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

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.
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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. 

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Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

BRIEFING NOTE: This is an addictive, fast-paced adventure that I didn’t expect to ███████ lurrrrrrve as much as I did.

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Greetings chum. I don’t even know how to adequately review such an amazingly unique reading experience. Illuminae is not your traditional book. It breaks conventional storytelling and is told in multi-media format: the book is the compilation of emails, instant message conversations, redacted memos, and more as if you are reading a confidential dossier.

“It’s not the bullets that kill you. It’s moments like these. One piece at a time.”

The year is 2575 and this morning Kady Grant broke up with her boyfriend, Ezra Miller. Hours later their tiny planet of Kerenza, which is an illegal mining colony, was attacked by a mega-corporation. Bad day, I’d say.

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The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

“Whatever this is, it comes over them quietly: a sudden drowsiness, a closing of the eyes. Most of the victims are found in their beds.”

Friends, I was so incredibly excited for The Dreamers as I am a sucker for infection stories and the premise of this one sounded so interesting. While the writing is beautiful, I found the story had too many characters and suffered from a lack of a clear narrative voice that ultimately made it difficult for me to connect with and care about the characters. There’s a reader for every book, but unfortunately this one was not for me.

The Dreamers is told in third person omniscient with many characters to follow as the sickness makes its way through the small college town. While this narrative voice works in a lot of stories, for me it did a disservice here. I found the plot to being mostly telling instead of showing, and unfortunately the downside of having a myriad of characters to follow in this narrative voice means you don’t really learn much about their thoughts and motivations. Ultimately, I didn’t care for any of them and I feel like the perspectives lacked any sense of urgency, which is something that I would have loved to see as a focal point of the perspectives.

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This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

It’s been a long time since a book has set my soul ablaze, leaving me anxious to devour its pages but wanting to savor every word. I loved this book with every ounce of my being: this is the epitome of why I love the science fiction genre all wrapped up into one. Fantastically written with masterful exposition and worldbuilding; the characters are complex, scarred, and so perfectly human.

This Mortal Coil is set in a future where genetic modifications are commonplace and everyone is implanted with technology that allows them to change the way they look, VR technology embedded in their ocular nerves, healing apps and more. The apps allow people the utter freedom to express themselves however they want, but it also becomes a method of control in a post-apocalyptic world where a deadly disease known as Hydra threatens humanity. And Cat is the one with the key to save everyone… but who can she trust?

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Night Shift by Robin Triggs

We had good cause for fear. This assignment was rapidly becoming a nightmare. Just a few days into the night shift and we already had a death on our hands.

Night Shift is more of a whodunit thriller story with some underdeveloped science fiction worldbuilding elements. The story is a spin on the And Then There Were None motif of a group of strangers are isolated from the outside and are picked off one by one. 13 people are working in Antarctica for what is known as the night shift: a six month period where the sun doesn’t rise and inclement weather isolates them completely from outside help.

This is a plot driven narrative told in the first person perspective of Anders and written well to keep the suspense throughout for the reader, and Triggs does a good job of expressing the characters’ paranoia through the text. I liked that the beginning started at the end with the tease of the terror about to unfold with the confidential memo.

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