1.) Illuminae ★★★★
“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”
You all, I just don’t know what to say. This series just doesn’t do for me what it does for everyone else. I don’t dislike these books at all, they just aren’t even close to being one of my all time favorites either. Please, take this review with a grain of salt, because literally all of my friends five star this series. And even though I really like and appreciate the unique formatting, witty banter, and twists and turns, I really hated to plot twist towards the end of this one. *dodges tomatoes*
Gemina picks back up after the events of Illuminae and after that cliffhanger, jaw dropping, ending. But Gemina is set on Jump Station Heimdall which the ships in Illuminae were trying to get to. Also, this follows a whole brand-new set of characters who are living on this jump station. Yet the distinctive and special formatting is still there and is still how the story is told. I will say that Gemina also spends a little more time using surveillance cameras as a way for the reader to see, way more than of Illuminae did, too.
The main characters we follow on the Heimdall jump station:➽ Hanna – Daughter of the jump station’s commander. Also, a very good fighter, and very fast thinker, and a very talented artist. I loved seeing the story through her artwork, and it was for sure one of the highlights for me. (See picture above!)
➽ Nik – Heir to the House of Knives, drug dealer, and he has served time and has a tattoo to prove it. He is basically that typical “bad boy” which makes a good and angsty juxtaposition for Hanna’s “good girl” demeanor.
➽ Ella – Nik’s very computer savvy cousin, who helps them immensely through the entire book. She’s, hands down, the reason good things happened, and she was easily my favorite character. Also, she does all this while in a wheelchair and with an oxygen mask. Seriously, I love her and she is such a badass.
These three make up a fun YA SFF tale that is seamlessly woven and is quickly consumable and readable. Seriously, this 600+ page book felt like 250+ tops! And this was a fun read for me, that I feel so thankful that I was able to experience, especially with Obsidio coming out in a couple of weeks. But sadly, I did have a few critiques.
“I cannot help but wonder if his desire to see this place ripped to pieces pales in comparison to his desire to see her again.”
The humor got to be too much. Like, I totally understand that everyone copes with intense situations very differently. And I’m completely aware that many people would use humor, but literally every single person in this uses humor and it got to be so over the top and unrealistic. On top of the fact that all of these people are around eighteen. Like, Lord, I couldn’t do it. What started out funny and cute ended up feeling like I was getting beat over the head and impractical.
Okay, let’s talk about the plot twist as vague as possible. I hate this plot twist. And the way that it was done in Gemina felt cheap, and it felt really exploitative of the readers emotions. This was a four star book for me up until a death didn’t happen. For me, it was a bad reading experience and I was angry that I shed tears and was impressed that the authors weren’t scared “to go there.” Again, let me heavily emphasize that all my friends love this book and didn’t feel this way. But my review, my feelings, and it felt bad, man.
And even though I read Illuminae two years ago, I still felt like this book just felt too much like Gemina. The characters are different, but they still somehow feel the same. The catastrophes are different, but they still somehow feel read the same. The plots are different, but they still somehow appear the same.
Overall, I really did have a good time reading this. I thought it was funny, and smart, and action packed. I just don’t love this series the same way as everyone else. But I promise, I’m in the minority. Don’t let me or this mediocre review stop you. I honestly believe these books are worth a chance. And you’ll learn very quickly if they are or aren’t for you. Also, so many of my friends have recommended the audiobooks to me. Sadly, I’m the worst audiobook reader on this planet, but I think that’s also a good tip if you’re looking to start this series!
Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, gore, death, death of a parent, death of a loved one, and very minor animal cruelty.