Gemina is the second book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, and the second book I’ve read for the Tome Topple Readathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as the first one.
YA sci-fi keeps disappointing me.
Maybe adult sci-fi would too, if I read more of it, but so far I haven’t read many disappointments. I haven’t been as lucky with YA sci-fi.
Illuminae is basically the only YA sci-fi I’ve ever really liked. And Gemina? Like the first book, it was flawed. Too flawed, and this time, I did care.
But let’s start with the good.
What I liked:
- Ella Malikova, the hacker. She’s by far the best character in the book. And she uses a wheelchair. (a disabled character in sci-fi!)
- The characters from Illuminae. Gemina follows a different couple, but some characters from the first book make an appearance.
- Nik and Hanna weren’t that bad
- I read it in less than a day
- The format. I would have rated this book 2 stars if it hadn’t been written in such an engaging way.
And… that’s it.
What I didn’t like:
- There are some plot devices you can only use once. Bringing dead characters back to life (in a literal way or in a “they were alive all along” way) is one of them. After that, your readers will expect it.
Because of that, I didn’t feel like anyone was risking anything. I was bored.
- If your sci-fi series is going to include parallel universes, don’t introduce them in book two? It’s like writing “and also… there’s time travel! haha I forgot that” in the second book of your low fantasy series. And yes, this series was science-fiction from the start, and there was no realism whatsoever, but some things are on a whole other level of fictional.
- When the characters flew into another universe, so did my suspension of disbelief.
- If I rated Illuminae five stars for its beautiful ending, here the ending ruined everything.
- This series really heteronormative. (Everyone Is Straight In Space)
A minor dislike no one cares about but me:
- The Unipedia page about the Lanima worms is really badly-written. In the Italian edition, the Taxobox says that Animalia is a genus (…what.). From what I see on google books, it was a translation mistake (not surprised) but if Lanima was the name of the alien worm’s species, then there’s a piece missing (not a translation mistake). It’s called “binomial nomenclature” for a reason. It’s Canis lupus, not Canis (Canis is the genus).
My rating: ★★★¼