Gemina by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
MY OFFICIAL GEMINA PLAYLIST:
"Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm."
-Depeche Mode, "Enjoy The Silence"
"Look at me with daggers
It won't do you any good
All the looks that you've used on me
Don't work now that you've fallen
-Fleetwood Mac, "Freedom"
"I'm not giving in to security under pressure
I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
Experience to extremes
Experience to extremes..."
-Rush, "The Enemy Within"
"Confidence is you is confidence in me
Is confidence in high speed.
"Jump down the shelters to get away
The boys are cocking up their guns
Tell us, general, is it party time?
If it is, can we all come?
-Men At Work, "It's A Mistake"
"I am sorry to report fair Paris is burning after all."
"War, war just moved up a gear
I don't think I can handle the truth
I'm just a pawn, and we're all extendable
Incidentally electronically erased by your
"Just like an animal, I protect my pride
When I'm too bruised to fight
And even when I'm wrong, I tend to think I'm right.
Well, I'm bored of the game
And too tired to rage...
-Foster The People, "Coming Of Age"
"She's always out making pictures
She's always out making scenes
She's always out the window
When it comes to making dreams..."
-The Cars, "All Mixed Up"
"I'm ready to go
(Get me out of my mind, get me out of my mind!)"
-Panic! At The Disco
Bonus Track: Daft Punk, "Contact"
I was a tad bit disappointed when I first heard that the sequel to Illuminae would focus on a new set of characters, not Kady and Ezra, but then I discovered Kaufman's These Broken Stars series and found that following different POV characters in each book was actually to that trilogy's benefit. So I was able to look forward more to Gemina first as a result. And when I discovered a signed copy on the store shelf at Target, I couldn't resist splurging on both books in glorious Technicolor hardcover.
Kaufman and Kristoff, as expected, deliver magnificently in Illuminae's long-awaited follow-up - with an assist from Marie Lu, of course, doing the lovely and adorable journal illustrations for Hanna, one of this book's two new co-protagonists. Being the daughter of the commander of the Deep Space Nine-esque station that serves as this book's setting, she feels like classic Kaufman, even more so than Kady or Ezra (both of whom were quite different from any protagonist Kaufman or Kristoff have created before or since). Male lead Nik, meanwhile, feels a little more Kristoff-esque in his bad-boy-ness, which normally I wouldn't enjoy (just look at Jace, or Adrian from Vampire Academy and Bloodlines - it took me forever to warm up to these guys), but because he's part of The Illuminae Files, I had no problem making an exception. It helps that he's got such a cool cousin in Ella, and his name being Malikov, it's my headcanon that he's descended from the sweetly spunky Kenzi Malikov of Lost Girl.
Even with limited involvement from Kady and Ezra, though, the story continues the whole corporate interstellar war thing, with BeiTech leading an invasion force against Jump Station Heimdall. Too bad they didn't count on Hanna and Nik and Ella helping lead a staunch resistance. Or some nasty alien monsters with psychoactive venom - did they learn NOTHING from what happened with the Phobos virus? Or the...well, I won't spoil the book's biggest surprises, but let's just say that if you thought Illuminae was mind-bending, Gemina blows it out of the water.
It remains to be seen how wild and crazy and epic in size and scope Kaufman and Kristoff can get for the trilogy's grand finale. My hopes, however, remain very high after reading this book, now a very, very strong contender for this year's Pinecone Awards.
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