Gemini Cell by Myke Cole Book Review

The adage goes, "Don't judge the book by its cover." But seeing the cover in netgalley, once again, I didn't give a fuck about the famous old adage. The cover art looks seamless, beautiful and awesome. And true to my expectations of the cover, I was not disappointed upon finishing the book. Gemini Cell is a gritty, gripping action-packed book that will leave you wired from start to finish.

Love technology? Love military? Love... magic? If you want something that incorporates the 3, then look no further. I've never known anyone who could illustrate so well a marriage of science with magic than Myke Cole. And of military for that matter.

Gemini Cell Book Review
Genre: Fantasy, Military
Author: Myke Cole
Series: Shadow Ops #0.5, Reawakening #1
Expected Publication: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Ace
Edition: eBook (ARC)
ISBN: 0425269647

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Gemini Cell takes place in the SHADOW OPS universe, but is a prequel, taking place many years before the events in CONTROL POINT.

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with an all-new epic adventure in his highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe—set in the early days of the Great Reawakening, when magic first returns to the world and order begins to unravel…

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself—and his family—in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty—as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realizes his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark—especially about the fates of his wife and son…


This book's dedication:

For Murph the Protector
You made the right call, and then you made the right call.

I think I'm getting addicted to anything related to Murph the Protector. I've pretty much watched most Modern Warfare films that I've ran out of material that now I resort to books.

Gemini Cell is my first book of Myke Cole and it was an awesome experience. I'm looking forward to more books by this guy. This novel precedes the events of his finished trilogy, the Shadow Ops series, and I'm more than happy to have gained access into Cole's amazing military universe through this.

In this book, a woman could be a member of the Navy SEAL. What's more? This female member, Ahmad is a Chief Petty Officer! Meaning, she's the squad leader in an operation of an unconventional warfare. Women being combatant and a leader in a Special Unit is just one of the amazing things in Myke Cole's military universe.

It was better to be judged by twelve than carry by eight. When in doubt, shoot.

The protagonist of the story is Petty Officer First Class James Schweitzer (called Jim), an accomplished sniper. All I can say is that... I like him! And I liked whatever happened to him.

Before we get to the plot, first, let me rant about the part that I never enjoyed in this book, Jim's wife Sarah.

I don't know but I just don't like needy or clingy women. Imagine this, her husband is a Navy SEAL while she's an accomplished painter. Both of them have something to do in their lives but you know what? She's not satisfied! She's too whiny! She keeps complaining about Jim being not always there, of how much she worries of his mortality and whatnots, even asking Jim to quit his job.

To Jim, being a SEAL operator is what makes his identity. It's his accomplishment in life. Doing operations, a rifle in hand, he finally has something he knows he's best at and his team knew that. Sarah should never take that away from him. And I would like to tell her this, "Hey bitch, how about I cut both your hands so you may not be able to paint anymore?" Of course she'd still be able to paint albeit inconveniently.

Yeah I know that death (SEALs could die on the job anytime) is way too final but still, leave the man be!

How long does it take for a woman to grieve? I love philandering women in menage stories but not in this kind of story. I think that Jim's wife is just a cheat! Seriously, you deal with your grief by having sex with another man shortly after the love of your life dies? Gross! The wife's concept of love is twisted. You'll see soon why Jim's death early in the story is important.
Her soul loved James Schweitzer's soul with everything she had.

Oh, really? And she had the gall to fuck with his best pal? Ugh!

You ask me why I complain too much about this situation. I guess this is the part where I have to talk about Gemini Cell. Gemini Cell is a secret military facility where an old soul (called a jinn) is merged with another soul of a fresh cadaver. The process involves a Sorceror raising a body from the dead. Since this process is done by lots of people across the globe (probably by those with the proclivity to do evil deeds), the US Military has to do the same as a counter-defensive stance. But what better way than to raise the dead body of an elite soldier complete with the patriotic mentality?

Not only do these conscious zombies return to the living world not feeling any pain but they return stronger, equally with heightened senses. Basically, they are like vampires except that they don't lust for blood and they don't sparkle during the day, I mean not burn when hit by sunlight. But Ninip the jinn has bloodlust because of thousands of years of suffering while his soul was drifting "in the void" and so this bloodlust surges with the other soul as well.

Because it is Jim's dead body that the jinn occupies, Jim thinks it right for him to control it. Oftentimes, the jinn would win over his body and so, Jim gets lost in the void himself. And it is in this moment where Jim would look for his wife with the symbolism of rose petals or the smell of its perfume.

There is nothing. Ashes. Do you see what comes of clinging to the past? Why moon over old loves? Children? There is only the path ahead, and we gain neither gold nor honor by looking elsewhere.

Jim has so much love for his wife, a love that is so superficial with this great romantic symbol. As a reader, I should feel hopeful for Jim when this happens. But instead, I wanted to puke! I'd want to gag at his loving a woman who does not deserve him.

I really tried my best to be sympathetic with his wife. I even watched The Messenger (2009) and Brothers (2009) to understand the mindset of a woman grieving for her dead military man. But no, I still have the revulsion when it comes to the romantic aspect of the story. This would have affected me negatively in rating this novel but I cannot turn my back on the gritty realism of such a situation of a military man with his wife.

Okay, rant over.

I really don't know how to go over the things that I like AFTER THE RANT but here are some bullets which I saved while still reading the book:
  • I like the recollection of Ninip's memories part. He used to be a King in a place similar to Egypt where he was treated as a God. Like Jim, he's a warrior.
  • Nice bonding of two souls. Even though he's quite a pain in the ass, I love Ninip's bond with Jim.
  • Very logical, the two souls have mutual usage of each other. The jinn for the magic and Schweitzer the rationale and the body. They both needed each other. You'll learn more later in the book.
  • I find Ninip a funny tagalong. His thoughts are so singular like that of a child.
  • Jim and Ninip gets to fight someone adept at Physiomancy, Nightshade, a body-shifter.
  • Although hailing from the ancient world, Ninip is quite a fast learner. He already knew about the story of Dracula (though I don't know how) and the word "trafficking" is already up in his vocabulary.
  • It's quite fascinating that to assuage Ninip's concept of women, Schweitzer read him Alcott's Little Women.
  • I learned some mechanics... like driving. I don't know how to drive but author made me feel how it's like to drive.
You are new to death, and so it is understandable that you cling to life. Eons in the void taught me that life is a fleeting thing. There are regrets, yes. Loops to close, as you said. But in the end, there is only what you are at the roots. That is the only thing that does not change. A man can be anything: a farmer, a potter, a scribe. They are equal in your American eyes. So, why not a warrior? It is the root of who you are. In this we are the same. Your brother, you and I. This is why we are joined, why you remember him so keenly. It is a piece of yourself. Do not grieve. Let the branches do as the root commands. You are a warrior. Fight.

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