Backlist Briefs – Mini Reviews for SIEGE & STORM and GEMINA
Also by this author: Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1), Crooked Kingdom
Series: Grisha Verse #2
Published by Henry Holt and Company on June 4th 2013
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Also in this series: Shadow and Bone
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Siege and Storm, the second installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse trilogy, is a much darker book than its predecessor, Shadow and Bone, and I loved every page of it. The Darkling is back and he has a few new tricks up his sleeves with which to terrorize Alina and anyone else who resists him. He’s more determined than ever to bend Alina to his will.
Speaking of Alina, she faces many challenges in this second book, the Darkling playing a starring role in many of them, and she faces each challenge head on, becoming ever more powerful along the away. I found Alina to be a much more appealing character in this second installment, not just because she rises to the occasion and becomes a total badass but also because her character develops a bit of a dark side along the way. She is really feeling the allure of her growing power, and the more she has, the more she wants. The plus side is that her power could possibly be strong enough to defeat the Darkling, in spite of his new tricks. The downside is that her hunger for power, as well as her growing obsession with defeating the Darkling, puts a tremendous strain on her relationship with childhood friend and potential love interest, Mal. Things get awkward, to say the least.
The awkwardness between Alina and Mal was a bit of a drag, but thankfully the addition of a fabulous new character kept me from getting down too much. Sturmhond is a pirate and an inventor of sorts and he is just the most charming character ever! Imagine Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles in pirate form. He’s full of fun stories and witty banter, and just when you think you have him figured out, he springs an entirely new and unexpected identity on you. I thought the Darkling was my favorite character, but I have to rethink that now that Sturmhond is in the mix.
Siege and Storm takes us from the lavish worldbuilding and the set up of Alina versus the Darkling straight into full-on adventure, dangerous mind games, and epic battle scenes, all of which culminate in a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. I’m so glad I already have a copy of the final book in the series because I need to know who comes out on top! 4 STARS
Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Also by this author: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1), Nevernight , Nevernight
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Also in this series: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
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.
Each time I start reading a book from The Illuminae Files, my initial thought is that I’m not going to like it. I always worry that I’ll find the book’s structure to be gimmicky and that it will distract me from what is actually taking place in the story. And each time I’ve been dead wrong. I love everything about this series and not only does the book’s structure not distract from the story, but it actually enhances it and makes it feel all the more authentic, like you really are sitting there reading a case file about an incident aboard a space station.
When Gemina opens, we meet our two new main characters, Hanna and Nik, polar opposites with seemingly nothing in common aside from the fact that they both live on Jump Station Heimdall. Hanna is the pampered daughter of the ship’s captain, while Nik is a member of a prominent crime family. Although they have nothing in common, one view Nik and Hanna share is that they are on the “most boring” space station in the universe. But all that is about to change… Heimdall is the station Kady Grant and what’s left of the Hypatia crew are fleeing to after the events of Illuminae, the first book in the series. The Hypatia is trying to get news of an invasion that killed most of the residents on the planet Kerenza, including proof about who was behind the invasion.
Once we meet Hanna and Nik, it’s off to the races on a heart-pounding adventure as those responsible for the deadly invasion have dispatched an elite strike team to attack Heimdall. Their mission: to ambush and destroy the Hypatia, thereby destroying all evidence of their murderous actions on Kerenza. Once they get aboard Heimdall, they immediately round up all of the station’s residents and lie in wait for the Hypatia. Guess who they missed though? You guessed it, Hanna and Nik. The burden of saving their station, the Hypatia, and possibly the known universe falls on the shoulders of these two young people. Nothing like a race against the clock to help two people bond…
Oh and did I mention the snake-like alien predators that have somehow gotten loose aboard the station who are picking off residents one by one? No? Well, yes, as if they didn’t have enough to contend with, there’s that too. So needless to say, Gemina is an action-packed, thrill ride full of danger and suspense and I thought it was absolutely brilliant! 4.5 STARS