Sunday, 1 November 2020

Mini-Review Time - Memento & Gemina

I was planning to write these write-ups (and of Daphne and Velma: The Vanishing Girl by Josephine Ruby - though not sure if I will do a write-up of this book on The Pewter Wolf due to time and I'm tempted to keep that as a Goodreads only review [this was a gift via the first UK Lockdown from Jayde from Paperback to Hardback]) and post in December due to my November reading plans. 

However, last night, the UK Prime Minister announced the UK will be going into a second lockdown for the whole of November. And so, I decide to pop these two together (as part of the same series), write this post and make it go live today (I know. Am posting at a weekend!).

Now, as you know if you have followed me for a while, I first read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff a few years back (2018, I think), and I did like it, but I did struggle with it. And I full on plans to continue and finish the trilogy. Expect I didn't. I got sidetrack - very on brand for me. So, earlier this lockdown (August, I believe), I got my hands on copy of the audiobook (you may blame Jen from Jenniely for that!) and, I really liked it this time round. Far more than I expected! So much so, I bought the rest of the trilogy (Gemina and Obsidio). I had planned to do the whole trilogy by the end of the year at the latest, by Halloween at the earliest (though, I highly doubted that!). 

And then, news dropped that the prequel novella, Memento, was getting published. This was published in Australia for a limited run as a preorder exclusive when Aurora Rising (by same authors and, yes, I have plans to read/audiobook this before year is out!) first came out. But, to celebrate 5 years of Illuminae's release, the novella has been published as audiobook and eBook. 

Title And Author: Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Rock The Book

Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook and Audiobook

Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought

Length: 60ish Pages (Estimate) or 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Set just prior to the events of Illuminae (around 43 days) and ending within days of Illuminae kicking off, Memento follows a new computer programmer, trying to help the AI known as AIDEN learn and program it better. But we all know that, in 43 days time, BeiTech is going to attack Kerenza IV and AIDEN is going to be damaged. Is this AIDEN's first friendship? Or AIDEN's first murder? 

I adored this. It's a short novella so, how on earth, can something so short suck me in and make me fall in love with the characters, root for the characters, feel heartbreak and gasp for said characters and their trauma (death of a loved one in both past and present, and mental health/grief) and then nearly scream/crash my character when a character from Illuminae pops up as an Easter egg moment? All of this just worked and I adored it. I kept thinking "This is what a novella should be like. Why aren't all novellas like this?!"

I do want to say that, if you are going to read this novella, I do think you should read it AFTER Illuminae. I just get the feeling that this is better reading experience if you've read Illuminae. One or two things make moire sense and add something more. Though, saying that, if you read Memento before Illuminae, I don't think it will affect anything so you can read either way, but I think readers will get more pleasure if you read/audio this after Illuminae

I loved Memento so much that, within a few hours of finishing it, I started audiobooking Gemina, the second book in the Illuminae Files series. Hang on. Let me get the info up for you! 

Title And Author: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Rock the Boat

Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook

Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought

Length: 672 Pages or 12 Hours 33 Minutes

Yes, I know. It's rare that I read/audiobook the same author back-to-back, but I enjoyed Memento so thoroughly, I had to do Gemina

Hanna is a pampered daughter of the space station's captain. Nik is a reluctant member of a notorious crime family. Both are on the space station Heimdall and both think being there is boring, unaware that the space ship Hypatia is on its way to them, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion and what BeiTech have done. And when an elite BeiTech strike team invade the station, Hanna and Nik have to find a way to fight back. But with a strike team holding people hostage and will to kill, alien predators hatching and looking for food on the station and a malfunctioning wormhole that threatens to rip the space-time continuum in two, boring is no longer an opinion. 

But Nik and Hanna have got this... right? 

You want to know what the first word I would say to describe this book/series? The word I have in mind is stressful! I have completely forgotten how stressful Illuminae was and spent most of my time, while listening to Gemina, stressing out about these characters, the situation and everything that was happening! 

Like I said in my write-up of Illuminae, the way this series is written is via reports, emails, instant messages, diary entries, etc. So, if you're reading this in a physical or ebook form, you would see the below: 

However, I audiobooked this so I lost this uniqueness and texture. However, the audiobook is unique itself. It's full cast, there are sound effects and the way several sections were read and edited are unique and added real texture. It feels like an audio play and you guys know how much I love audiobooks and podcasts so this is RIGHT UP MY STREET!!!

But the story as a whole. Well, stressful. But I really liked this. As it's been a few months since I listened to Illuminae, I should be able to compare but read and audiobook so much since then, I can't. But this series is shaping up to be a really good sci-fi series (and I see why you guys have been ranting at me to read this!). I can not wait to start Obsidio and Amie & Jay's other sci-fi series, Aurora Rising (hopefully, will do both sometime in November or early December, so keep your eyes peeled!). 

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