Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Books on Tape: Because I like dirty song lyrics

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


The Skinny: 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.

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. -From Goodreads

BFF?: I super loved Hanna Donnelly. She did take a little time getting used to, I will admit that, but she was like your fun friend who is more than just fun. Does that make sense? Like if you need a wild and crazy girls’ night out, she is your go-to person. But if you need a quiet night in talking about hopes and dreams and boys, she is also your go-to person. I think what I loved most about her was that while she didn’t hide who she was, there were so many different layers to her. We get to see her from an “outsiders'” perspective through Nik Malikov and his cousin Ella Malikov, which is that she’s prissy and spoiled and snobby. And yeah, maybe she is a little bit, but I think she’s also got a TON of heart and is really quite smart. Maybe not really book smart, but calculating smart. Although, girl can quote some military leaders like no one’s business. Clearly this girl and I were made to be friends.

Listenability: GUYS. EFFING LISTEN TO THIS AUDIOBOOK! I haven’t done an audiobook in a while, but if every audiobook was as well done as this one was I would only listen to audiobooks. Full cast, sound effects, dramatic pauses… I could not have asked for a better way to read Gemina.

Crush Level: 6.5
Right off the bat I hated Jackson, Hanna’s boyfriend. Probably because of the voice actor who portrayed him. He sounded like an extra British Prince Charming from Shrek. <shudders> So he gets a zero, and then a few negative points for later scenes in the book. Which brings us to Nik Malikov… For some reason he reminded me of my little brother, which I’m now realizing makes his 6.5 crush level rating slightly disgusting. I digress… Nik was a drug dealer, part of a mob family, and cussed and smoked way too much. Part of me was a little terrified of him, but most of me thought he was super cool. However, he was kind of corny at times, like overly flirtatious and making what I’m sure he thought were smooth comments. I can absolutely see that being fun for a younger girl though. Heck, I used to fall for that kind of stuff. But my bitter jaded self really wanted to roll my eyes at Hanna and say “Are you kidding me with this guy?” All that being said, when Nik dropped the bravado and corniness, he was actually really sweet and charming, a guy I could understand falling for.

Bonus Points
Lexie Blue’s Hit Song

At some point prior to the book’s beginning, Lexie Blue’s new song “Lick Ya (Lollipop)” was uploaded to the Heimdall’s elevator system. Or something like that. Basically, it was on permanent repeat in the elevators. Maybe other places, but I know for sure the elevators. ANYWAY… in the audio version we actually get to hear the song. It’s totally catchy and if it were on the radio it would totes be my jam.

Alien Drug Monsters
Okay, so the scenes where these creatures appeared were mostly gruesome for me and, if I’m honest, I cringed several times during these scenes. But man oh man… they added the PERFECT amount of terror to this story! (Briefing Note: this is NOT what they looked like, they were much more disturbing)

Space Mob
I know, I know… the mob is NOT a good thing. I get it. That aside, I love a book with a mob in it. Unfortunately I don’t know how to spell the name of the mob that is in Gemina, but it seems very intense and scary… and it’s Russian! If what I know about Russian mobs/organizations from all those Cold War era movies I enjoy is true, wowzer watch out! Also, the story Nik tells about his grandmother… badass.

Commencement Speech: As I said earlier… LISTEN TO THIS AUDIO! Man, I am STILL excited about it and it’s been well over a week since I finished it. It was just superb. Spectacular. I loved it. Anyway… the story. Like Illuminae I spent a good bit of the beginning being absolutely confused. I wasn’t even sure who the main character was (which is my fault because I didn’t read the description). It had also been a while since I read Illuminae and I couldn’t quite remember what happened at the end of it. Anywho! I quickly caught on and was thrown into the story head first. One thing I absolutely loved about this book was that it kept you on your toes but I never felt completely overwhelmed. There were some parts that were completely action-packed and intense, but then it was followed by a scene that let you catch your breath.

There were a few scenes that were hard for me to take. I don’t think I would’ve found them as hard had I read the book, but hearing someone act them out made it slightly harder. I won’t go into them, but let’s just say there was a good bit of violence and vivid images. There was also a LOT of cussing. It was bleeped out, which I assume is because it was bleeped out in the book (as it was in Illuminae), but it was still there. I unfortunately found myself cussing a lot more than normal while I was listening. I should start a swear jar.

Before I end the review, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Ella Malikov. She is not my normal favorite type of character (brass, outspoken, snarky) but I loved her to bits anyway. Although her body was handicapped her mind was MENSA level smart. And her computer skills were phenomenal, especially for someone as young as she was. I absolutely loved her interactions with Nik. It was the perfect sibling relationship, filled with ribbing and snark and heart and love. It was also nice to see someone who didn’t (and couldn’t) run around with a gun, fighting the bad guys, help to save the day.

Overall, Gemina (and the audiobook… I cannot stress this enough: LISTEN TO IT!) was wonderful, a great companion and second book in the Illuminae Files series. If you haven’t started this series yet or haven’t gotten to Gemina, make it your resolution to start them!

Yearbook Quote: “You might get only one shot. So shoot”

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