Book: Defy the Stars (Constellation 1) by Claudia Gray
Release Date: April 4th 2017
Tags: Sci-Fi / Dystopia / Artificial Intelligence / Planets / Space Travel / Space Ships / Trigger Warning / Terrorism
Other books by this author I reviewed
A Thousand Pieces of You / Ten Thousand Skies Above You / A Million Worlds With You
She’s a soldier — Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, 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’s advanced programming has 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 bought Defy the Stars last year as it got such a pleasant buzz and I had read the author’s Firebird trilogy. I kept my expectations quite low as I felt with that cover that this was going to be more of a romance than anything else. But I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the book overall.
The book is written in present tense third person point of view. Present tense always makes me pause because I automatically correct it in my head to past tense. Am I the only one who does that? Anyway as the book continued however I stopped thinking about it and was swept up in the story.
We start with Noemi who finds a 30 year old mech in an abondened spaceship as she tries to save her friend who got hurt in the space battle. This mech called Abel is however a very advanced version of what is known to her. Mech’s are her enemy in the war that her planet has with Earth. While her ancestors were originally from Earth they have divided from their home planet as they do not agree with it. Through Abel she finds a way to help out her own planet in the war…
While I enjoyed a lot about this story I can see that the world building is somewhat lacking. At least in the history element of the war. There is too much glossed over there for me to really believe in his war, that the stakes really are that high for Noemi and her planet. And why did the war start up again after 27 years?
But as it is set in space we do get some excellent space adventures and went to the other planets that humans have settled upon. I found it interesting to see the various communities and that there are more rebels than just Noemi’s planet. That there are more fighting for a cause. Unlike others I don’t think that the book condoned terrorism. And I think there is a lot more left to discover in this angle.
I think what really sold this book to me was however Abel. This mech that started feeling human. That started dreaming and was quite sarcastic to Noemi. He stole my heart completely within the first couple of pages. With Noemi I wasn’t quite sure about her as she seemed to have a one track mind. But as the story progressed some layers were added to her. I also quite enjoyed everyone they picked up along the way and I hope we get to see more of them and their interactions in the next one.
My biggest fear was that the romance was going to take over the book but that didn’t happen at all. There is some undercurrent there at the end as Abel sorts his feelings and I wish that naming of love would have been slower. But there is no real romance established between the two characters.