Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publishing Info: April 2017 by Hot Key Books (first published 2017)
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
Noemi is a young and fearless soldier of Genesis, a colony planet of a dying Earth. But the citizens of Genesis are rising up – they know that Earth’s settlers will only destroy this planet the way they destroyed their own. And so a terrible war has begun.
When Noemi meets Abel, one of Earth’s robotic mech warriors, she realizes that Abel himself may provide the key to Genesis’ salvation. Abel is bound by his programming to obey her – even though her plan could result in his destruction. But Abel is no ordinary mech. He’s a unique prototype, one with greater intelligence, skill and strength than any other. More than that, he has begun to develop emotions, a personality and even dreams. Noemi begins to realise that if Abel is less than human, he is more than a machine. If she destroys him, is it murder? And can a cold-blooded murder be redeemed by the protection of a world?
Stranded together in space, they go on a whirlwind adventure through Earth’s various colony worlds, alongside the countless Vagabonds who have given up planetary life altogether and sail forever between the stars. Each step brings them closer – both to each other and to the terrible decision Noemi will have to make about her world’s fate, and Abel’s.
When I received this book as a gift, I was really excited to read it. I love science fiction, but somehow have managed to only really read dystopian or apocalyptic sub-genre sci-fi. This is coincidental rather than deliberate, as I love space operas such as Star Wars and The Expanse on film and TV. So this book, although in one of my favourite genres, looked quite different to other sci-fi I’d read before.
Thank goodness I received it as a gift, because if I’d picked it up in a bookshop, it might have ended up back on the shelf. It’s important to note here that I absolutely loved this book. However, the opening chapters are definitely the weakest point for me. Therefore, if I’d picked it up in the bookshop and read the first few pages, or however much time I had to read, I might not have bought it. And that would have been a travesty because then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this amazing novel.
The problems I had with the opening chapters could partly be down to getting used to the writing style – the novel is told in chapters that alternate between the point of view of Noemi and Abel. However, I don’t think that’s totally the case with this one. Once the problematic first few chapters were out of the way, I instantly got into the way it was written, so I don’t think that’s what the issue was. There were two main issues.