Tuesday, April 4, 2017

iRobot Meets Starflight: Defy the Stars (Review)

She's a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She's willing to risk anything--including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.

He's a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that's begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.
Defy the Stars
Claudia Gray
Pub Date: 4/4/17
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

I remember my first foray into the world of Claudia Gray. It was the era of the Evernight series, and a part of my bookish life that firmly remains in the past. While not crazy about vampires in a creepy, Gothic boarding school, I went totally ga-ga over Defy the Stars. Space battles and butt-kicking mechs is part of what I love about science-fiction and a simmering romance on the side is icing on the cake! It's like iRobot and Battlestar Galactica met with Melissa Lander's Starflight and decided to have a party!

Claudia Gray gently rolls into the story by introducing Noemi Vidal in the heat of battle against a swarm of mechs and Abel, the first mech with advanced intelligence, is abandoned in an old Earth ship. In just a few scenes she defines the parameters of this world. In an effort to keep Earth from pumping Noemi's home world, Genesis, full of toxins and ultimately killing it they fight to remain free of Earth's control. They have planned a Masada Run to incapacitate the gate that allows travel between Earth's galaxy and Genesis', effectively giving them more time to regroup. However, one chance encounter with an extremely advanced mech gives Noemi the opportunity of a lifetime. With Abel's knowledge she will be able to completely destroy the gate and save her fellow young soldiers from the death run.

I wasn't immediately captured by the story until Abel and Noemi set off on their journey to save her world. As the two travel through the Loop to other worlds Abel explores his newfound sense of humanity. He desires to return to his creator, but his programming requires that he serve Noemi as the highest human authority in his vicinity. Noemi has been taught all her life that mechs are just machines, then she meets Abel who defies that logic. Their perspectives change as their experiences together cause them to question their beliefs and understandings. The war between Genesis and Earth has dire consequences for many in the worlds Noemi travels through. All the compassion and grace that she thought she couldn't feel spurs her to accomplish her goal even faster.

Where I expected just another interesting science-fiction read, Defy the Stars takes readers fruther than an action-packed space opera. Claudia Gray forces readers to place themselves in Noemi's shoes and wonder what Abel must feel as he ponders his own existence. I'm excited for the next flash installment in this series, I can't imagine where Gray will take us next!
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review: Gauntlet by Holly Jennings



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