Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman: Gemina

Relevant posts: Illuminae

Gemina Cover

Hanna is the captain’s pampered daughter. Nik is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. While the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the Jump Station Heimdall, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right towards them carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

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.

Gemina is the second in Kristoff and Kaufman’s joint venture, the Illuminae Files. Following on from events in the first novel, Gemina focuses on two new main characters who live aboard the space station Heimdall – the same station that the Hypatia, carrying Kady and Ezra, is heading towards. All seems perfectly fine as the space station prepares for a day of celebrations, until the residents and amongst them, Hanna and Nik, must fight against enemy combatants intent on destroying the Hypatia and anyone with any knowledge of the destruction of Kerenza mining colony.

Yet again Kristoff and Kaufman do not disappoint in their continuation of the Illuminae files and the events that occurred during that first novel. The structure, layout, and writing style found within Illuminae transfers into this novel, alongside a couple of the key characters from those events. Though they are not the primary characters within this novel, the events of Gemina do not in any way detract from the previous events but add to the importance of the Hypatia making its way to its destination and highlights how badly the company behind such a tragic event needs to silence those in the know.

As with Kady and Ezra, we are given two characters that seem completely out of their depth and are thrust into a situation that is entirely out of their control, and a near impossibility. Nik and Hanna are two young adults who banter back and forth with harmless flirtations and an undercurrent of sexual tension between the two. It is hard not to like the relationship that begins and ends with this couple and, though presented through instant message logs and camera feed write ups, you can really feel the emotions between the two characters throughout. Considering the situation they become caught up in, the two – who appear to have an almost love-hate relationship at times – really work well together to outsmart the enemy players on board the Heimdall Jump Station and to make their way back to each other to help save the residents from annihilation.

Hanna, the well-off snob who gets what she wants whenever she wants from her doting father, really turns the tables on her stereotype as she puts herself at risk and makes tough decisions when communicating with the leader of the enemy – sometimes resulting in consequences she doesn’t want. Thanks to her father, she has been trained to fight and think strategically giving her an advantage on her home and putting her on par with some of the combatants she faces. Whereas Nik, the local drug-dealer with a sketchy past, brings humour through sharp witticisms and flirtations that help to liven the mood and keep Hanna sane whilst also coming up with some genius ideas of his own.

I enjoyed the way that the two novels linked back to each other and how it, by the sounds of things, will eventually progress alongside each other as well. As I said in my review for Illuminae, the writing style and structure does not in any way detract from the enjoyment of the novel though it does feel weird when you first start the novel due to how unconventional it is. Gemina was a brilliant second novel and continuation and I really look forward to seeing where Kristoff and Kaufman take the narrative in the next book.


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