Expected publication: October 18th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech 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 strike 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 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.
So it was with massive amounts of anticipation that I delved into Gemina. I was dying to know just how the BeiTech assault was being viewed in other parts of the universe, and I also was hoping to also check in with Kady and Ezra, in the context of a different event. Well. Let me just say now: Kaufman and Kristoff delivered this, and so much more.
Like Illuminae, Gemina is framed in the context where the reader is joining a tribunal of looking back at the events of the BeiTech assault. We quickly delve back into the documents of the unfolding situation post-Illuminae - Kristoff stated that the book begins about five minutes after Illuminae ends- where readers learn that the distress calls that were being sent to Heimdall, were being intercepted and deleted.
This immediately sets up the idea of the dangers and stakes involved onboard Heimdall, despite the fact that our main characters Hanna and Nik have absolutely no idea what is about to hit them. And when an elite BeiTech team strikes the station to begin an attempt to control a wormhole that would help eliminate witnesses to the Kerenza invasion, that's when all hell breaks loose.
First things first: while I was a little concerned about the sophomore slump, I needn't had worried. Though Kaufman and Kristoff are essentially switching to two different main characters this time around, both Hanna and Nik have the same fierce determination that Kady and Ezra displayed in Illuminae. They adapt to the unfolding situation quickly, and readers will appreciate their quick thinking, especially as their home is being continuously destroyed. Nik is also surprisingly honorable - a point that my fellow blogger Alyssa points out in he review.
While Kaufman and Kristoff's formatted documents/transcripts/communications between the key players didn't necessarily have the same sense of urgency that we had in Illuminae - there was something about the distance between Hypatia and Alexander that really emphasized the desperation of the communication between the two ships, if that makes any sense - Gemina's communiques were compelling and thrilling in a whole different way.
There was definitely an underlying tension in these communiques as Hannah, Nik and Nik's brilliant hacker cousin Ella tried to keep quiet and outsmart the assault team, and the situation obviously turned into a complex game of cat and mouse. Readers will feel the tension of every move, and wonder if this is the move that will result the trio caught - but you'll have to read the book to find out what happens.
It's a tension-filled ride, which will keep readers riveted every page. But even more, Kristoff and Kaufman have set up a third book, which is sure to blow our minds even more.
Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman have upped the stakes, of not only their terrifying, fascinating and wondrous science fiction universe, they have also continued to change the stakes of writing for both the genre and for young adult fiction as a whole.
Readers will struggle to adapt in a terrifying new normal alongside Hanna and Nik, as our two main characters attempt to figure out just what their life has become, in a terrifying few hours. It's thrilling and challenging, and with a text format that continues to stun, Kaufman and Kristoff have continued to pull readers along in a journey that is unforgettable.
Highly, highly recommend, full stop.
About the authors:
New York Times bestselling co-authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff met thanks to international taxation law, and soon struck up a writing partnership based on a shared love of blowing things up and breaking hearts. Their first collaboration resulted in the international bestseller Illuminae. Separately, Amie is also the co-author of the bestselling Starbound trilogy, while Jay is the author of the award-winning Lotus War trilogy and the Nevernight Chronicle. They live with their respective spouses in Melbourne, Australia, and are fuelled almost exclusively by caffeine and readers’ tears. You can learn more about Amie and Jay at amiekaufman.com and jaykristoff.com.