AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Gemina

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 sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues 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.

Once again 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.

Title: Gemina
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Narrators: Carla Corvo, Steve West, Full Cast
Published: October 2016
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: ★★★★

The Book
So after I loved the Illuminae audiobook, I immediately jumped right in to Gemina.

My biggest worry was a new cast of characters. I really loved Ezra, and Kady came to grow on me, so I was pretty skeptical going in. And while I really liked Nik’s story, Hanna sort of falls flat in a way for me. Not that she’s a bad character by any means. She has her moments, both hilarious and bad-ass, but just compared to the other characters, it seemed like she lacked a certain *something*. Though I do have high hopes for her in book 3.

Nik was sort of predicatble. A bad boy who’s actually good at heart? Usually I’m not a sucker for those types of characters, but when we develed into his backstory… it was just so sad man! Poor Nik, he needs a hug, a blanket, and some hot chocolate. Let this boy have some rest please!

As for the story, well. It’s almost another version of Illuminae in a way. A station is taken over, there are monsters instead of a virus. Though personally, I think I prefer Gemina’s framing device more. It feels more focused, and more emotional. It’s like I wish Illuminae and Gemina had been split in half. Give me the ending of Illuminae, set up with the framing devices of Gemina, and you’ve got one hell of a book.

Not to say neither one is bad in any way, it’s clear that I greatly enjoyed both of these books. But I think right now these two books are set-up. Gemina is a companion, and it’s becoming clear that, with the inclusion of Kady and Ezra; Kaufman and Kristoff have BIG plans for the final book in this trilogy.

Much like Illuminae, I really feel like Gemina really hits it’s stride around the half way mark. Things really click together, and with the inclusion of a few twists involving parallel dimensions, it really threw me for a loop! Even more than Illuminae did! And what can I say, I’m a total sucker for parallel dimensions. I find the whole concept so intriguing, and really loved it here.

There is also one twist I did *sort of* see coming involving one of the secondary characters, but I can give it a pass because Kaufman and Kristoff really did make this character seem realistic. You felt bad for him, for what he was having to do. And even until the end part of me was rooting for him.

It sounds pretty vague, I know. But this book just came out, so I’m hoping to keep spoilers to a minimum. Overall, the story is a lot stronger, and the characters more emotional, but I felt like Gemina lacked the punch that the ending of Illuminae had.

The Audiobook
So Gemina has a lot more what I’m going to call ‘extra material’. A lot more dossier type stuff, journal entries, illustrations (from Marie Lu!). Listening to just the audiobook, you won’t lose anything story wise, but it’s definitely worth it to flip through a physical edition of this book if you enjoy it enough.

Marie Lu’s illustrations are really cool, and add that little extra bit of character to Hanna. The dossier and messages all still translate really well, and in Gemina, we get more of the sound effects that really help the immersion of the story, only proving the point further that these books would make amazing movies or television series.

There are a handful more space-battles, more atmospheric effects. The work put into these audiobooks is pretty astounding, and if you can, it’s really worth listening to them. Once again the voice acting is top-notch as well. Especially Hanna’s.

Kaufman, Kristoff, and their audiobook crew have impressed me again, and now I get to wait impatiently for book 3, which I hope proves to be just as epic as it’s been promised. There’s something big here guys, it has to be huge, and I can’t wait!

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