Review: Illuminae & Gemina (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illuminae & Gemina (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff are two amazing books and I am excited to post my 5-star reviews for both today!
Category: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Publication: October 20th, 2015; Knopf Books for Young Readers
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Oh. My. God.
I am at a loss for words.
This was my fourth (and final) attempt to read and finish this book. I originally received a hardcover ARC at BookCon in May 2015. I knew there was tons of hype surrounding it, but it honestly didn’t seem like my kind of book. So, I tried several times to read it, and couldn’t ever really get into it.
I have no idea what made it different this time, but I finally got sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.
It’s not your typical read and I definitely recommend you read a physical copy due to the format. It’s told through documents, and the ebook version severely takes away from the experience. It also cuts off important pieces from pages. The breaking up of pieces really takes away from the effect.
Anyway, we start out with the decimation of Kerenza – an icy ‘planet’ way on the outskirts of the galaxy. We read interviews from two teenage survivors, who coincidentally, are exes. They broke up the day of the end of their world. Kady and Ezra are essentially our main characters. So this book does have some romance in it as well. The attack on their planet was from a rival company. It appeared they were doing illegal mining, and BeiTech (the bad guys) wanted to destroy the source and not care about lives lost in the process. Thanks to a heard distress call, some survivors are picked up by two ships. Unfortunately, Kady and Ezra are separated – even though they weren’t getting along, they had escaped the madness together. Kady is aboard the Hypatia. Ezra, the Alexander. He begins trying to get in touch, make amends. Explain he still cares. She wants no part of it. Until…
Something isn’t right. One ship from the BeiTech fleet still chases the UTA fleet (which includes the ships our MCs are aboard). That alone is worrisome. But there is something else the people in charge aren’t saying. And it’s a mindf***.
I don’t want to go in-depth about the story, because it’s one of those you need to go in blind for. But, holy hell! There are twists and turns I didn’t see coming. Just when I figured I knew where things were going, I’d get tripped up and stunned by the truth. So many scenes are anger-provoking. Others are simply heartbreaking. I found myself wanting to quit halfway through, then again around 70% through. I didn’t want *THAT* ending, you know? I mean, after all this, some happiness would be nice.
Just read it. The documents become compelling. You will have countless moments of “wtf???” and “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” You will want to quit. But push through. I swear it’s worth it.
Illuminae is easily one of the most original books I’ve read. I’d give it 20 stars if I could. I can’t wait for book two. This time, I won’t wait.
Category: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Publication: October 18th, 2016; Knopf Books for Young Readers
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 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.
I really don’t have any words to convey how much I love this story. And I say “story” because this is still a continuance of book one, Illuminae. Yes, it features new characters, but I loved it almost as much!
By now, the Heimdall Station is aware of went down with Kerenza, the Alexander, the Hypatia, etc. What they don’t know is that BeiTech is on their way to destroy them, too. This new cast of characters is just as bad ass as those in Illuminae… and the story is just as intense!
Hanna is the ultimate female bad ass. I mean, physically she impressed me. Mentally, too, for sure. Her father had taught her well. I loved her points of view. The strategizing. The wit. Everything. She and Kady would make a hell of a team.
And Nik! I loved his personality. Not to sell him short, because he’s a quick thinker and a bad ass in his own right. But he also exudes a charm similar to that of Ezra Mason. I couldn’t help but root for him to live and get the girl.
The story itself is complex once again. There are so many twists and turns that your head will spin. And there is a certain page that will actually have you questioning WTF is going on. Once it’s explained, you will see the brilliance of these authors. The pages kept turning. I couldn’t read fast enough, but I also didn’t want it to end. The format is almost the same as Illuminae was, with a few minor changes and tweaks that reflect these new characters. I was so excited to see appearances of past favorites, too. I know the summary mentions alien beings, and that could have been so much more awesome and scarier. Honestly, that was the one fault I had with Gemina. I would have liked the aliens to be a bigger presence throughout. I felt they really weren’t a huge factor at all. So, that was a very minor letdown.
I really loved Gemina. This book is fast-paced, compelling, and filled with even more bad guys who you will want dead from the beginning. I think that factor alone makes up for the lack of alien drama. The BeiTech guys are vicious, unfeeling, and hell bent on meeting their goals. This makes them scary and fantastic antagonists. Every character in this book has skills, cunning, and a will to win. It’s now just a matter of who will win. Prepare yourself for shocks, anger, sadness…all the emotions. Gemina will grip and consume you until the very last page. And then, you will wish for 2017 and the next book, because, Oh. Em. Gee. It’s not over yet!