Illuminae. Because, you should. Also, this book won't be everything that it can be for you without already knowing that story. Sure, you probably could get away without it - but you really don't want to. So this whole post is going to assume you know the what's going on here (basically, spoilers. Deal with it.)
This takes place just after the events of Illuminae, but on the Heimdall. Kady and Ezra and whomever else is left from the first book is on the Hypatia headed toward the Heimdall. What they don't know is that BeiTech is sending drone ships to destroy them before they can reach the Heimdall, as they are witnesses to what BeiTech did back in Kerenza. In order for these ships to get to the Hypatia, they need to go through the wormhole created and maintained by Heimdall... and so that there are no witnesses to this little breach of legality, operatives have been sent ahead to Heimdall. Hanna Donnelly is the Captain's daughter, and quickly realizes the situation is really bad on their station. Her only allies are Nik, who is basically her drug dealer and is also connected to the mafia-like organization on the station and Ella, Nik's cousin who is a computer ninja though confined to a wheelchair and oxygen tank. Hanna and Nik are fighters, clever through and through, but it never looks good for them. And let's not forget about the crazy parasitic worm like things that are also loose in the station, killing as they go.
Yeah, this is a crazy story. It took me a moment to remember or figure out again who the big players are and what the motivations were for these big events. And then the intensity of the story takes over. It is told in the same fashion as before - all told in "found documents". I know some people have had trouble or an all-out aversion to this, but I think it's brilliant. You never know where the next part of the story is coming from, as each method provides a different perspective and you are never really in any of the character's heads. This time, part of the found documents is Hanna's journal with gorgeous illustrations by Marie Lu.
I was thrown by a few of the events in this story, and couldn't believe when it was fully revealed. I totally got into in, and read the last hundred pages or so as quickly as I could. Then, of course, the cliff hanger where we are promised to find out the rest of their story. Gah! I need to know the rest, like, NOW!
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
Series: Illuminae Files #2