Sunday, November 20, 2016

gemina: stardust reviews

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

 Amie Kaufman and 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 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.

full review under the cut! 

I read the first book in this series last year when it came out, and I was totally blown away. Normally, it is really difficult for me to get into sci-fi. I am just really slow at understanding sciency stuff, especially that which has to do with space, so I normally just read like one sci-fi book a year and then move on with my life. But Illuminae, and now Gemina also, manage to do a thing that I didn't know was possible: they make it easy for me to read sci-fi. I don't know if it is the form, which is a wonderful conglomeration of IM's, emails, pictures, etc, or if it is just the dynamic ideas and execution of those ideas by Kristoff and Kaufman, but there is something kind of magical about these books in that they make me forget I'm reading sci-fi. So if you yourself aren't really a sci-fi person, or if you are, this book just might be the thing for you. 

Gemina is told in largely the same way as Illuminae, but it does not focus on the same characters of Kady and Ezra. The timeline is a little weird, but Gemina seems to pick up a little before the end of Illuminae and continues on after. When we left the science vessel Hypatia at the end of Illuminae, they had just picked up Kady (and AIDAN) after she fought the Lincoln, and they were hurtling towards the space station Heimdall, hoping that they could jump through a wormhole there. We pick up Gemina on the space station Heimdall, following the station commander's daughter, Hanna, and the son of a mob boss, Nik. 

As we know from book one, Bei Tech industries is the evil company, run by Ezra's mom, that attacked Kady and Ezra's home on Kerenza. Now, Bei Tech is headed for Heimdall, intent on destroying the Hypatia and then Heimdall itself, therefore taking away any witnesses of the Kerenza attack. The Bei Tech team arrives on Heimdall, but what they aren't expecting is Hannah and Nik, and their desire to protect their home. Add in some mind controlling, bloodthirsty aliens and one really determined hacker, and you've got yourself a beautiful shit show. 

I absolutely loved this book. I always get worried when series follow different people in each book, because I get so attached to the people from the first book and never want to leave them, but I should not have worried about that at all for this book. I absolutely loved Hanna and Nik, just as much and maybe even more than Kady and Ezra, I haven't decided yet. Hanna is for sure my favorite person in the books so far, (besides Ella!!!), because wow she is awesome. Even though this book took place in a different place and with different people than Illuminae, I still felt like there was continuity between the books, so I wasn't confused or annoyed by the switch. I am DEFINITELY looking forward to the next one coming out, I think it is going to be absolutely amazing. 

Okay, let's talk characters. I know I already said that Hanna was my fave, but let me explain. She kind of reminds me of Princess Leia in a lot of ways, because she is an upper class, kind of spoiled, space princess type of character, but when the going gets tough, BAM, Hannah gets going. I love the whole backstory of her being obsessed with old war heroes like Napolean, and that she would play war strategy games with her father. I love that she is a black belt in like every conceivable form of martial arts, and I love that she is tough as nails, even when you think she should break. She's just a great character all around, and I loved reading about her. I also liked Nik a lot, but he didn't make as much of an impression on me as Hanna did. He is selfless and such a good person, but he does what he has to do to protect the people that he loves. I thought it was really interesting that his family is living on this spaceship illegally and manufacturing drugs for their mob family... like I never would've thought about a space mafia and now I am and its AWESOME. Who did I love more than Nik from the Malikov crime family? That's right, his little cousin Ella. That girl is dynamite. She's a boss ass hacker, doesn't let her disabilities stop her from living a super full life, and will do anything for her cousin. Plus she's hilarious. The parts that I laughed out loud at were when Ella was being snarky. I had about sixty-seven heart attacks when I thought she was dead, but then, REJOICE! She isn't! I also had a bunch of heart attacks when I thought Nik was dead, but somehow I knew that he wouldn't be, somehow. Let's see, who else? I was glad that Kady's dad is still alive, like thank god at least one parent is alive and not evil. And JACKSON. Y'all that was one plot twist that I didn't see coming. I thought maybe he was going to have to die so that Hanna and Nik could be together, but I definitely did not see traitor coming. He redeemed himself a little bit in the end, but I was still mad about what he did, so I couldn't really appreciate it. Great characters in this book though, I really enjoyed reading about them all. 

The Bei Tech assault was really high intensity, high stakes, but then that COUPLED with the mind melting alien creations that were attacking everyone AND the whole parallel universe ripaholeinthespacetimecontinuum thing was CRAZY. I felt like I was turning pages faster than I could blink because I was so on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was not expecting the parallel universe thing, but then when I looked back and saw what actually happened when Nik was flying outside the space station, it made so much sense. I thought that was an amazing twist and direction to take the plot. I also really like how this book was framed in a courtroom, with Ezra's mom on trial. That made me really excited. I just honestly can't wait for the next book! I hope it is Kady, Ezra, Nik, Hanna, and Ella all aboard the Hypatia, kicking ass and taking names all the way until Director Frobisher has to pay for what she's done!!! I honestly can't wait. What color do y'all think the third one is going to be? I think a nice Purple or Green would be cool... AH I can't wait!! 


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