Defy the Stars is a YA science fiction novel (possibly the first of a trilogy?) by Claudia Gray.
Noemi Vidal is a teenage soldier, fighting in a war for the independence of her planet, Genesis, from its master, Earth. During a battle, Noemi encounters a shipwreck carrying an unusual passenger; a super advanced android named Abel. Though he is loyal to Earth, Abel is forced by his programming to obey Noemi, and they go on a planet-hopping adventure to secure a device that will free Genesis from Earth’s control forever.
I loved this book! The setup is interesting, since the main POV character is from a planet that is at war with our own planet Earth. It feels a bit funny to see Earth as the bad guy! I also have a soft spot for AI characters and robots, so I was really interested in Abel’s character development through the story.
The main characters are both likeable and well written. Noemi is a serious-minded fighter, dedicating her life to fighting for her planet, going as far as signing up for a suicide mission. Abel is an artificial mech, but has a very human personality and has puppy-like loyalty to his creator/father. They are on opposite sides of a war, so neither trusts the other and most of the book is spent learning to see their shipmate as a person instead of an enemy. There’s a small amount of romance near the end, but not so much that it’s overpowering or sappy.
One question I had was the pronunciation of Noemi’s name…”No-mee?” No-eh-mee?” I eventually decided on “No-mee”, like the character on Sense 8.
The only thing in the book that made me go hmmmm was the religion aspect. Noemi is a religious person, and planet Genesis seems to value religion of all kinds very highly. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m not used to seeing real life religion in a sci-fi book. I’m glad it was only part of Noemi’s character development, and it didn’t get preachy or interfere with the story.
Anyway, I enjoyed this book a lot, and I’m hoping there will be a sequel! I really want to see more of these characters and their relationship.
Cover report: The cover features a black star field, with what looks like an exploding silver planet forming the title of the book. Though it doesn’t give much of an idea what the book is about, it’s a very pretty and eye-catching cover. I give this cover a B.
Typo police: I thought I had found a typo, but it turns out that the book is correct. A character talks about having a video “cued up”, and I thought it was supposed to be “queued up”. Turns out “cue” is correct. That’s one thing I love about reading – you’re always learning!
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