Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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BRIEFING NOTE: After absolutely falling head over heels in love with Illuminae , I didn’t think it could get any better. Hahaha joke is on you, this one is ███████ fantastic and I loved it even more than the first book.

Chums, I was sucked into Gemina immediately. It builds on the action from Illuminae and starts with a court proceeding of sorts for BeiTech. The evidence provided are the documents provided by the Illuminae Group, and the briefing notes we read in Gemina are part of the official record. I thought this was such an innovative way to frame the story, and I love books that start at the end and watching how things got to that point. 

As the Hypatia is making its way to Heimdall, the crew of Heimdall Station have their own problem: namely a BeiTech strike team set on eliminating the Jump Station so word cannot get out about the attack on Kerenza. In retrospect, I should have seen the intense heartbreak I felt coming because of how the book opens, but no one can prepare you for the ███████ emotional rollercoaster that is reading this book, chum. Guard your hearts now.

“When you fight a monster, be careful you don’t become the monster.”

I didn’t think I could love characters more than I love Kady and Ezra, but Nik and Hanna surpass my love tenfold. Their banter and sarcasm is similar in tone to the levity of Illuminae, serving as a great way to divert the tension you feel when reading the book, but it doesn’t feel recycled at all. The characters all feel real and I honestly feel so deeply for them.

“It’s not about what I say, right? It’s what I do that matters here.”

I love stories about sacrifice and ordinary people doing extraordinary things when situation calls for it, and Geminadelivers an excellent narrative with people doing heroic things. I absolutely adore Hanna, Nik, and Ella with their Operation Thermopylae and their dedication to doing everything they can to stop the BeiTech crew… even give up their lives. I really enjoyed the tie in to war tactics and strategy, and Hanna’s propensity to quote Sun Tzu. They never really lose hope and the fast friendships and devotion to one another feel so organic to me – just like how veterans who serve together are bonded by that experience.

Analyst 7213 is still my favorite character and I absolutely live for his reporting on the video feeds. We get another Analyst added, 7213D, which… yes. Just all the yes.

BRIEFING NOTE: As with IlluminaeI read along with the full-cast audiobook and it was perfection. I love the audiobook so much, but I definitely recommend reading this one with a physical copy because some of the mixed media included are pages from Hannah’s journal – which are drawings by Marie Lu! You don’t want to miss them, just like you don’t want to miss the Lollipop Song, chum.

In case you can’t tell, I absolutely loved this book and it took almost a month for me to write this review. This book is another fast-paced adventure that answers questions about BeiTech and Illuminae, as well as raises the stakes. It is obvious the series was plotted intricately well and this book fits into the trilogy so well, and I cannot wait to read Obsidio. I don’t know if my heart is ready, or if I will ever trust again, but I cannot wait to see how this series ends!

REPRESENTATION: world is racially diverse
betrayal, loss of a loved one, violence


You can find information about my rating criteria here.

🤝 This Mortal Squad buddy read with Becca and Taylor! This was another fantastic buddy read selection for the group worthy of our squad’s formation!

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.

BRIEFING NOTE: I’d highly recommend reading along with the audiobook, which is full cast with sound effects and literally sounds like a movie; it’s incredible. If you do not have Audible they do have a free trial for new customers (one free book).

For giggles, here is my “review” upon finishing this book at the end of December, it took me literally a month to come up with the words to write this review.

December 29, 2018: I don’t know if I will ever trust again. holy hell, I didn’t think it could get any better after Illuminae but I was blown away yet again. incredible. Full RTC if I ever can form a coherent thought


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

46 thoughts on “Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

  1. I love Gemina so much!! It’s honestly my favourite in the trilogy and I’m so glad you enjoyed it too. I really want to listen to them on all audio when I reread them because I know the full cast is amazing ❤ Great review as always xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly love books that start at the end and then jumps back into telling it linearly! When done well it is such a fun experience, I really like watching how things transpire to get to that end, and how my expectations may not match with reality. I hope you get to read it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope, for your sake, Obsidio doesn’t end up giving you the slump it gave me. I CRIED. I even recall shouting at my book at some point? Pretty sure I was also very tempted to throw it against a wall after a certain event. [I didn’t, but.. it came freaking close.] Afterwards, I was unable to read for two weeks which is LONG if you’re used to reading three to four books a week [at least I did that at the time.]


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathy this is exactly why it’s been a month and I haven’t read Obsidio yet! Gemina made me cry and scream and panic, and it took me like a month to even write this review! I love this series so much and as much as I am really looking forward to seeing how it ends, I really don’t WANT it to end!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I am so so so so so happy you loved Gemina this much!!! Saaaaaaaaame. Also, your review has brought back immense heart ache for me so I seem to have forgotten how to use grammar and spelling properly. I blame Kristoff and Kaufman for this (but less Amie because she’s beautiful and Jay likes to kill things).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG this review!!! I need to restart Gemina again! I was reading the book and listening to the audio with Illuminae and I got to meet Amie and Jay and basically tell that heeeeeyyyy my name is Ezrah, too! LOL

    I have the books and audiobooks for 2 & 3 so I can’t wait to read that this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was such a fantastic review, I’m so happy you loved Gemina so much! I also read it and really liked it, even if it scared me at times and all the tension was ahhhhh, haha. I’m so nervous to read the last installment in the series. I hope we’ll both love it 🙂 Happy reading! 😀

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  6. still holding off on continuing this series until I can get print copies, because reading the first book on Kindle was a struggle and a half – I adore the mixed media, but it’s too visual for my ereader to do it justice. but I’m so glad to know that it’s as good as the first book, and I absolutely can’t wait!

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    1. I really think this is a book that would be best in physical format, I can’t imagine reading it on Kindle honestly. I have a spare PB copy of Illuminae… do you want it? I am upgrading to hardcover so it’s going to be donated to my library anyways.

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