Review of the Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is. 
On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares. 
When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing. 
A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

This story really throws you in a deep end, the first chapter is a whirlwind of action – I actually scrolled back to make sure I hadn’t missed a more traditional opening gambit, and was a really refreshing way to start off!  The story is told in both present day and flashback in the POV’s of each brother initially bringing us to the cataclysm of Simon’s disappearance and continuing with essentially a sci-fi thriller as Evan starts up his own search for Simon having given up with the PI’s lack of progress.  As the backdrop to it all is Scientific Innovations, an apparent overlord covering everything from cure development and food growth to the ability of Bending – to enter peoples minds and banish nightmares or help them make lost connections, Evan has a natural ability with this role created by years of honing his skills with the mental link between he and Simon – a link initially thought to be just that of twins but ultimately so much more. Scientific Innovations is place where it sometimes seems very little is held to account in the pursuit of its aims, with much more going on than there seems. Evan’s search becomes very cat and mouse at times and it’s heartbreaking to see not only him but also others reach their breaking points to try and put things right.

It’s a story that I really didn’t want to put down I finished in a day because no matter how hard I tried to stop to do other things, I just couldn’t.  The characters were amazingly written and well balanced, it was also the first time in a long time that I’ve read a book with a male protagonist.  Women aren’t under represented though and those present are fighting just as hard and fast as their male counterparts.  The story itself felt original, it’s an apocalyptic world but we never get bogged down with lots of irrelevant information about what led to the world of Tage being that way.  It is what it is and we hit the ground running.  The science isn’t overwhelming either, explanation is given when needed but again the author is very careful not to weigh down the pace and flow of the story with over complicated science speak.  It’s a bit angsty at times, but then we are dealing with 16/17 year olds so it’s forgiven!

Why the 4 stars then?  Well despite everything I loved about it there were a few sticking points.  Some of the writing could have been better edited “the doors opened silently, the sound barely detectable” stood out as a quite silly in an otherwise flawless read. Some scenes felt forced and unnecessary – like one between Evan and Syd and it also just ended really abruptly.  As it is a standalone it could have taken the time to really say goodbye to the characters but then I suppose that all comes down to preference, but these points did just bring down my enjoyment of what was essentially amazing read.

4*

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