Last year I read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, a Young Adult sci-fi novel. It’s the first part in a trilogy called the Illuminae files and truly redefines the form when you talk about novels. The story is told through excerpt from chat logs, emails, surveillance footage and so forth and tells the story about what happened on the planet Kerenza in the year 2575 when the colony living there was attacked by a corporation, BeiTech Industry, out to destroy the planet and kill everyone on it. But a few thousand manages to survive and flee towards the nearby jumpstation, Heimdall. Throughout the novel, the survivors on-board the Alexander and Hypatia tries to contact Heimdall but to no avail. And now, in Gemina, we finally get to see what happened on Heimdall when the refugees from Kerenza was making their way toward the jumpstation.

Hanna Donnelly is the spoiled, popular girl, daughter of Heimdalls commander. Nik Malikov is a reluctant member in a notorious crime family. For months, refugees from the Kerenza attack has been moving closer to Heimdall but the jumpstation has no idea about that and they, in turn, are in for their own fair share of violent surprise attacks. To clear their tracks of what happened on Kerenza, BeiTech is sending in a squad of two dozen people to make sure that the wormhole Heimdall moves around is functioning when Hypatia arrives so that an assault fleet can wipe them all out. But the task isn’t half as easy as the BT goons thought and the day before Hypatia and the assault fleet shows up turns into a bloody mess when Hanna and Nik join forces to defend their home and everyone on it.

First off, just like Illuminae, Gemina is as strange and amazing. In this novel it’s mostly chat logs, some emails, a few excerpt from Hanna’s diary, conversations using headsets and, more often than not, written security footage. It got a little boring after a while, I was waiting for something new or something more, like in Illuminae where every page was an exploration in something I’d never seen before. It got somewhat dull here, but the actual content was so good it was easy to forget about it for the most part. However, the drawings in Hanna’s diary, made by Marie Lu, was amazing and really brought something more to the story.

Like the previous novel, Gemina is fast-paced and fill to the brim (and I mean, the brim!) with action. The bigger portion of the novel spans out for about a day and a half and so much happens it feels impossible to remember it all. It turns out that the BT goons coming to Heimdall to mess things up isn’t the only scary thing out there on the jumpstation. A type of parasite gets loose and starts sneaking up on people and killing them and the wormhole is supposed to undergo maintenance but that’s cut short when the BeiTech guys shows up which endangers not only the jumpstation, but the entire universe itself.

As you can tell, a lot is happening. I think Kaufman and Kristoff had a long talk before they started writing this novel and I think they agreed on an experiment, to see just how many plot twists they could put in one book. The answer is, a lot. In one moment, you think you know everything only for it all to turn on its head. The next you think you know nothing and you’re still caught off guard when the next twist appears. I wouldn’t say it’s too much, but you certainly need to keep your head with you when you read or you might end up losing yourself among everything that’s happening.

The two heroes in this novel is Hanna and Nik. Hanna is daddy’s little girl who also likes to experiment with drugs behind his back and she is insanely good at fighting as well as all things that includes strategy and she soon turns into a nightmare for the BT guys. Nik has served time in prison and comes from a family were crime is second nature but he’s actually a very sweet guy. He has a crush on Hanna but she, in turn, is dating a soldier working on Heimdall, named Jackson. There’s an obvious attraction between Hanna and Nik and they spend a big part of the novel being sassy while saving everyone’s life. It’s fun to read their conversations but I do feel like I have to say this, despite it being something of a spoiler (so if you don’t want that, look away now). The fact that Hanna and Jackson break up and Hanna then seems to fall in love with Nik, or at least get a pretty serious crush on him, all in about twenty-four hours, feels a little hard to believe for me. Yeah, she’s still not entirely over Jackson but it’s enough to choose Nik all the way and that makes me question what she felt for Jackson (a guy she had dated for six months and a relationship that seemed kind of serious) and how deep her feelings are for Nik. This was the part that bothered me the most with the novel since this was what felt most naïve and childish. She’s a complete badass and yet it feels like Kaufman and Kristoff take something away from Hanna when they make so much of the story about her love life. I think this novel could’ve worked fine without the love story between her and Nik.

Overall, however, this is a great read that will suck you in from the beginning and spit you out, amazed and maybe a little confused, by the end. It’s a good sequel to the amazing first novel. I’m both looking forward and dreading the end, which will come this fall, because I don’t want the series to end. Despite that, I am looking forward to see what’s going to happen to Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik and I’m sure Kaufman and Kristoff have more than one ace up their sleeve. If you haven’t read either one of these books I suggest you start now so you’re ready for the big final in October.