Tag Archives: Space Peril

Defy the Stars – another stellar YA SciFi read 

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Defy the Stars – another stellar YA SciFi read 

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.


Goodreads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

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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Chimera – YA SciFi for fans of Red Rising and Ender’s Game

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Chimera – YA SciFi for fans of Red Rising and Ender’s Game

I think that fans of Ender’s Game and the Red Rising Trilogy will enjoy N. J. Tanger’s Chimera.  The main characters are underdogs destined to save the society who has spent the last several generations trying to atone for a debt that got them kicked off of planet Earth.  It is ripe with oppression, intrigue, and some kids getting schooled the hard way.  This is the first in a pair that has already been published, so when you get to the end, and scream “Noooooo” into the night, you can just download the next one and proceed with the adventure.

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Goodreads Summary

On the verge of extinction, the Stephen’s Point colony must take desperate measures to save themselves. Without communication or resupply from Earth for the last fifteen years, the colony has but one chance to survive: restore the ancient starship Chimera and train a young crew to pilot her. The fate of the entire colony rests on the shoulders of a pair of misfits: Theo Puck, a sixteen-year-old hacker with a gift for speaking to machines, and fifteen-year-old Selena Samuelson, a brash but talented pilot with a dark secret in her past.

To Theo, the Mandate to crew the Chimera seems like a game—one he isn’t invited to play. A brutal murder changes everything. Left with no choice, Theo has to complete the Selection training and make it aboard the Chimera or face terrible consequences.

Selena wants to do what she does best—fly. Piloting her father’s ore trawler is the only life she’s known before a horrifying accident strands her aboard the Hydra, the station responsible for rebuilding the Chimera. Forced into the Mandate testing against her will, Selena encounters an unexpected ally, forever changing the way she sees the Chimera and herself.

Forced to make brutal choices in order to survive, Theo and Selena’s fates intertwine. But behind the scenes, someone else sets into motion events that could destroy everything they’re fighting to protect.

My Thoughts

The first fifteen percent just didn’t really grab me, but I’m glad I stuck it out.  Essentially there are two characters the book follows – Theo and Selena.  They are pretty typical for underdog characters – loyal to the ones the connect with, betrayed by the ones they believed in, and reluctant to take up the mantle of greatness fate seems to hold in store.  I liked them both, but it is the foul mouth Selena I found most intriguing.  She is tough and determined and she doesn’t think she needs anyone.  She is a bit of a flat character, and it feels like she plays second fiddle to Theo’s storyline, but I just have a feeling she is going to be the key in the end.  I liked the concept of the story as well, but I was surprised that the big event I expected – flying off in the Chimera – doesn’t happen in this book.  Instead, this volume essentially establishes setting and characters, and, while there is plenty of action, I anticipate that the biggest events are left to appear in the follow up books.  I found that there were a lot of surprises I didn’t see coming in the story, so just when it seems on a predictable route, things get shaken up.  Overall, it was engaging and I am curious enough that I will pick up the next book.  There is some language, but it is suitable for high school readers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.