Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Spoiler Free)

gemina-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoffGemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: October 18th 2016

Genres: Young Adult Sci-Fi

Pages: 608

Format: Physical Book (Hardcover)

Rating:★★★★★ (5 Stars)


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


After reading and Loving the ISH (funny cuz currency in Gemina is referred to as ISH) out of Illuminae (review here) earlier this year, I knew that Gemina would be a book to have me running to the bookstore to drop that $$$ HAHA! just like its predecessor, Gemina did NOT disappoint. Offering up non-stop page turning action & a cast of witty characters you can’t get enough of. Illustrations by Marie Lu author of the Young elites covered the pages making Gemina one beautiful book both inside & out. The Illuminae Files are addictive, fun, and overall just great story telling…



CREDS & HAILS go to Gretchen @CHICNERDREADS for this EPIC aesthetic, I can’t stop staring at it with the only *heart eyes* Thanks again my fren’ you’re simply AMAZING! 


Gemina picks up with a brand new set of characters on the Jump Station Heimdall right after the events of the Kerenza invasion & BeiTech assault. Since this is book 2 in the series, I will ward off the dreaded spoilers. Gemina is said to be a companion novel to Illuminae & for the most part it is, however it most definitely is necessary to read Illuminae as it all does tie in. The characters at jump station Heimdall are unaware of the events at Kerenza or BeiTech’s involvement. As the reader, you feel a sense of anticipation all throughout Gemina because you are aware of what’s happened & the imminent danger that lays ahead. The civilians and crew on Jump Station Heimdall are unaware of the incoming ships & just like in Illuminae, they are in for a rude awakening. This is the story of how Hemidall came to defend itself & the intricate web of deception BeiTech has woven…


Although we have quite a few players in the game, the main characters are Hannah Donelly & Niklas Malikov. These are two young adults who end up having to step into much larger shoes when the ISH hits the fan. We get to know both these characters on a more personal level since the format in this book is dialogue heavy. I enjoyed the witty banter between these two so much & found myself either smiling or outright laughing at some of the their exchanges. Hannah also keeps a journal & she’s a pretty good artist (illustrations by Marie Lu) depicting exactly what she thinks of Nik in a series of laugh out loud drawings. Hannah has to be one of my new hands down favorite kick a** female protagonists in YA PERIOD! she is smart, quick on her feet, a pro in war games thanks to her dad, witty, and loyal to her friends & family. Nik Malikov stole my heart with his dirty mind & endless attempts to win Hannah over. He was born into the House Of Knives, a criminal family (yup they exist even in outer space HAHA!) & is being groomed & taught to earn his keep through a series of innnnneresting criminal activities (I won’t divulge more than that hehe). I can’t discuss the characters in this book without mentioning my FAVORITE Spider, Ella Malikova who is Nik’s cousin and hacker extraordinaire. Ella is disabled from the waist down and spends her time in front of a computer in her wheelchair exchanging sarcastic & witty remarks with Nik through IM’s. Not only is Ella AMAZING at what she knows with computers but she’s also a fighter in every sense & I looked forward to seeing her IM’s pop up on the page.



Illustrations by Marie Lu author of The Young Elites trilogy


The format for Gemina is the same as the one the authors used for Illuminae. The story is told through a series of IM chats, E-mails, & memorandums. In between these you’ll come across transcriptions from video camera footage which in the story, are written by Analysts that have watched & to the best of their ability tried to make sense of what is caught on camera. Gemina just like Illuminae may appear intimidating at first glance especially given the 600+ page count. However, I can assure all those that are interested in The Illuminae Files that it is all well worth it & a very quick read. In fact, the format of this book only helps move the story along much faster & the dialogue is so much fun that before you know it, you’ll be requesting that Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman get working on the 3rd book hehe 😉

Donelly, H: What, you’re just going to open the door so I can creep in?

Donelly, H: It’s too far, not safe. recon before action, that’s the rule. If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

Merrick, J: What?

Donelly, H: Sun Tzu.

 IM chat between Hanna Donelly & her boyfriend Jackson Merrick


Gemina deserves all of the hype it gets because it truly delivers & packs a punch, I’m lucky to have other books I’ve really been looking forward to because the book hangover is REAL!  Once again, I am left so impressed with these two authors because I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends, they write so well together. The inclusion of Marie Lu’s illustrations in this book only enhanced the beauty and overall bad a**ness of this second installment. Although Illuminae will always hold that special place in my heart for introducing me to such an interesting world…Gemina came in & is now holding the crown. What really made this book even more spectacular is the humor & characters this round, these authors are clearly in tune with young adults making the dialogue so believable. I am now left waiting another year for the 3rd installment…currently experiencing the phase where I watch for (stalk) these authors for any bit of info…following the cookie crumb trail I go…




Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

40 thoughts on “Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Spoiler Free)”

  1. I looooooooooove your review. It’s sooooo pretty! Thanks for the shout out!! This book is just so great and I am so happy it did not disappoint with second book syndrome, I would’ve been sad. WE NEED THE THIRD BOOK………NOW NOW NOW *throws tantrum*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *blushes* ahhh well! I had a bit of help there beautifying it LOL! I sense a side gig creating aesthetics in your near future haha! thanks again Gray! you already know when a book is SO good it leaves your reviewing mind paralyzed…that was this book, trying to find the words to do it justice. I totally need the 3rd book & I’m also throwing my vote in for a lime/highlighter green cover *Squeee* 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Danielle! 😆💕 it’s a series, they are currently working in book 3. This series is absolutely best read in physical form, I can’t imagine reading it in Kindle at all since it’s graphic heavy. Some pages have images & words that stream into the next page as well. Also, this book is stunning with or without the dust jacket, a lot of detail, time, and effort went into it & you can tell. Hope you get to it soon as I would love to hear your thoughts 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yet another fabulous review! I need a hard copy of book one for Christmas for sure :3 Hail to female kick ass characters!! And you’re right about Gretchen’s graphic, it looks absolutely gorgeous <3. Good luck with stalking! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m really curious about Marie Lu’s illos in this one! And all the reviews seem to be so positive. I love a space station setting so I’m pretty geeked for this one. Hannah and Nik sound awesome- she’s a badass and knows war games, that’s cool, and he’s a criminal (or belongs to a criminal family anyway)- should be a good team up! I like that name House of Knives. Can’t wait to get into this one. And I love the Analyst interpretations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s worth checking out since you’re into sci-fi & outer space, its a fast paced read that will keep you guessing what’s next. Hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick up Illuminae. Thank you for stopping by 😃


  4. Great review for this book Lilly, and I am so so glad you loved Gemina as well (I’ve really enjoyed reading people’s reviews of this book and seeing what everyone has thought of it).
    Gemina definitely lived up to the hype and I am so glad because ever since I read Illuminae this has been a book on the top of my to-read list and I would have been so upset if it didn’t live up to my expectations. I loved Hanna and Nik, and definitely Ella as well, I think she’s my favourite character in this series asides from AIDAN.
    I am so so excited for the third book now. I think we definitely need some kind of info on it ASAP! I’d settle for a title at this point, just anything! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! HAHA! Yes, it goes without saying for me that AIDAN is a favorite, I really enjoy his back & forth with Hanna & Lady from Illuminae. I left him out of this review because he sort of is a surprise appearance but I can’t lie, when he makes his appearance I was jumping for joy! I would def settle for a title or anything really…matter of fact I’ve been frequently checking their social media accts for any tid bits LOL! smh

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! Honestly I think AIDAN is always going to be my favourite character, I love his interactions with everyone and now I really want to read Illuminae again just to get more from him. Yeah I was the same, I smiled so much when he was introduced in Gemina.
        I’ll probably start doing the same. I can’t wait to see the cover either, I’m sure it’s going to be gorgeous! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! trust me you will fly through Illuminae & quickly do the same with Gemina, they’re just so addictive. I kept putting Illuminae off (1 whole year) & kicked myself when i finally picked it up & digested it like it was nothing. EPIC adventure awaits you with TONS of sarcasm & humor for the ride 😉

      P.S. The splotch at the bottom of the page is actually blood & as you read along and come across journal entries the blood grows on the pages…it all means something but you have to read it to find out lol


      1. I am excited now. But I can’t really stomach character deaths. They are just too cruel!

        But it’s inevitable. I’m so reading these books. Even just for the humour and sarcasm.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. no worries, they don’t pull anything to harsh on the readers. I can honestly say I enjoyed the deaths & their executions just fine lol. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did 🙂


  5. Damn, that’s a long book. Wonderful review, as always. 🙂 Your reviews are always so detailed and make me want to read the book. You could write passionately about any book, and I think I’d want to read it. I had no idea they were that long. Over 600 pages is a beast! I’m planning to read Illuminae in Decemeber. I wanted to finish off the Red Rising series and King of Thorns before I started on something new. I swear it’s like every book I read is part of a series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jill 🙂💕both books are heavy in page count but tbh it’s really half that because half the book is illustrations. You’re a fast reader so I’d imagine you could fly through this book in no time. & yea I get the feeling, everything I pick up nowadays is part of a series which leads me to start so many at one time smh. Goal in 2017 is to wrap some of my unfinished series up. Hope you enjoy the Illuminae Files as much as I did 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m working on finishing up the Red Rising series. Then I want to focus on my standalone novels and ARCs before jumping into more series. It sucks that I have so many series unfinished and have to wait for them to come out. Thanks! It sounds like an awesome series and I love Kristoff. I’m sure I’ll love it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve gotten into the habit of waiting for series to be deeper in before starting them because I have no patience for waiting, especially when it’s a good one lol. I’m sure you’ll be an Illuminae Files fan when you get to them 😉💕

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review! I’m so happy you enjoyed it and that it lived up to expectations! Too often the second book in a trilogy feels like a filler, so I’m really glad Gemina didn’t fall prey to the curse second books suffer. I already have my copy of Gemina but I was planning on reading some other books I’ve had for longer first. Now I might not be able to wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lauren😊💕 I’ve heard so many great thinks about the audiobooks for these books. I may just give those a listen when I’m done or before book 3 is released. Nik & Hanna are hands down two of my fave YA characters at the moment 😃 enjoy it💕


  7. Ok, so I tried to read this review but without having read Illuminae, it’s a little hard to make sense of it. x) Though I do appreciate that Gemina is more of a companion novel than a direct sequel.
    Maybe one day I’ll pick up this series. It does sound fantastic and I know how much Lauren from Wonderless reviews loves it. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Understandable, I tried to keep it as spoiler free as possible & that’s tough with the 2nd book in a series. If you’re ever looking for a fun fast paced adventure, Illuminae delivers & yes! Lauren LOVED Gemina 😂😂😂


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