ARC Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

review         book

I'll Meet You Theretitle: Gemina
author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
pages: 672
format: Paperback
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4/5 (from hated to loved) or 7/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, and The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.
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.

in depth

  • Illuminae re-energized the young adult sci-fi scene with a gritty plot, snarky characters, and a found-footage style quite unlike your typical space novel.  Gemina doubles down on the formula with two new heroes, plenty of blood, and beautiful drawing by the masterful Marie Lu herself.  With elements of Dead Space, Interstellar, and Alien, it's a xxxxing mindtrip of a novel.  

  • Meet Hanna, feisty daughter of the Heimdall jump station commander.  Meet Nick, sexy snarky tattooed criminal with an immature sense of humor.  Meet Ella, silver-tongued computer genius who controls the whole game from her wheelchair supercomputer.  Throw in a bunch of xxxxxx mercenaries, a mysterious hallucinatory beastie, and let the chaos ensue.  

  • The story picks up immediately after the events of Illuminae, and it's just as fast-paced.  With mercenaries trying to destroy last book's survivors, the only hope is three teenagers running around the ship causing mayhem and throwing gears in the works.  It's like Home Alone, except the traps are deadly and there's imminent danger of everyone and their brother being blown to xxxx.  A periodic countdown and short chapters keeps the action tense and breakneck.  I swear I was holding my breath half the time, scared to xxxx and claustrophobic while Hanna and Nick made escape after narrow xxxxing escape.  

  • The formula has been established, so that was a bit of a drawback.  While Marie's drawings (which aren't in the ARC but which I ogled in the finished copy) are beautiful as xxxx and a welcome addition, the rest of the stuff (text conversations, kill lists, video transcripts) is par for the course once you've read the first book.  Which is fine, it's just not revolutionary anymore.  In fact, Gemina almost follows the same structure as Illuminae, from the characters (fierce, badass girl, snarky guy, supergenius backup) to the plot twists (like, really, you can only get away with that once!).  So that was a little disappointing.  I wasn't surprised anymore.  It was also a little draggy in the middle, too many video transcripts instead of the stronger, pithier elements. 

  • That said, it's a xxxxxxx solid book.  Nick is xxxxxx adorable (I think I like him more than Ezra), Kady (who is way better than Hanna; let's face it, Hanna is just okay) and my dear beloved AIDAN make squeal-inducing cameos, and there's enough action and intensity to get your heart pumping double-time.  There are also a few wrinkles thrown in, beasties and quantum physics, that bump the stakes up even higher than they were.  I was pretty impressed by the authors' obvious care in researching time and quantum theory.  It might not satisfy a physics Ph.D. (I don't have a xxxxxing clue), but it's sharp enough to feel authentic, like they're not just xxxxxxxxx you.  

  • I can't quite give this five stars, because it felt so much like Illuminae in a different skin, down to the same twists.  Yes, I'm still harping on that xxxx.  That said, it's a kickass sci-fi that deserves it's own xxxxxx techno soundtrack.  Kaufman's and Kristoff's signature razor-sharp snark, brutal realism, and touch of whimsy makes Gemina a memorable addition to the science-fiction canon.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dig your fingernails into your palms out of sheer xxxxxxx anxiety.  

  • And then you'll stall on those last heart-wrenching pages, knowing that you have a whole xxxxxx year until the sequel.  

        in a sentence

        Gemina is a brutally intense, starkly witty follow-up to the found-footage masterpiece that is Illuminae.   


        will i read this author again?  Yes, both of them. I still need to finish Nevernight...  
        will i continue the series?  Can I just have it now, please?  

        Note: I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


        1. I'm so excited to read Gemina! Illuminae was so crazy and so awesome - I loved it. Even thought the second book sounds like it has it's flaws, I can't wait to see what happens next. Great review!

          1. Despite its flaws, it's still a fantastic read! Thanks!

        2. I wasn't sure about this at first - I liked Illuminae, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to follow those characters any more. So I'm glad this is a new tale, I'm more convinced now!

          1. It's nice seeing those as cameos but getting to meet a new set of people.

        3. I was expecting this one to be a bit less mind blowing than Illuminae was for all the reasons you listed so I'm ok with that. Honestly? I just NEED this book to arrive in my mailbox already! GREAT review^^

          1. I think as long as you're anticipating that, it won't bother you too much. I hope you love it!

        4. YES! I am so glad you found this to live up to your expectations CJ! I completely agree – I need the sequel ASAP! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

          1. Thanks!! I'm already itching for book 3.