundred – two hundred pages of) story which makes me wonder, do I really want the story I read or the story with the death. And I’m swaying to the latter unless Obsidio, the third and final instalment, can prove to me that the ‘universe ending’ shit was a necessary plot point.

I mean I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love the snarky characters and my oh my, do we have a lot of them (Hanna, Nik, Ella, Falk and his gang of troublemakers). I love people vs people conflicts rather than people vs computer codes – of getting things to work and open (Book one was mainly Kady VS Aidan until Kady and Aidan VS Lincoln spaceship, so I appreciate the increased number of people and points of conflict that comes with having people). But given that it’s people vs people, I would’ve expected more character development. I do love that we have misunderstandings between people on the same side (trust issues between Nik and Hanna for eg) and I love that the misunderstandings get resolved fairly efficiently. But Falk. Given his build-up, he died too easy too quick. And at first, I was thinking maybe he had some bad blood with the Commander of Heimdall but no. I really want to know the motivation of Falk’s gang of troublemakers. Did they just raid Heimdall for money? Hmm.

And also remember I was saying we have alien predators in Gemina? In Illuminae we had a virus spreading amongst the refugee ships that caused them to turn on one another. And when that shit happened in Illuminae, I was blown away. I thought it was great that just when you thought shit can’t get any worse, it gets hella worse. But to have something similar in the next instalment… I mean highly plausible and it was beneficial to the plot, given how Nik made use of the alien predators to gain an upper hand against Falk and his gang but… just the fact that we have a virus in Illuminae and an alien predator that leeches off you in the same way the virus did was just too much, one after another. I could have totally done without it in the second book.

I will not be looking through Goodreads for low ratings.

The formatting is similar to Illuminae with emails, texts and CCTV footage in prose. It’s fine.

But I won’t recommend this book as of yet. I think it had a solid 537/659 pages until the ‘universe ending’ shit (and minus the foreshadowing of the ‘universe ending’ shit with the corsage). Up until page 537, the danger was real. The remaining hundred pages doe. I don’t know. I’ll get back to this once I’ve read Obsidio because I do want to know how this all ends.

But you know in all of this mess of people trying to kill each other, I have forgotten one very important thing. Why did Beitech attack Kerenza in the first place? LOLOLOLOL. Lemme go google it.

Okay, okay. So apparently, Beitech, a mining company, is rival to WUC (Wallace Ulyanov Consortium), another mining company, who was mining Hermium illegally in Kerenza. (Please note, Hypatia is a WUC vessel, so was Corpernicus. Heimdall is a jump station, that allows jumps to different galaxies, don’t think they belong to WUC but Heimdall’s Commander was aware of the illegal mining but I am unsure if Hypatia fleet in-charges knew of the illegal mining). Alexander belonged to UTA (United Terrain Authority)< space army I believe. The UTA is unaware of the illegal mining. But when Kerenza was attacked, Alexander just happened to be close-by and so provided assistance to the refugees < Beitech did not anticipate this. And Beitech does not want UTA to find out they were involved in wiping out a planet (and by Gemina, wiping out a Jump station too) – I think.

Will hit you back with Obsidio soon.


UPDATE 23/7/2018:

Review for Obsidio here. (Book 3)

Review for Illuminae here. (Book 1)


UPDATE 5/8/2018

Interesting how despite this review on Gemina, Gemina is the book in the series that I still find myself thinking about. It’s actually become the book that I like. Hm… Maybe it really is the human aspect of Gemina. It’s really people VS people. And then diseased people and science in the mix. Maybe it’s Hanna and Nik. Maybe it’s Ella. Idk. All I know is that I’ve come to like Gemina even more than Illuminae even though Illuminae is the most interesting with all the plot twists.

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