Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Action/Adventure
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.
I am a huge fan of Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You (and the rest of the trilogy). It is beautiful and captivating, and I expected nothing less from Defy the Stars. Though I really enjoyed the book, I was a bit underwhelmed. By no means was it bad, I just had really high expectations, many of which were still met.
I will start by mentioning that the book was written in third person, which I am not a fan of. I feel it leaves you disconnected from the characters and less immersed in their world. THAT SAID, I really liked Noemi and Abel. Ironically, Abel seemed to be more lifelike and have more emotion than Noemi, even though he was a mech (their term for an android or human like robot). At times, I would forget that he wasn’t a human. Now that is good writing!
Noemi had her emotional times, but she was very reserved. I just needed a little more to connect with, to make me want her to succeed. I still really liked her personality, though. She was extremely tough and willing to fight for what she believed. That’s admirable, I want to see a girl who’s not afraid to put forth some effort and make a difference, especially one in Noemi’s circumstances. I really liked how she was always willing to do what was necessary.
Finally, Noemi and Abel made a great pair! They worked very well together and learned many, many things from each other. For Abel, it was that humans are far more complex than he ever imagined. Noemi discovered that mechs were more than just artificial intelligence and battle strategies. I did begin to see Noemi grow and progress as the story went on. I felt she became more likable.
“Your soul is bigger than your programming.”
Plot & Storyline
Noemi has a specific number of days to complete her mission, and I found that to provide a sense of time to the story. Sometimes books don’t provide the reader with any idea as to how fast time is passing, and you can think that only a day has passed when really it has been a month. And boom! You’ve been left in the dust! But here, I was right alongside Noemi and Abel flying through space.
(*This could be a minor spoiler, but it’s not life changing or anything. Proceed at your own risk!*) Throughout the story, Noemi and Abel travel to all of the different planets in their system. Each one added a little something to the story that wasn’t there before, which kept it moving forward. They meet new people and gain a new reason for continuing with their plan. At times, I wished we could just get on with the rest of the book, but each stop made the story the way it was, and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
I found two huge themes in this book: fight for what you believe and be true to yourself. Noemi was powerful and unafraid of doing what she believed was right. She was not going to stray from her plan or do anything to jeopardize it. She was strong and independent and knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it.
Abel spent much of his life being loyal to his creator, but he learns to believe in himself. To me, that is far more important than obeying someone else. He begins to trust his instincts and go beyond his programming and do what is right. Together, Noemi and Abel are basically unstoppable.
“We are this world. Its next generation. If you’re not trying to save us, then what exactly are you trying to save?”
I found Defy the Stars to be really great! It had many elements of science fiction and outer space. Noemi and Abel became wonderful characters that evolved throughout the story. Their world is incredibly captivating and very well written. You will be sucked in after the first page, and unable to let go even after the story is over! A book about humanity and finding your purpose in a universe filled with destruction, there’s nothing better!