Simply stunning! "Defy the Stars" is a beautiful and incredible YA sci-fi. We begin with Noemi, a 17-year-old soldier from Genesis, a planet formerly settled by Earth and now engaged in full combat with Earth. Earth is dying and they want to take over Genesis. Genesis is free from pollutions and well maintained- they are worried Earth will destroy their planet too. Noemi is one of the soldiers who has volunteered to go on The Masada Run- a suicide mission intended to buy Genesis more time from Earth's attacks. Genesis is connected to the other planets of the Loop through gates in space. It is through these gates that the "mechs" or mechanical robots from Earth (named between B-Z, each letter having a different purpose; e.g. Charlies and Queens are the fighters) come.
While doing a scouting mission for the Masada Run, they detect some Earth mechs who have come through to attack. They must fight, and in the process, Noemi's adoptive sister, Esther, is attached. Noemi must save her at any cost and flies onto an abandoned spacecraft from Earth. Little does she know, there is a mech onboard who has been stranded for 30 years. Abel is something different and something special. There had been rumors of an A-model, but no one has actually heard of one. Abel also carries knowledge that could prevent the Masada Run and needless loss of life.
Together, Abel and Noemi embark on a quest throughout the galaxy and around the loop to save Genesis. Along their quest, there are some big questions the book poses, such as what it means to be human and have a soul- but also what is life and love. It is a beautifully intricate tale that grips you from the first chapters and carries you throughout. The book also addresses some other big points in terms of humanity's future and values as they travel from planet to planet- including some big things like elitism (intelligence and economic), refugees, terrorism, etc.
This is absolutely brilliant book, and I loved it! I am so sad that it ended; Gray has really outdone herself on this one. If you loved her Firebird series, you will love this one even more! The ending is not final but open, and I wish so much the next book was already here! This is an incredible series, and I cannot wait to continue it. This is definitely one of my newest favorite books!
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.