I. Love. This. Series.
I wrote a review of Illuminae a while back, in which I described that I had never read anything like this before. The Illuminae files are not your typical novels, they’re made out of compiled files. Literally. Text conversations, audio records, video footage transcripts, emails, paper work, images. And I love them. I think it’s because they are so unique while also making you feel emotional attachments to the main characters and a burning hatred for the antagonists. If you haven’t read Illuminae and Gemina yet, then I totally recommend that you do! I think it’s a great series for sci-fi/fantasy fans and it has such a cool presentation. (My favorite pages are the ones that are just a swirling series of sentences describing what’s happening and they make you spin the book around as you read. It’s like an added level of interactive-ness while your already holding the book in your hands.) I don’t know if they are available in e-book, but if they are, I say don’t buy that. It’s part of the whole experience to actually have this physical, brick of a 700 page hardcover book in your hands. And it’s amazing. Alright, enough of me praising the idea of the books and onto me exposing all my thoughts on what happened in Gemina!!
My rating: 5 stars
**Spoilers below… duh**
This is also going to be a fairly long post because there’s just so much to talk about, so get ready for that… 😉
Once again, these two brilliant authors have created characters that O just fell in love with. It was the same with Kady and Ezra for me in this book where I felt like I wasn’t really going to like them because they’re self-absorbed teenagers, but then they get thrown into crisis mode and become fierce mature characters that, when you see them die, it just rips your heart out. AND BOY OH BOY DO THEY RIP YOU HEART OUT. SEVERAL TIMES OVER.
Enter Hanna Donnelly. Rich girl, commander’s daughter, spoiled rotten, in love with a pretty boy. Typical 17 year old girl right? WRONG. Hanna has some hard core combart training in martial arts and she has the mind of a war strategist. These are the only things that keep her alive and I loved that the more I saw her use her skill-set, the more badass she became. I also really like that, in both Illuminae and Gemina, the badass females aren’t unrealistically untouchable and unbreakable. I feel like it’s sometimes easy for authors to write characters that can push past any obstacle without even a flinch, but Hanna shows several moments of weakness, moments where she just wants to give up and break, but the only reason she keeps pushing is because she has hope that she can help the people who are helplessly stuck in the atrium, and Nic and Ella who are helping her defeat the BeiTech goons that invaded Heimdall.
Nic Malikov and Ella Malikova are fantastic. First off, I love the detail of them being from New Petersburg and therefore having Russian names because even 500 years in the future there are earth-like nationalities. It makes me think about how there must have been a transition from life on earth to life out in space and that there were some people who thought to name areas in the Universe after places on earth like the way a lot of places in America are named after places in Britain. but I digress. Nic is an odd guy. You wouldn’t think that a drug dealer would be an ideal ally in a crisis, but Nic is young and less enthusiastic about his business as the rest of his family were. He knows that he needs to be brave and help Hanna, and not only because he is falling in love with her. Overall though, his personality unfolds really well, especially when it’s revealed that his angel tattoo (received because he killed someone) only because he covered his younger brother’s tracks when they were very young and protected him by taking the jail time. I loved this detail inclusion because it showed how dedicated Ni is to his family and the people he genuinely cares about. It helped me believe that he would really do anything to protect Ella and even Hanna (since he is definitely in love with her, and does not want her to die). The snake-like creatures Nic was helping his uncle breed inside of those poor helpless cows were just creepy. I was actually 100% certain that one had killed Ella too (Ella (hypothetical) death count: 1), but I’m so glad she made it out alive though I am not sure how she managed to shoot the thing without shooting herself as it was wrapped around her neck.
I only have one criticism of this book, and it’s that there didn’t need to be a romantic element between Nic and Hanna. I get that Nic was flirting with her for ages while he was her drug dealer and whatnot, but too many of their interactions were laden with this awkward sexual tension, and then they had Ella as a third wheel which made some of the text chat moments comical. But still very awkward and unecessary. I kind of cringed at the moment when they both reached the reactor and then Nic took off their helmets and they kissed… I was just thinking “There’s no time for smooching! Get on with disabling the wormhole! THE FREAKING BEITECH PEOPLE ARE RIGHT BEHIND YOU GAHHHHH”
Jackson…. JACKSON GAHHH, I’ve sat on my thoughts about this book for a good two weeks now and I still don’t know how I feel about Jackson Merrick aka Sam Wheaton aka RAPIER. I definitely did not see it coming that he was going to be the BeiTech mole, even though he was pretty sus in hindsight. It’s clear from some of his actions that he really does care about Hanna, he got a little too into his cover story, and it’s also clear that he was never told his mission would be this severe and horrible. But at the same time I HATED him for being so dedicated to helping Leanne Frobisher and being so loyal to her. When I got to the last 50 pages or so and read that report about him just shooting Ella dead in cold blood and then killing Nic and Hanna too I was like NOPE I’M OUT FRICKIN RAPIER I HATE YOU. But then it turns out he was really the one who sacrificed himself so Hanna, Nic, and Ella could escape through the wormhole to safety. I do kind of sympathize for the guy after all that so I guess he’s alright, but still, not the most likable character in there.
Just to clarify, this book literally sent me on an emotional roller coaster. I knew something was up about halfway through when Nic jumped “across” across the wormhole because I had already been told (via some nicely placed dramatic irony) that there was a hermium rod stuck to his ship. So when he was just fine and dandy after the wormhole went back online I was already suspicious that something was fishy. Then, we literally see Nic die in front of Hanna after being shot, that’s also how they reveal why there’s a growing bloodstain from the bullet hole in her journal pages (the fact that some one was going to get shot with the journal on them was not the shocking part. The shocking part was that it was Nic and not Hanna that was shot and that it FREAKING KILLED HIM. Anyways). So Nic dies there (Nic death count: 1). And Hanna has to go one without him which is devastating and then something weird happens…
I really loved the way Kady was involved because the Hypatia is trying to reach the Heimdall wormhole where Kady’s father is a head technician. It makes sense that she’d be involved and I loved that she was the one to figure out that the Nic from living Hanna’s universe (oh yeah, Hanna death count: 1, because she died in the alternate universe). I’m also very glad that he father made it out alive, albeit shot and injured, because she already lost her mom and cousin in Illuminae so it would have just been overly cruel to kill off her dad too. There’s so much suspense in this book because of the deadline to fix the universe before it all goes kaput and kills them anyways and the involvement of AIDAN to help them was just so great because he’s such a human-like machine that I sometimes forget it’s a artificial intelligence system that has no emotional capacity. It seems to care so much about the people it’s working with that it’s almost as is AIDAN is human.
I think that’s all I have to say on this one. I’d love to hear what you think about this series so let me know in the comments!!