Gemina

GeminaTitle: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date: October 18, 2016
Pages: 659
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

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 saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s 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 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 may 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.


Gemina was great! While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Illuminae, it was a very strong sequel. We’re introduced to a new cast of characters (notably Hanna and Nik) and at first it’s not clear how the story relates to Illuminae. Once we get into the action though, the connection is obvious.

My favorite part of Gemina is the suspense and the overarching storyline. I literally freak out reading these books! I’m on the edge of my seat, frantically turning pages and trying to devour every word. It’s great! On top of that, the writing is really awesome. It feels like I’m reading a movie. The personalities jump off the page and the scenes are so detailed, it’s like you’re watching them.

As soon as I closed the book, I wanted more. I can’t wait to see where the story wraps up and I’m seriously hoping this gets optioned as a movie. Have you started this series yet?

Illuminae

IlluminaeTitle: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 599
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

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.


I. Loved. This. Book.

I really did. It was so unique and awesome. We get to read a dossier about a horrific planetary attack in the future. So not my “thing,” but the way the story is told is just so creative that I ended up devouring it.

The redactions and strike outs in various interviews and surveillance footage were awesome. Even though the documents are redacted, they are presented so that the reader can see what was left out. Most of the things that were taken out are really funny. Despite the entire book being about a tragedy, it was hysterical! I loved that element and it really helped alleviate some of the gravity of the situation.

The romance is great as well. Not because I believe Ezra and Kady are meant to be or that they’re super fabulous together. I like it because it feels like a teen romance. And that’s what it is. I’d love to say a bit more on the topic, but for fear of spoilers let’s move on . . .

As much as I adored this novel, there were a few tiny things that knocked it from a 5-star novel to a 4.5. The ending wasn’t mind blowing. Perhaps my expectations were too high — I’d heard quite a few people say that Illuminae gave them a book hangover — so I was expecting something really epic. I didn’t get that though! The ending made sense to me. I had a feeling things would work out the way they did, so after all of the suspense and creativity of the novel the perfectly logical ending was a bit of a let down. I am excited to see how the rest of the series turns out though!

Now this next thing didn’t affect my rating at all, and is really more of an observation. I loved that this was a PDF. The way they designed the page numbers at the bottom made that very clear. However, the book takes place in 2575 and I highly doubt PDFs will still exist then. Obviously as humans in 2015, we can’t even fathom what might take the place of PDFs and I do agree that the way they chose to present the information works really well for today’s reader. Just a thought I wanted to share 🙂

So overall, I loved Illuminae. This is the type of book I will shove into my husband’s hands and beg that he reads too. It was unique, creative, and seriously awesome. Just wish the ending had more of a surprise to it!

This Shattered World

This Shattered WorldTitle: This Shattered World
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date: December 23, 2014
Pages: 390
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.


Goodreads | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

After These Broken Stars (which I loved) and all of the reviews claiming that This Shattered World was even better, I had some pretty high expectations going into this novel. While I did really enjoy it, it wasn’t quite as good as These Broken Stars and the two novels are just very different.

These Broken Stars was a romance at heart. Yes, there were a few paranormal/sci-fi elements thrown in, and yes you did have two people traversing a deserted planet fighting for survival, but it was really about Lilac and Tarver falling in love. Watching their relationship develop is that really made These Broken Stars so wonderful for me.

In This Shattered World, we have almost an entirely different cast of characters. There is still a love story in the novel, but it is much more understated and takes a back seat to the plot. Unfortunately, the plot wasn’t my favorite part of the book. It was still good, but it was more about rebellion and untangling a nefarious plot against planet Avon. Even though I enjoyed the story, it was starting to veer a bit out of my wheelhouse.

The writing and character development, however, are truly outstanding. Kaufman and Spooner create these people that are so real, you can’t help feeling for them. There were so many heart wrenching moments in this story that came alive because of the writing style and were made even more meaningful because of the connection you feel with the characters.

Even though This Shattered World didn’t quite live up to my expectations and the hype, it was still a great book. If you liked These Broken Stars, you won’t be disappointed with the sequel, but just know that they are very different stories despite the things they have in common.

These Broken Stars

These Broken StarsTitle: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date: December 10, 2013
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

--

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy


These Broken Stars was an epic galactic adventure. I was a bit put off at first because the beginning of the novel reminded me of Titantic, but with spaceships. However, as soon as we crash land on an unknown planet, we leave much of the Titanic parallels behind and are left with an awesome story. Filled with romance, mystery, and a touch of paranormal These Broken Stars was simply fantastic and left me dying for more.

Tarver and Lilac have an instant connection, but since Lilac’s dad has a habit of killing her boyfriends, she is cold to Tarver as soon as he makes it clear he is interested in her. When they end up stranded on a deserted planet together, their relationship is tense, but it is obvious to the reader how perfect the two are for each other.

Getting stranded on an empty planet sounds like it would make for a pretty boring story, but Megan Spooner/Aime Kaufman makes it riveting! Not only do we have the Tarver/Lilac storyline to keep us engaged, but we also have plenty of questions about the strange planet they’ve landed on, doubts about the characters’ sanity, and since the story is told in part through an interrogation, we also have fun trying to figure out how the story ended based on what we read of the interrogation.

These Broken Stars is just impossible to put down. The story and characters are utterly captivating and there were parts that left me completely  shattered. As soon as I read the last words, I wanted more. I am very anxious to see what’s in store for Tarver and Lilac and can’t wait for the release of book 2.