There is no love greater than the one held for a well-written book, and I am starting to see now why The Illuminae Files has such a strong international fandom. Snarky, shameless intertextual, deliberately diverse, and the epitome of the high-stakes YA space opera, I can’t recommend this book and this series highly enough.
Series Title: The Illuminae Files
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: YA Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Themes: Space, Survival, Corporatism, Adventure, Love, Family, War
My Rating: 5/ 5
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 Illuminaecontinues 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.
Somebody tell me why I waited so long to get back into this series. Seriously! It’s so damned good, particularly the audiobook adaptation. Those voice actors deserve a freaking gold star because they brought this book to life!
At first I was a little sad that this story took a step away from Kady and Ezra, because their sass and dynamic was particularly magnetic, but cue Hanna and Nik and after 3 chapters I was totally sold. I mean you have a bad boy born into a family of crime that actually has a heart of gold, and a spoiled little rich girl who just so happens to be a tactical badass. Put them together with the combined threats of a damaged wormhole, psychedelic slime aliens loose in the station, and a sleeper cell that’s come to take out all remaining witnesses to the Kerenza attack and you have drama and action around every corner. If you hate adrenaline, big reveals, plot twists, and swoon-worthy slow burn romance with more yearning than one brain can reasonably handle, I strongly urge you to stay away.
What I loved most about this book is that it’s clearly written for teens and features teens. They’re old enough to know some shit and be badass, but young enough to still need their parents and question their every move. They grieve like teens, say and do stupid shit like teens, regularly reference pop culture like teens, and have to constantly defend their abilities to condescending adults like teens. Oh, and they enjoy rebelling against authority figures and asserting their newly found identities just let teens. This might be an epic space opera set at a wormhole jump station caught in the crossfire of multiple covering universes but these kids are REAL!
And can I just give a special shoutout to Ella? She might not be one of our main protagonists, but that girls is so damned likeable I legit cried every time she died because of the Gemina field. It was refreshing to see a physically disabled girl play such a strong and integral character. Not only is she a queen spider of the ones and zeros, she is young and vulnerable and incapable of caring for fish. I adored how she wore sarcasm like an armour and always added levity to those heavier moments.
There’s so much more to talk about – like a painfully beautiful traitor, Kady Grant’s father taking Hanna under his wing, the awesome depravity of the BeiTech strike team, and the trials the weave all of these disparate narratives together. But, I don’t like giving out spoilers and I fear that these comments would tread a dangerous line. Just know that every line is action packed perfection, and that you need to read it. Every element in these stories are so carefully wrought and expertly woven together that it’s almost impossible for me to accept that Gemina is a collaboration.
I can’t wait for our two divergent crews of space heroes and heroines to come together in Obsidio and kick some serious BeiTech ass. There will be sass, action, and attitude beyond measure, and I have the feeling that there is nothing in the verse that will stop them from succeeding.
I borrowed this audiobook from my local library as a result of blogger recommendations, all opinions are my own.