Please note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher as part of the "First In Line" program from Penguin Random House. This does not influence the opinions in my review in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):
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.
Illuminae was one of my favorite books in the past year, so I was delighted to be able to snag an advanced copy of Gemina before it's publish date. I received it because I am part of the First In Line program from Penguin Random House (It does pay to arrive early to book events!).
The story is wonderful because it is not actually a sequel, per se. This has a separate story line, setting, and characters from Illuminae. But taken as a whole, creates a richer universefor all thes characters to inhabit.
What I liked:
Characters:Hanna is the daughter of the space station's commander, Charles Donnelly. He is a strict, but loving dad. Ever busy, this leave Hanna plenty of time to go looking for trouble. I liked that she was NOT an angel. This may seem like the tired cliche of the rebellious daughter, but I could understand the stress she was under to live up to her father's (and the rest of the crew's) high standards. She is also an artist and there will be many of her sketches in the finished book! I think this will be a really fun feature.
Nik Malikov is a teen with a dark past. He lives on the space station, but in the almost unseen underbelly of it's workings. He is a gang member who smuggles goods and deals drugs to people on the station. I enjoyed that his character showed this aspect of their culture. Throughout our world history, wherever there is a large military presence, there often can also be a shadowy group hanging around, hoping to exploit the situation.
Ella Pauchk is Nik's cousin, she has a limited part in the criminal dealings of the station, but plays a vital role in the book. I don't want to give anything away, but Ella's character is fun, sweet, and full of life. At times I was angry and tearful at her situation, and was put through the emotional ringer watching what she goes through.
Once again, there are twists and turns that kept me up late at night trying to read it as fast as I could. Towards the end, the plot does intersect with what happens in Illuminae, and that's when it gets insanely great!
What I Was Mixed About:Illustrations:
I had and ARC of this book, so many of the illustrations were not completed or included in this copy. While I understand that, I think this is one of the main features of this series that really makes it unique. From the hints given (and the fact that I heard Marie Lu will provide some of the illustrations), I think this will be a wonderful facet of this book. But I was mostly unable to judge this as many pages had the dreaded "FPO - Sketch only Final Art TK". This was a frustration for me as a reviewer.
Overall, I can't wait to get me a finished copy of this wonderful book! It is fast-paced, scary, and full of complicated plot lines that will make your head spin.
Release Date: October 18th, 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Penguin Random House First In Line program.
Recommendation: A worthy sequel to Illuminae. Full of fun, flawed characters. Start it on a Friday, so you can have time to devour it!