Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I think this is one of those rare cases. In fact, I think this is definitely only the second case ever that has ever happened to this Book Princess, and she’s kind of not sure how or why it happened.
What is this particular case, I’m sure all of you are pondering?
Well, it would be the case of the second book somehow being better than the first.
I liked Illuminae just fine. I gave it five stars, but as the days and weeks went on, I kind of downgraded it a bit to four star in my mind. It just didn’t have that lingering effect with me as other books had, and I just felt a mild disconnect from it with the format that it was in. I was kind of expecting the same thing when I book walked my way into Gemina, but oh my stars, this book was everything.
Let’s start off with the Goodreads basics?
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.
I’m not even sure where to start with this book. It still has the same format as Illuminae, so be prepared for case reports, chats, logs, and more to tell the story instead of just plain prose. What was new in this book was the addition of illustrations by the wonderful Marie Lu. I loved all of them and thought they were so cool. Definitely a worthwhile addition, and I was sad that we didn’t get them in the first one. 😄
Perhaps the biggest difference for me between the first and the second one was the characterization. Don’t get me wrong: I loved Kady and Ezra in the first book. I thought they were both smart and funny, and I totally rooted for both of them. I may have even had had a few feels for them.
What’s difference is the level of feels I had for Nik and Hannah – and not just to be with each other but for the character. I loved both of them equally, and absolutely was fangirling for them to be together. I wanted to smush them together and cry over their cuteness. But then I would forget about that and just root for them in general. Hannah was a kickbutt lead – she was smart, funny, didn’t take no for an answer, and stuck to her principles. I loved how she missed with the crew’s minds and even left notes for them with lipstick. The authors never belittled her sorrows that she had, and she just kept going – and it was all super believable. She was the perfect heroine, and I feel a visit from Mulan rapidly approaching.
Nik was fantastic as well. He was hilarious, dreamy, and complicated. It wasn’t just the shallow characterization of the deep-space bad boy. He had facets to him, and I loved that about him. What was also so wonderful was his love for his cousin Ella – CAN SHE PLEASE HAVE HER OWN BOOK, PURTY PLEASEY?? Some many times, the love with family gets thrown in to make the character look good, but Nik absolutely cared and loved her and you could feel it perfectly. Ugh, swoon.
All of the side characters were fantastically developed as well. I will admit that all of the crew got a bit scrambled in my mind, and I kept having to go back and look at the pictures to figure out what baddie was getting offed next. 😄 But Ella, Kady, Ezra, Isaac, and Jackson were fantastically developed – and even the baddies were, too!
The plot was also definitely as interesting as the first one. I actually kind of liked this plot a little bit better – perhaps because Aidan creeped me out so much in the first one – and the plot twists actually had me decently surprised. I didn’t really see the huge shock coming about 3/4 of the book, since I had no clue how they were going to fix all the problems that the authors created. But trust me, they managed to fix it all so perfectly, and now I’m screaming for the third one because this one ends in a cliffhanger unlike the first one.
So, if you were thinking that Gemina was going to fall into the inevitable second book slump – you’re wrong. It was so ridiculously good, and now my best friend hates me a bit since I told her we could try and do a buddy read for it…and then binge read it all within two days because I couldn’t stop. The plot, the pacing, the characterization, the feels – all perfection, and what I thought Illuminae lacked, this book delivered.
Five crowns and a Mulan, Rapunzel, and Aurora rating!
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What do you think? Have you read this yet? Did you like it better than the first or just the same? Have you ever read a second book in the series that was better than the first?