DEFY THE STARS
Series: Defy the Stars #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: April 4th 2017
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.
After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.
Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.
“We were both looking for each other the whole time.”
Defy the Stars is a fast-paced and action-packed YA Sci-Fi novel. It has an interest premise that is well-executed, layered characters with unique voices, and lots and lots of space fights. The story is engrossing for the most part and it brings up a lot of existential questions along the way, although the musings and talks about religion and the rushed ending are a little bit of a bummer.
Claudia Gray knows how to write good Sci-Fi. She did a fantastic job with Lost Stars, and this follows along similar lines. The world-building is complex and intriguing. The concept of ‘mechs’ is truly one of the most fascinating parts of the novel, especially with the development of one of the main characters, Abel.
Defy the Stars starts with a bang. One of my statues update right when I first started reading this said: “what a rollercoaster of a beginning”. That is the best way I can describe the first few chapters of this novel. The story starts with an explosion and blows you away, haha. It is very easy to get into the story, and the pace holds steady throughout most of the book.
Our main characters are also great! Noemi is strong and brave, and reading about her questioning her values as she got to know more about the world is an enriching experience. And Abel? Well, Abel is a favorite. It’s a delight reading about his journey and seeing how much he changes from the point Noemi found him to the end of the book. He really discovers who he is, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the book.
I did have a hard time with all the religion talk. Noemi’s faith is important to her, but I guess I couldn’t really reconcile God with a book about space robots. It felt very odd-placed to me, and at times disrupted the flow of the story.
There’s a very light and slow burn romance in this novel. It builds up and it is developed throughout the story, but only really gets addressed later on. It’s sweet and well written, and it makes for a really nice moment between the two main characters. It’s one thing I’m looking forward to reading about in the next installments.
Another small problem is the ending. It’s open ended, although I don’t really consider it a cliffhanger, which makes sense since this is only book one in a series. It feels so rushed, though. There is all this buildup of tension through the story, but when it comes time for the resolution? It kind of falls flat on its face a little bit. It doesn’t have the desired impact on the reader, or at least it didn’t on me.
Overall, Defy the Stars is a good and entertaining read. I definitely recommend it to YA Sci-Fi fans, especially those who enjoyed Gray’s own Lost Stars. I’m curious about what comes next for Abel and Noemi. 🙂