He isn’t supposed to hope. Not like humans do. Because hope can hurt, and yet Abel can’t stop looking out the window, wishing desperately for someone to him, so he will no longer be alone.
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.
About the Book
Defy the Stars by Claudia Grey
Series Constellation #1
Format Hardcover, 503 pages
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 4th 2017)
Read June 17 – June 18, 2017
Defy the Stars is set in the distant future, and Earth is nearly uninhabitable while colonies of humans have settled on other planets, like the environmentally pristine Genesis, where humans fight off invasion from Earth’s robot army. In the midst of war, Noemi, a solider of Genesis, meets Abel, a robotic mech warrior from earth. And she realizes that he might hold the key that she needs to save her home.
Claudia Gray is adept at sci-fi and romance, and she continues to merge the usually incongruous genres well in this opposites-attract, slow-burning love story that unfolds as a tale of escape, adventure, and self-discovery. Gray also explores issues of faith and discrimination. Noemi, like all Genesis-born, has been raised to believe “mechs” (AI) are soulless abominations used by amoral Earthlings, but Abel is alternately snarky, smug, arrogant, funny, truthful, and kind. Noemi and Abel’s banter is sarcastic and humorous, even as Abel’s primary directive is to follow her orders. So he makes her rethink her stance on AI and whether he’s more human or machine, while she makes him rethink his programming and feel.
Gray laudably manages to make Defy the Stars diverse — Noemi is of Latino and Polynesian descent, Abel is white and speaks with a faint British accent like his maker, and supporting characters range in race, ethnicity, and religion. Noemi is a particularly multifaceted character; it’s easy to see what Abel finds remarkable in her. And Abel may look perfect, but looks aren’t dwelled upon, since Noemi (and all Genesis residents) are described like a mash-up of Veronica Roth’s Abnegation and Dauntless: self-sacrificing, faithful, and slightly puritanical but also brave and ready to defend their homeland at all costs.
A few comments about the length of the book: yes, it’s over 500 pages. Yes, it’s going to deter a lot of readers who prefer books 300 pages or less. However, if you’re one of those who prefer shorter books, I absolutely implore you to pick up Defy the Stars, despite the length. The plot pacing in this novel is spot-on and action packed as the characters hop from planet to planet. Furthermore, Gray swaps perspective between Noemi and Abel in each chapter, which helps to speed it up further.
If it’s not clear, I absolutely recommend Defy the Stars to everyone. Like…everyone. For science fiction fans, you’re gonna love it. For folks who aren’t science fiction fans (yet), I recommend it. Noemi and Abel’s story is so compelling, readers will be eager to find out what happens in the next installment.