Gemina by Amie Kaufman

Cinematic, gorgeous, FUN.

A cracking plot full of twists and turns, and a healthy dose of corporate skepticism and science nerdiness, and perhaps the best execution of the “did he/she really die?” trope. In terms of the plot, I did notice a few striking parallels to the first book in the series. For most of the book, it felt like it was going to be simply a grander, better version of Illuminae, but it really shone in the end, with the alternate reality sequences. Everything from the concept, to it’s beautiful formatting on paper, and just the simple text, really saved this book.

gemina book cover

The book was also surprisingly easy to read, provided that it was full of reports and text logs and surveillance summaries. Most of the characters were a riot, and the writing style (despite the constant death and destruction) alternated between being wisecracky and grandiose. In terms of the sheer science-fiction, it wasn’t as detailed as say Andy Weir’s The Martian, but the authors definitely knew what they were talking about.

The characterisation in this book was somewhat interesting. Our two protagonists Hanna and Niklas, closely resembled Ezra and Kady from the previous book. Kady’s resemblance to Hanna is even explicitly alluded to in the book. The character development in this book was quite straightforward, involving Hanna a stereotypical “station commander’s daughter” and Niklas, a reluctant member of a Russian drug cartel, rising up the occasion and heroically saving the station. We also witnessed a host of side characters, including the Beitech invasion team, and other works onboard the Heimdall station. I felt this was the only place the book was lacking – in moral complexity or emotional frailty. Although the book did have its moments with jasmine corsages and Hanna’s sketches, for the most part it remained focused on the plot – which in the end turned out to be the right choice.

Definitely excited for the next instalment.