Claudia Gray’s Defy the Stars is another amazing addition to the YA SciFi genre. If you enjoyed Ami Kauffman’s Illuminae, you definitely want to give this book a look. I gave this book my rare five star rating because it grabbed my imagination and high jacked my evening from the first chapter.
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 help her 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 a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.
What a great read! Plenty of action and suspense kept me glued to this one for a straight read through. There is attention and detail given to the building of characters and a fascinating new world. I cared about these characters and the conflicts that drove them. I liked the fact that the relationship between the main characters is believable despite the seeming impossibility of feelings and AI. It is also a timely read – Westworld has us questioning what it means to be a human while current political debates have us thinking about isolationism, terrorism, and the environment. This book does a great job of giving readers room to consider these issues in a thoughtful way without ruining the story for those who just want a good escape read. I’m definitely adding it to my high school classroom library wishlist, and I have already seen it in our high school library (but it won’t be there for long once I start talking it up). Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+, but it will appeal to adult readers of YA as well.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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