Gemini Cell by Myke Cole
|Book Name:||Gemini Cell|
|Publisher(s):||Ace (US) Headline (UK)|
|Formatt:||Paperback / Ebook|
|Release Date:||January 27, 2015|
With each book, Myke Cole levels up, and Gemini Cell is no exception. This is Cole’s best work to date—a blending of magic, action, and romance that fans of Cole and first-timers alike will love.
Gemini Cell takes place before Cole’s Shadow Ops trilogy, but it is not a prequel. This is a completely separate story with all new characters that just happens to take place early in the days of the Great Awakening, when magic is barely understood let alone categorized and slotted into a bureaucracy.
Jim Schweitzer is a U.S. Navy SEAL who is very good at his job. He isn’t some sword-swinging, charge into the enemy, Conan-style warrior. He’s a professional who has spent years training to be precise, patient, and part of a team. Unfortunately, when his team goes on a raid, things go bad, and Jim soon finds the enemy on his literal doorstep, putting him, his wife Sarah, and his son in danger. A danger Jim doesn’t survive.
But that’s only the first couple of chapters. Jim is reanimated thanks to a powerful sorcerer who has twinned Jim with a jinn, giving him super powers and making him the latest member of a tip-top-secret group, the Gemini Cell. Now Jim is leading the fight against those who would use magic to attack the U.S., including the very same enemy who attacked his family, all the while trying to learn what actually happened to his wife and son during that attack.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence for a book titled Gemini Cell, but what I enjoyed most were the relationships between character pairings. The most crucial pairing of the book is between Jim and his wife Sarah. Sarah may be a very unconventional Navy wife (pink hair, tattoo sleeves, artist), but she is every bit as strong and determined and fierce as her husband. Where Cole really excels in this book is describing Jim and Sarah’s love for one another. It’s a very authentic love, detailed with struggles, passion, and complications. Perhaps this is an atypical feature of a military action story, but I think the novel is better off for it. In fact, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the romance angle—probably because it felt real, adult, and complicated. It wasn’t cutely or saccharine or a way to give the hero a damsel to save.
And the second pairing I really enjoyed was Jim and his jinn, Ninip. The two of them share Jim’s body, forcing them into an intimacy that heightens the differences between them: Jim the human, the precise scalpel, and patriot driven by his love of family paired with Ninip the millennia-old god-king, the berserker, and egoist driven by his love of conquest. The two fight for control of the body, and all its powers. I loved seeing how Cole skillfully dance between references to him, it, and their in those scenes. And it was in those internal moments when I learned the most about Jim: how he breaks down problems, what really drives him, and how keeps fighting.
And of course, watching that nearly unstoppable, super-powered, highly trained operative work (in both Jim mode and jinn mode) is exciting and, at times, terrifying. Fans of Cole know he can plot a fast-moving, page-turning story that you’ll read late into the night. Cole has a knack for writing action sequences that are crisp, clear, and exciting. Even more important, those sequences have consequences, and they change the characters involved, whether that Jim coming to terms with becoming a sort of zombie/Frankenstein’s monster or Sarah struggling to deal with the attack and how it damaged her family irreparably.
Whether this is your fourth Myke Cole book or your first, go pick up Gemini Cell right away. It’s the best yet, but like the rest of Cole’s books, it makes me eager for the next one.
Gemini Cell is out tomorrow (January 27, 2015). You can pre-order it from Amazon (US/UK), Barnes & Noble (US/UK) or your favorite book retailer. To learn more about Myke’s latest book and his original Shadow Ops series you can check out his website or follow him on Twitter.