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.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, published April 4th, 2017, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
If you like scientific jargon, fascinating but not entirely realistic sci-fi premises, and lots of romance in your sci-fi, then you should read Claudia Gray’s work. Luckily, back in 2015, that formula worked out for me, and I fell in love with Gray’s debut, A Thousand Pieces of You. In fact, I’m pretty sure that formula would’ve worked out for me a second time if I hadn’t felt so detached from the events and characters of Defy the Stars.
From the beginning, the third-person POV didn’t work out for me. I didn’t feel the same closeness that I felt with A Thousand Pieces of You‘s Marguerite, and the narrative felt clunky and stale instead of efficient and fluid. What kept me going was my love of the idea of this novel.
If nothing else, Gray dreams up amazing worlds. It was amazing to see what she came up with this time around and the self-conflict that the characters faced. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters through the writing, but I found myself invested in their situation. Toward the end of Defy the Stars, Noemi and Abel both have to choose: their missions or each other. This was truly heartbreaking to see, and if the entire book had been written like this, I think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more, but the pacing left something to be desired for the rest of the story.
Despite my lack of affection for the characters, I did want to commend Gray for how different they were from the ones that show up in A Thousand Pieces of You. In all honesty, I couldn’t quite love Noemi, as much as I wanted to, because she reminded me too much of Lada from And I Darken, whom I adore. Noemi was similar in terms of actions, but I couldn’t feel any of her struggle. She felt more like a robot to me than Abel, and more often than not, I wanted more emotion, thought, feeling from her. I did like how single-minded she was in her quest, but she was one of those characters that I appreciate more than I enjoy.
Abel was a little less special. I could see aspects of him in the love interests from A Thousand Pieces of You, but that wasn’t a complete loss for me. I like Gray’s love interests, and he had his own strengths and flaws. Looking back objectively, I can see myself recommending this one. It’s not a bad read, it ends bittersweetly, and it’s more or less entertaining once you get past the first fifty pages or so, but Defy the Stars didn’t inspire any love in me. The whole thing felt very meh, and I would much rather recommend Gray’s other novels or the Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.