The first book aka file folder of 599, involved four ships: The Alexander, Hypatia, Copernicus and Lincoln, and the Lincoln was after these three ships because they had passengers and files that had information on illegal activity of BeiTech Industries. Our two heroes were Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, who were on separate ships and trying to find a way back to each other while a deadly plague was killing everyone off. It was like Kaufman and Kristoff's version of Star Trek. Gemina is kind of like their version of Die Hard, where at the Heimdall Space Station, the Hypatia with Grant and Mason is heading over to dock in less than a day and BeiTech is aware of this. The Heimdall is also hosting a party, and the captain's daughter, Hanna Donnelly, is one of the attendants, as well as Nik Malikov, her drug dealer, and Jackson Merrick, the love of her life. Oh, and Ella Malikov, Nik's teasy cousin. Oh, as well as Issac Grant, Kady's father. Well, once the Heimdall gets abducted by BeiTech, Hanna has to find a way to make sure the Hypatia is able to make it with what little time she has, and now we have the second book of The Illuminae Files.
This book is a continuation of Illuminae but has a completely different setting and a start-up that doesn't exactly follow the cliffhanger at the end of the first book, and that can be risky. Authors often have a reason for this, but sometimes not having what we expected can make it seem like the author(s) are playing with us. Also, brand new characters are risky. There was even a series I was into before I started Weldon Witness that changed its characters in Book 3 and my interest completely exploded in fumes. Thankfully, Gemina somehow still works, giving the same visual wonderment of imaginative visuals in the form of drawings and tech figures, once again with details you can choose whether to skip over or not, like a note in the top explaining ironies or the times it was posted. Every art page of this book (and there are lots) show hours of hard work and commitment. I'm glad Kaufman and Kristoff had the persuasion to make all this.
But anyway, enough with the visuals. This book feels like it's on steroids most of the time as Hanna is fighting for her life. Maybe it's because Hanna isn't given any training during the story, and is not given any backstory on big training from what I know, but she's a character we root for immediately. Or maybe we just really don't like the bad guys. Or maybe we're all anticipating their demise after the infuriation we got from them after Illuminae. Or all of the above.
This book also once again maintains a terrific sense of humour. Ella's utilization of the toys that are all the gadgetry had moments where I had a very nice giggle fest. The ideas are also brought out quite nicely. For instance, there's a chase scene where Hanna has to jump into an elevator duct, but first she has to drive a tank through a hallway with these people right on her trail. I visualized it perfectly, and most of the other descriptions simply make sense. There's even a way the book lets you know how many antagonists are still remaining. I was worried this would make the book drag, but as it goes on, seeing as this book is so easy to devour, it encourages us to keep reading, especially when the first fly drops and the stealth and imagination all feel like a video-game made of the highest budget. But what awards Gemina its stars is how this is a book that is meant to entertain us and not really do much else. It does that in spades, not just giving us anticipation for the third act (which is sadly how quite a lot of books lately are like), while giving us an end product that left me completely satisfied, and my head juggling the eyeballs.
Now, there are times where I felt the characters get over tragedies a little too easily, and in some ways the climax of this book feels kind of thrown in out of nowhere. I mean, it's original, most definitely. Just felt a little excluded from the rest of the story. And I guess I wish I could've seen at least a little more of the original characters, but that doesn't make Gemina a disappointment. In my opinion, this is even better than its predecessor, once again utilizing its weakness of having to tell its story entirely through files and then making it an advantage. The next book is called Obsidia and it's scheduled for next year. I'm sure I'm going to love it.