GEMINA is the second book in an ongoing series entitled The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Like its predecessor, ILLUMINAE, GEMINA is a spin on the traditional style of epistolary novels. Readers learn the story through text conversation, video transcripts, journal entries and computer logs. Set in the distant future, GEMINA is unlike other dystopian future novels I have read. It had the same effect on me that ILLUMINAE did, really pulling me in for more and more of the story.
"I recommend GEMINA to anyone who is prepared to give up all social life for a book. I didn’t want to put this book down, once I started, I read it everywhere I went. "
Our story begins August 1, 2575, eight months after BeiTech attacked Kerenza IV in the Kerenza system. Hanna Donnelly, daughter of the captain of jump station Heimdall, is trying to get dust from Nik Malikov, member of the House of Knives (HoK). They have long conversations about when and where they will exchange everything when they decide upon the Terra Day celebration. Nik gets caught up in some other business, but manages to sneak away to give Hanna her dust and a palmpad so they can communicate without being tracked. Soon after the exchange, everything goes wrong.
When the business Nik and the House of Knives were doing turns out to be nothing like they expected, the lives of everyone on the Heimdall and from Kerenza IV are put in danger. It’s up to Nik and Hanna to enlist other crew members, and save the universe they know. Hanna and Nik learn betrayal and heartbreak while working to stay alive against all odds.
Like ILLUMINAE, GEMINA is a book unlike others in its genre. Compared to The Maze Runner and Hunger Games series The Illuminae Files involves a lot more humor and an intriguing writing style. The aforementioned series are written in your typical novel style: words, words, words --- GEMINA isn’t like that. There are detailed drawings on almost every page, and nothing is forgotten, from different backgrounds to detailed web pages. Some pages are only drawings, which is pretty neat. It’s also a reason why I wouldn’t recommend reading it electronically. I suggest getting the book in print because the images don’t seem as though they’d translate well electronically. The book involves pages printed upside down, backwards and sideways causing you to twist and turn the book to read it; I thought that was really innovative. We don’t have just one point of view either --- radio transmissions, IMs, video transcripts and more offer a collection of different perspectives. I really enjoyed the presentation, we get little notes with backstory about what is happening and when in relation to everything. There are also censor boxes in the book, blocking out swears in messages and transcripts. The book is really for someone who enjoys the digital age, with lots of text talk and IM names, this book has it all.
Overall I recommend GEMINA to anyone who is prepared to give up all social life for a book. I didn’t want to put this book down, once I started, I read it everywhere I went. There are some parts of the book that are emotionally wrenching as well, so keep a box of tissues nearby. Even though the book is 659 pages long, it doesn’t feel like it and I finished reading it in about two weeks time.
Reviewed by Emma B., Teen Board Member on November 9, 2016