Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young People for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Synopsis: 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 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 machine, and for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.
I was a big fan of Claudia Gray’s YA paranormal Evernight series and Defy the Stars, which is set in the year 2295, is about as different a departure as you can get, but it is every bit good, if not even better! To be honest, the first few chapters were a little slow for me and I was thinking “Oh God! How am I going to get through over 500 pages of this?” There’s a lot of sci-fi technology being introduced, and while I think fans of this genre wouldn’t give it a second thought, for someone like me it slowed the pace down a bit. But then I started getting completely falling for the two main characters Abel and Noemi and from then on, I was completely entranced. Noemi at first comes off as prickly, but she winds up being everything you could want in a heroine. She’s courageous, feisty, loyal, and more than willing to sacrifice herself to save her planet. Abel, definitely starts off as more machine than human and in some ways he appeared to me a sort of space age Pinocchio, but it’s soon apparent that there’s much more to him than meets the eye. He not only develops human emotions, but he displays such a witty sense of humor, that there were several instances that he had me laughing out loud. The relationship between these two go from distrustful enemies, to friends, to the beginnings of a lovely romance. The world-building is breathtaking and combines with very real questions of faith and religion, terrorism, the effects of climate change, colonialism, and the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotic. The ending is a perfect set up for the next book, but it left me wishing that the sequel was coming out now! Defy the Stars is a highly original and beautifully told story that definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. It will take you on a breathtaking journey across the galaxy, where you’ll discover dark conspiracies, sinister and powerful enemies, and unexpected friends and allies. I highly recommend it for both teens and adults who enjoy an exciting science fiction tale filled with characters you can’t help but fall in love with.