Book Review: GEMINA (THE ILLUMINAE FILES #2) By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

It’s a big day, people! Today, Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) hits bookshelves!

If you’ve never read the first book in the Illuminae series…

  1. Stop reading this review. Seriously. We forgive you.
  2. Go buy the book. The eBook is available on Amazon for $1.99, but the physically version might work better with this book’s format.
  3. Read it IMMEDIATELY. You will not be sorry! We’ll wait.

Assuming you’re up-to-date, it’s safe to say that Gemina kicks off right where Illuminae ends, but in a new place. This time around, we’re at the Heimdall Jumpstation where a wormhole will lead to safety, if only the Hypatia can make to there. Unfortunately, BeiTech has its own operative at Heimdall who gives the vicious company a heads up. When BeiTech sends a specialized team to take over Heimdall and destroy the Hypatia, all hell breaks loose.

But BeiTech wasn’t expecting Hanna Donnelly and Nik Malikov.

Yes, we’ve got two new main characters this time around, but don’t fret! You’ll cheer for Hanna and Nik just as much as you did Kady and Ezra. Hanna is the daughter of the Heimdall commander and a relative newcomer to the station, but she’s still got good friends, a dreamy British boyfriend, and a quiet trouble streak. Nik is an illegal resident of Heimdall, a member of a mob contingent called House of Knives who manages to crack jokes despite having seen a lot in his short life. Oh, and he’s also Hanna’s drug dealer. They’re the only two people on Heimdall who aren’t immediately wrangled into captivity and BeiTech is quickly on their heels. But Hanna and Nik have more wit and street smarts than they’re initially given credit for. The two begin working together with the help of Nik’s hilarious and skilled cousin, Ella, who may be our favorite character this time around. A plot to save Heimdall, rescue Hypatia, and let the universe know all about BeiTech’s crimes unravels in wild fashion!

If you think you’ll miss Kady, Ezra, and their Hypatia companions too much, you won’t. They may not be the main source of action this time around but we promise you, they’re in there! But even without them, all the things you loved about Illuminae are still there– The sarcastic wit, the surprising badassery, and the sharp tension are all present in droves.

Illuminae grabbed your attention with the twists. Gemina nearly gives you a heart attack with shiny new twists, because every new location and set of characters comes with its own insane problems, especially in space. Using the same dossier method seen in the first book,– which featured chat text, video analysis, diary entries, audio transcripts, and more– Kaufman and Kristoff give you so many unique elements and so much action that it’s nearly impossible to put this book down (other than to rest your arms for a minute, because it’s 608 pages.) The excitement is accompanied by gorgeous art from Legend and The Young Elites author Marie Lu, graphics, and visual representations of the action. If you’re a book fan, you’ll also find delightful easter eggs on lots of pages. And though we entered the contest, we weren’t listed among the deaths this time. We’re still holding out hope for Book Three!

It takes a lot for us to give the first book in any series five stars, but we did it for Illuminae. We have never given five stars to both the first and second book in a series… UNTIL TODAY, PEOPLE! If that doesn’t tell you that you need to read this series, nothing will!


Gemina is available today! Order it on Amazon.


By Kait

Kait is a New Englander, a YA book and adaptation lover, and a Slythindor, as well as a red velvet and red wine enthusiast. She likes to like things. Catch her on Twitter: @kaitmary