First, survive. Then tell the truth.
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Just hours after Kady Grant breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra, their home planet or Kerenza is attacked by the mega-corporation BeiTech. The only survivors are those that were able to evacuate the planet in time. As they fly through space trying to find safe harbor, one of the refugee ships breaks out with a virus that drives the infected insane and homicidal. To top it all off, the artificial intelligence system that runs the largest of the refugee ships was damaged in the battle at Kerenza and now itself, insane and homicidal.
Probably the most impressive thing about this book is how well-handled all of these plots are handled and brought together to a very intricate and amazingly told story. There is so much going on pretty much all the time that it would have been all too easy for it devolve into a giant clustered mess but it was balanced really well.
The romance aspect does feel like what you would expect out of a YA romance. It didn’t seem all that deep and the chemistry between Kady and Ezra was, at best, okay. BUT the romantic subplot does have an impact on the story itself and is part of the intricately woven story. Many decisions made were made solely because of the love story and some information that was given had a lot to do with why they broke up so this was not a case of a romance being forced into the story to generate tension.
The psychotic AI, AIDAN, was the only arguably weak point in storytelling. The storytelling in general was strong enough that it wasn’t a huge drawback no matter how you look at it. The narrative in the last half of the book relied pretty heavily on telling from his point of view through files pulled from AIDAN’s memory core.
He sometimes seems to know how other characters, Kady in particular, is feeling and gets very poetic sometimes.
“Perhaps she pictures the skies over
Kerenza on the day the Beitech fleet came…
Perhaps she is lost in these past few months.
Or the lives she is about to take away.”
He is an artificial intelligence and he was damaged to the point of being insane and there are plenty of examples in ways that this damage has altered him so there are arguments for why he is this way. Just a lot of the narrative was put on him and it stretched the suspense of disbelief a little bit at times.
There are probably a ton of people that loved that about this book though and it is easy to see why. We haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman but we already knew that Jay Kristoff is a talented author and look forward to reading Gemina.
I was a little fearful of this book because while it sounded like something that I would be interested in and I love the mockumentary style of storytelling, I have been burned a lot by YA books, especially in fantasy and sci fi.
But this was just a fantastic book. Nothing else needs to be said.
This book, while with some YA tropes, was a lot of fun. It had a lot of cool scenarios all mashed up into one exciting book. Zombies, space battles, and a crazy AI, all seem like a bit much. But ultimately it was blended together well. I am usually not a fan of books with two authors. They are usually a jumbled mess with two different feelings and tones. But not with this one. I am really looking forward to the rest of this series.