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Gemina (The Illuminae Files) Kindle Edition
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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Jump Station Heimdall is an insanely boring place for a teenager, at least according to the station commander’s daughter, Hanna. Spoiled, self-entitled, and a demon in the martial arts, Hanna spends her time sexting her boyfriend, buying overpriced jumpsuits and taunting her drug dealer, Nik. Raised by a long family line of criminals, Nik is easy-going, cocky and quite resourceful when it comes to breaking the law. And he definitely has a thing for Hanna.
As in Illuminae, when the cow dung hits the fan, the teenagers are the only ones who can save the ship, or jump station, or universe. Your choice, its all there. At the Terra Day celebration, a highly trained elite force sent by BeiTech, the corporation that attacked the mining colony, invades the Heimdall. Led by a dead-eyed psychopath who finds bliss when everything goes his way, the assassin squad lies in wait for the ship bearing the last refugees from the mining colony. Hanna and Nik, polar opposites, join forces to defend the Heimdall, save their family and friends and prevent BeiTech from destroying the only living witnesses from the colony.
My first impression of Hanna was: “I miss Kady.” Hanna is so bratty and self-centered that she is unlikeable and easily dismissed as a tease. Au contraire, mon ami, there is more to this little girl than meets the eye. Raised by a military father, this little girl has studied warfare, battlefield logistics and can quote Sun Tzu, Napoleon and the Bhagavad Gita. She’s sassy, kickass, and clever, and she grew on me.
Nik, on the other hand, I loved from the beginning. With his life story inked on his body and his heart on his sleeve, Nik is absolutely charming in a bad boy sort of way.
The book is powered by a wicked sense of humor and creative genius. Malware has infected the station’s computer system so that a single raunchy pop song is constantly playing: in the elevator, during a gunfight, while being attacked by mutant eels. Did I mention the mutant eels with their psychotropic body fluids? Evil little monsters. I caught a bunch of pop culture references: a computer actually uses a line from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I’m pretty sure Nik is channeling the Joker from the movie Batman Beyond at one point. I saw the names of at least two young adult novelists on the Heimdall’s casualty list. And the texts between the teens, even in moments of crisis or sadness, are hysterical.
There are more twists in this book than in your intestines. So many times my family heard me loudly proclaim how much I hated this book only to follow with “shhh, can’t talk, I’m at the good part.” It’s engrossing and compelling and entertaining and so so so so good. Now, in case you do miss Kady and Ezra and AIDAN, yes, AIDAN, do not worry, they join the story.
What makes the only important difference between Illuminae and Gemina is the reader’s perspective. We know there will be painful twists that gouge our hearts, we know it will make us laugh out loud, make us cry, make us curse the authors and their unborn children (trust me, I did), we went through it all with Illuminae. As seasoned readers of the Illuminae Files, we know to look for the clues, the crumbs, left by the authors because we know they are there and it is so fun when you find them. And, in the end, on the very last page, when a character asks, “You wanna know how it ends?” my answer was a resounding “Yes. Yes, I do.”
The last page always has the best line. Bliss.
The conspiracy continues in this story. Gemina tells the story of Hanna and Nik on the Jump Station Heimdall. Through detailed script footage, recorded chats, journal entries and AiDen we get a clear story told in an entertaining format. Our main charcters are in the place the Hypathia (from book 1) is headed. Hanna and Nik have an endearing courtship while their home gets invaded by some really bad guys (and girls). Aided by technology I wish was reality, these two become the only thing stopping the bad guys from X-ing out the whole community living on the ship. This story is full of action, suspense, and romance and it happens in space!
I feel like this story flowed even better than Illuminae for some reason. The formatting was something I really enjoyed in this story. Most of this story is told through chats and security footage descriptions. It’s not really a story, this book is a collection of files, but it worked. It was easy to follow Hanna and Nik as they traveled all over their ship trying to take it back. There was a little horrorish feature thrown in this story in the form of mind eating parasites and it made things really tense when the characters had to face off with them. I am not really a fan of parasites, and these creatures sounded so dreadful. They were scary.
I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story. There was such fun banter between Hanna and Nik, and Nik’s cousin Ella. I rooted so hard for Ella. Hanna and Nik both go through a lot of character growth. They share so much with each other that I couldn’t help feeling like I really got to know them both so well.
The only thing I have negative to say about this book is that it felt really similar to Illuminae. That’s good and bad. The formatting and the way the story is told is almost exactly the same. That’s good, but… The badass female with tricks up her sleeve, same. The swoon worthy bad boy, same. The snarky banter between characters, same. The horror aspect, similar. It was just so close to Illuminae, but then the ending sort of tied it all together making it a sequel and not just the same ‘ol story.
There was so much science in this fiction it kinda blew my mind, especially toward the ending. This was a brilliant sequel. That ending left me wanting more immediately! This is a fun YA science fiction you really need to read to appreciate.