DNF: Gemina (Illuminae Files, #2)



by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

DNF at page 262

spoiler-free review!

I started reading Gemina back in November and I immediately struggled with it. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Illuminae, the first instalment in this series, mainly because I couldn’t remember anymore what happened in that one.

Though that is not the only reason why I didn’t like this. First of all, I rarely read science-fiction. And I had absolutely no idea what was going on in Gemina. There is definitely a lack of world-building. There are so many different spaceships, yet they’re used for different reasons. Not that that was ever thoroughly explained… Furthermore, the action scenes are hard to visualise. I had to re-read parts in order to understand what was going on.

In my opinion, this series seriously lacks representation of POC and LGBTQ. Everyone is so straight. Everytime a man and woman interacted, they were flirting. At one point, two characters were almost sexting. It was so awkward to read. I wish Kristoff cared as much about diversity as he does about sexual content in YA.

As for my physical copy: it looks stunning. Marie Lu’s drawings were beautiful additions. The black font, however, was nearly impossible to read on the dark grey background.

Because I wasn’t enjoying this, nearly everything started bothering me as I forced myself to continue this. It’s so typical and uncreative that the Russian-inspired characters were criminals. What, the Italians and Japanese were taken? In fiction, you have the opportunity to be so creative, so it is disappointing when authors rely on some of the biggest stereotypes out there.

Furthermore, the way those drugs were made is animal abuse and I’m not here for that.

I put Gemina down for weeks, because I was unsure whether or not I should continue it. Apparently, it gets better, but after 250 pages, I still wasn’t into it. What convinced me to DNF this is Jay Kristoff’s behaviour. His other novel Nevernight is racist and he is reading Carve the Mark, another racist book, “to see for himself whether or not it is”. When people of colour have pointed out that something is racist, it is in no way necessary for a white person to see for themselves whether it is. First of all, when people of colour say certain representation hurts or offends them, we have to believe them. We as white people can never decide their feelings aren’t valid. Furthermore, his own book is problematic, so how would he ever be able to point out racism in another book? I could go on about why I will no longer support this author, but multiple people of colour have already talked about this, so it’s not my place to talk about this any further.

conclusion: Even though I very much enjoyed Illuminae, I will not continue this series. I didn’t understand the science-fiction elements, wasn’t enjoying it and the book was overall way too hetero for my taste. On top of that, I do not plan on reading any more of Jay Kristoff’s books, who’s one of the authors of this series.

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