Gemina – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

29236299Title: Gemina 
Authors:  Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminea Files

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published Date: October 18, 2016

Blurb: Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

My Review:
My husband and I both enjoyed Illuminea so much that we purchased the audiobook of Gemina almost immediately afterward.

What I Loved:  I’m still really enjoying this world that has been created, and the way that these books are laid out. This time we start out in a court room reviewing documents against BeiTech.  From there we are told a story once again through the IMs, documents and video surveillance cameras as we were previously.  Similar to Illuminea, we are dealing with not only BeiTech and another invasion, but another outside conflict – this time in the form of human-eating aliens.

The characters in this book grew on me as the story progressed, which was good because I didn’t care much for Hanna at all at the beginning.     The characters Hanna and Nik are both just as fun and witty as Kady and Ezra were, but very much their own people.  The best character by far, though, was Nik’s cousin.  I just LOVED her ‘voice’ throughout the entire book.  Hanna’s was kind of amazing when she applied all of her convenient training – and started scaling the ship like a super-spy. Nik was an awesome hero and ladies man <wink.>

Not So Much:  So there is some drug usage in this book.  It does play it’s part I suppose, but I never care for any kind of drug recreational usage in a YA novel.  It’s just a ‘thing’ for me.  I was also disappointed at first of the lack of Kady and Ezra in this book, as I had grown to love them in Illuminae.  I did really enjoy this book, but honestly, it really just followed the same exact outline of Illuminae – granted the story was different, and the aliens were some bad dudes, the general outline is there.  I really hope that the future book will not fall into the same rut.

The Verdict:  I don’t think it was possible for this to have been better than Illuminae no matter what way you shake it.  I really do love the world that has been established, and at this point I really want to see BeiTech go down – hard.  So I will be listening or reading anything else that comes up in this series.  As far as clean goes – the cussing was cut back by a LOT in this book (though as it was previously – all cussing is blanked out in the actual book the audiobook makes it clear what is being said).  I mentioned the drug usage previously – and that would really be my big hang-up with the whole YA genre.

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Take 2

233956801Title: Illuminae
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Buy Link: http://a.co/2fOj0IS

Blurb: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review:  Why yes, I have already reviewed Illuminea, but since I read the book a few weeks ago, I also decided to listen to the audio book, and I wanted to give you a brief update on my review.  A few things to keep in mind, if you will…

What I Loved:  Okay, in my humble opinion, if you want to get the full true-blue experience of Illuminea, you reallllly need to do both the hardback and the audio book.  The hardback is so visually awesome, filled with documents and such.  The audio though, it has so much personality and flair!  There is a long list of narrators, and they all do an excellent job!  My husband also listened to this book, and it was funny when he was like, “I like that British dude.” “Oh, Aiden (the computer) is freaky.”  “Wait…that wasn’t Aiden I was talking about…”  It really is done so well, it ranks right up there with the Harry Potter audio books and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Not So Much:  Not sure if you’ll recall, but in my original review I indicated that because of the censorship of the ‘document’ that this book was pretty clean.  This isn’t quite as true for the Audio book.  I mean, it’s still censored, however it mutes out the words, leaving just enough to  help you know exactly what was said (which you know that reading anyway…but it’s different when you hear it I guess).  Some of our characters are real potty-mouths.  Also, the innuendos were easily read past in the book, however they are much more clear and present in the audio book because of the personalities and inflections of the voice.

The Verdict:  I still hold to my original rating, but I would like to bump this up to good for older teen’s rather than a clean book.

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

233956801Title: Illuminae
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Buy Link: http://a.co/2fOj0IS

Blurb: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review:  My friend recommended this book to me, more than once actually.  And not just the book, but the audiobook.  Did I GET the audiobook?  NOPE, I had gift cards to Barnese & Noble, and while I was there shopping I saw these books – took a glimps inside and knew I just had to own them.

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What I Loved: This book was full of action, I want to say mystery, but it’s not a mystery really, it’s just an unraveling of secrets.  I love that.  While it’s going to be listed in my next category, the uniqueness of this book was part of what made it so appealing.  It’s not simply told in a collection of documents – but the format of the book makes them seem legit.  There are little post it notes, and pictures made of words; all sorts of beautiful treasures.

I loved the characters in this book.  Like – pretty much all of them.  I will say that AIDEN (the AI) might possibly have been my favorite character of them all.  Is it weird to want to comment on the character growth of a computer?  Yeah, probably.  I also loved both Katy and Ezra; Katy was defiant and daring, and Ezra was sarcastic and fun.  They made a fun pair.

Not So Much:  It took me some time to adjust to reading a book that was 100% documents.  I miss a lot of the emotion that way.  You get some, but you don’t get the picture created for you like you would in a typical book.  The little touches, or the room descriptions – things that really put you there.  At least….that’s how I felt at first.  But the more I read the book, the more I really WAS there.  I got used to the format and couldn’t put the book down.

The Verdict:  When describing this book to others, I’ve sort of mentioned Star Trek, but mostly the show Firefly – with the different plants and such.  I mean that only in a ‘setting’ sort of way.  I normally wouldn’t read a book about space travel, but I am so glad I started this series.  This book was clean, very YA appropriate.  A 5-star read for sure.