Book Review: Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)
By: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by: Allen & Unwin (Aus) Knopf (US)
Release date: October 26th (Aus), 2016
Genre: YA Sci Fi
672 pages
Source: Purchased by reviewer

After the wonderful Illuminae, which I raved about in the above linked review, Gemina has been on my must read list all year. It is both a sequel and a companion novel to Illuminae. The characters in Illuminae have been trying to contact Heimdall Station to tell them of the attack the planet Kerenza suffered, and to ask for help. Heimdall haven't responded. In Gemina, we find out why.

Like Illuminae, Gemina is a dossier, a collection of chat logs, radio transmission and video transcripts, journal entries and photographs. The journal entries are new, and are provided by the very talented Marie Lu, who gets an illustration credit. But while the Illuminae report was created for the head of a corporation, Gemina is a trial record.

Picking up five minutes after Illuminae ends, we are introduced to Hanna Donnelly, who is arranging to meet her Dust dealer, Niklas Malikov. Nik is a bit of a shady character - he's been to prison, he's a drug dealer, and he's a member of an organised crime family. Hanna is the Commander's daughter and has the reputation for being a bit of a princess, but she also trains daily in the Station's dojo, and her dad's idea of family fun is playing war strategy games.

When Heimdall is invaded by a BeiTech team looking to wipe out evidence of the attack on Kerenza, circumstances result in Hanna and Nik teaming up to take them down. What results is a mix of Die Hard and Home Alone, with a bit of Star Trek and Event Horizon mixed in.

Like its predecessor, Gemina packs a visual punch and is beautifully designed. Marie Lu's journal graphics are beautiful and help give a real sense of Hanna's character. I found the graphical elements over all had less impact than in Illuminae, but that might be because in Illuminae it was all very new, and the precedent has already been set here.

Hanna and Nik are great, complex characters who really struggle with the task they're faced with. My favourite character might have been Nik's cousin, Ella, who is a computer whizz with a wicked sense of humour.

Gemina isn't all about the new characters, though. Those on the Hypatia do play a part, and AIDAN, everyone's favourite maniacal computer, plays an important role.

With great characterisation, gripping action and a long list of casualties (some of whom you'll recognise), Gemina is a worthy follow up to Illuminae. It's a great deal of fun to read, and I can only imagine how much fun it was to write.

The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander'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 crew 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.

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.


  1. I am currently reading illuminae, can not wait to start on Gemina x

  2. This series (trilogy?) is DEFINITELY on my to-read list. However the books are long and the series hasn't wrapped up yet (and my memory is awful) so I'm waiting until the books are all released. I want to try this series on audio, but I've read/heard that the hard copy is the best route, which will take me forever! Either way, I plan to read the series. :)

  3. I absolutely loved Illuminae and I am glad to hear that Gemina sounds like it is continuing the awesomeness of the series. Thanks for the review!


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