Title: Defy the Stars (Constellations #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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.
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So this is my second time writing this review because my original one, which took me HOURS to write, was deleted by some higher power that just loves being a pain in the butt. I think this is the perfect time to grab my pillow and scream as loudly as a can into it. Yeah, I’ll be back in just a second. *one year later* I’m totally not bitter right now as you can tell.
But you know what? I’m going to have a positive outlook and try to see the bright side of this heinous doing. There are only two good things that can possibly come out of this.
- I will hopefully write a better review. *crosses fingers*
- I can finally put my memorization skills to the test.
So without further ado, let’s jump into the review.
I was hesitant to pick up Defy the Stars, which is becoming a common occurrence for me and I’m not sure what to think of it, for two reasons. The first being that I’ve never read one of Claudia Gray’s books before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I say this, I’m mainly referring to her writing style. Would it all flow or would it be choppy? Is she more of a detail oriented writer or is she more of ‘straight to the point’ type of writer? I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the answers to these hard-hitting questions.
The other thing that had me a little bit hesitant was the genre of the book, which is science-fiction. Now, I have read several sci-fi books and while I did enjoy a majority them, it’s still not a genre that I willingly go towards. I always need that extra push to make me pick up a sci-fi book.
I’m going to be honest and say that I did not think that this book was going to as amazing as it was nor did I think I was going to love it as much as I do. Defy the Stars grabbed me by the heart, threw me to the mechs den, and then proceeded to rescue me in a spaceship. Sounds crazy, right? It may be crazy but trust me, that is exactly what this book does to you.
From the very beginning we are thrown into action. We meet Noemi, who is a teen soldier on her planet Genesis, and she is practicing for the Masada Run which will take place in three weeks. Twenty days. That is how much time she has left to live. Alongside her there are 74 other soldiers who have volunteered to take part in the suicide mission that is the Masada Run. Genesis has been at war with Earth for several years now in order to gain its independence but it has been futile. They don’t have the technology or the weaponry that Earth has, so 75 soldiers have decided to sacrifice their lives in hopes of giving Genesis sufficient time to come up with a viable plan.
When they are on this practice run, they are met with a mech attack. Mechs are basically robots who have been created to aid Earth and its colonies. There are 26 different mech models and they each serve a specific purpose. For example, the Queen and Charlie models are for warfare, the Tare model is for medical assistance, and the Peter and Fox models are for satisfying other pleasures. *wink* *wink* So back to the point, this surprise attack leads to Noemi getting off course and she is now stranded in space. With what little fuel is left in her fleet, she makes her way to the Daedalus, an Earth ship that has been abandoned for 30 years. It’s here where she meets Abel, a mech who she must decide to either kill or learn to trust in order to save her planet. Abel on the other hand, just wants to be reunited with his creator on Earth.
I loved the dynamic between Noemi and Abel from start to finish. It was nice to see how their preconceptions about each other and themselves changed throughout the course of their journey as well as their relationship.
“You are so much more than your creator.”
“I’m more than he made me to be, yes.”
“That’s not what I mean. You’re more than him. More human.”
I particularly loved how since Abel is a mech, he doesn’t perceive things in the same way that Noemi does, so it makes for some unintentionally hilarious dialogue. It’s safe to say that I almost died of laughter on multiple occasions. He is also a precious cinnamon roll that needs to be protected from the cruel world at all times. Another thing that can’t go without being mentioned is his love for Casablanca. He somehow manages to bring it up every couple of chapters which I find to be adorable.
“Abel, I can’t let you…sell your body.”
“The transaction is closer to a rental.”
The one word that comes to mind when I think of Noemi is FIERCE. She is so fiercely protective to the ones she loves that she will not go down until she has fought with her every last breath. She will also do everything humanly possible to try to save her planet. And I admire her so much for having these qualities. I was also able to relate to her a little bit more than I did with any other character due to the fact that she is of Hispanic descent just like me. We do see characters of other ethnicities but they are mainly side characters. I would have loved if the book had gone more in depth with these characters, so fingers crossed that we see more of them in the next book(s). It seems like we may based on the way it ended, it goes without saying that I am super excited!
Update: I am no longer bitter, in fact, I am over the moon that my original review got deleted because this one is so much better in my opinion.
I would recommend definitely this book if you are a fan of either Illuminae, The Lunar Chronicles, and/or the show Westworld. Defy the Stars is a brilliant mix all all three of those.
** I received an ARC of this book through trading. This does not affect my opinion of the book. Note that the quotes may change.**