Review

Gemina, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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It’s been a long time since I last updated this blog.  Despite working most of the summer, I have read a few books since my last review.  I hope to write reviews for them and post them on this blog soon.  For now, here is a review for the book I read most recently.

In the gap between my summer job and university, I decided to read a novel that had been sitting unread on my shelf for too long.  Gemina is a young adult science fiction novel and a sequel to Illuminae, a book I read and very much enjoyed last November.  You can read my review of Illuminae here.

Gemina is set not long after the events of Illuminae on the Jump Station Heimdall.  After the events in the first novel, intergalactic corporation BeiTech send a ‘clean up’ crew to the Heimdall in anticipation for the Hypatia returning from Kerenza.  Hanna, the rich captain’s daughter, and Nik, a young member of a crime family, find themselves trying to save everyone on the station from a military team, as well as a family of escaped alien predators.

Like the first novel in the series, Gemina is presented as a series of reports, online messages, video footage transcripts and the inner monologue of an artificial intelligence, compiled as a case file for the trial against BeiTech.  As I mentioned in my review of Illuminae, it is a unique style that can take a bit of time to get used to but once that has happened, it is very easy to race through the book.  With a gripping and action-packed plot and without chapters and obvious breaks, like in a regular prose novel, this book was incredibly difficult to put down!  Despite being nearly 650 pages long, I managed to finish it in a few sittings.

I very much enjoyed the science explanations in the book.  Although obviously fictitious, the ‘scientific’ explanations throughout the story are evidently well thought out and well presented.  Some are detailed through simple text threads between characters, others through a series of diagrams, fake Wikipedia pages and extracts of science reports from the Hypatia science vessel.  As a fan of science, especially astrophysics, I really enjoy this kind of information and attention to detail given in a novel.

I was quite fond of the characters in this book, especially Hanna Donnelly, the rich and slightly spoiled daughter of the Station Commander.  Thanks to her father’s obsession with military training and war tactics, she is well equipped to deal with the events of the book as she tries to save the lives of everyone on the station, as well as those incoming on board the Hypatia.  She even references legendary war figures and famous battles in history, that is often amusing as the book is set in the year 2575 – events that were a mere 250 years ago to us, are 800 years for them.

After a busy summer of reading quite infrequently, it was pure bliss to be able to sit down and digest a novel in a short amount of time.  I am glad that it was this novel on this occasion.  I am very excited for the third novel in the Illuminae Files series and am eagerly awaiting its release in Spring next year.  These books are like nothing I have read before.

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