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.
Defy the Stars (Untitled #1)Featured
What I Liked:
Claudia Gray is hands down one of the best at world-building (or is it space-exploring?) and storytelling. It's almost unbelievable how quickly I was drawn towards the different worlds and their fights for survival against the domineering, dying Earth. I could almost touch the stars, meteors, black holes, and gates to enter different galaxies. The book became my own spaceship and it was a joy to ride alongside the main characters, Noemi and Abel.
The characters are indeed my favorite aspect of Defy the Stars and you are completely missing out if you haven't met Noemi and Abel yet. This unlikely enemy duo made me laugh so hard and overall feel extremely happy while in their company. Noemi is a soldier set on protecting her planet from Earth while Abel is a mech with developing human emotions. They begin on different sides, but slowly begin to lean on each other in order to survive and protect what they love. In the end, their friendship and interactions are so pure and lovely that it hurt to say goodbye to them for the moment while I wait for the sequel to come out.
Oh, but I just have to fangirl over Abel for a second longer because who would have thought a robot could be so terribly cute and swoony? Definitely did not think it possible and I'm super curious to learn how Abel continues to develop as a mech with a human soul and how he continues to battle with his inner conflicts and the danger he represents to the rest of humanity. I just cannot imagine him staying safe for long and this hurts me so much!
Defy the Stars is exciting and heart-warming and I cannot wait to read more! There is a whole lot of universe to explore and my heart quickens at the thought of learning what Noemi and Abel will have to face next. One can only hope they come out of it unscathed! In other words, Defy the Stars is an unputdownable must read!
I couldn’t be more aboard if I tried and I’d like to start my review off with saying that Claudia Gray does not disappoint!
Defy the Stars starts with Noemi Vidal, a seventeen-year-old soldier fighting to save her planet. In a matter of weeks Noemi is expected to give her life in order to give her people the time they need to come up with a way to win a war against the humans and androids/mechs of Earth.
Abel is an advanced mech that nobody knows exists except for his creator and master, Professor Burton Mansfield. Abel has been trapped on a deserted ship in space for 30 years until Noemi stumbles aboard searching for help. Due to being rescued Abel allows for Noemi to become his temporary master believing it to be a step closer to getting back to Mansfield. Although Noemi uses her new position to her advantage and drags Abel across the universe in order to save her own life and her planet.
What I loved about this book was that Earth was the villain. Earth got greedy, created mechs and once they had destroyed their planet they took over another one. This is totally believable; I mean I can totally see this happening. The world building and plot was slow in the beginning but soon picks up. Gray has created a beautiful universe that she shows off to it’s full potential.
The relationship between Noemi and Abel was one I truly savored. Abel slowly becomes more human the more social interaction he’s involved with, I mean watching him finally use sarcasm was such a highlight for me. I didn’t think a relationship between an AI and a human could have so much snark but Gray managed to pull it off, some scenes were hilarious! Poor Noemi grew so much as a person, it took me a while to warm to her character but once I did I became so invested in her story.
“Your soul is bigger than your programming.”
Defy the Stars was the best mix of the Starbound series and Illuminae. Noemi and Abel battle across the galaxy in order to save the people they love. Loyalty and love are both tested and there’s more than one beautiful moment that had me questioning humanity, filled with terror for my favourite characters and bursting with pride and love them. In short this book will put you through the ringer but it’s more than worth it, I can't wait for book two!
Defy the Stars is an adventure rich in world-building and diversity of cultures. In it we follow Noemi, a teenaged soldier, as she struggles to find a way to save her planet without ending multiple innocent lives. With the help of a highly advanced mech named Abel, Noemi embarks on a journey across space to get the parts and information she needs. Trouble quickly arises however, and one can't be properly protected by a mech who doesn't really want to be protecting you.
The premise drew me in like no other, not to mention that I am familiar with the author's work and wanted to read another novel set in space after reading Illuminae. I was drawn to the world more than anything else, and was enraptured by the layout of the planets and gates in which one must travel through in order to reach the next planet. The details of each planet (colour, rings around it, method of accepting guests, who lives there and what they are known for), of their air (polluted, thin), and what Abel and Noemi find themselves doing on each was engaging and richly imaginative. With each landing Noemi and Abel made with their ship, they encountered new people and discoveries that could change everything if only they could piece together all of it and find out how to make it work. Fun to read and utterly captivating, Defy the Stars is worth the read!
What made this story work the most for me however, is Abel. Abel is like AIDAN from Illuminae, only in a body and not as crazy (maybe even think Cinder, but all robot under flesh instead of half-robot-half-human). He is intelligent as a robot should be, but in this world, mechs are not allowed to have superior knowledge other than what they are made for: medical, battle, cleaner etc. The mechs themselves are fairly important as there are 25 different ones, not including Abel, that each have their own special skills that help the human population and get in Noemi's way. In this case however, Abel is one of a kind and highly illegal because his creator gave him knowledge of everything. Dangerous but forced to comply to his Commander's wishes, Abel struggles with himself and with Noemi. This is not only a journey to save Noemi's planet, it's also a journey for Abel to discover himself and the truth about his existence.
"It doesn’t matter that he could outrun her, outshoot her, that he could kill her with a single hand: He cannot defend himself against her any more than he can disobey her." (13-14%)
Noemi, being a soldier and raised to protect her planet, is brave and selfless, intelligent and loyal. She would do anything to save her world and to help out others even if it means going against direct orders and embarking on her own adventure. She is willing to sacrifice herself no matter what. When things get tough, she stands her ground and tries to keep her head. Through loss and fleeing hopes, Noemi stands by her mission and doesn't let anything or anyone get in her way, even if that means putting up a cold, sharp front.
"She’s all rough edges and sharp elbows, her heart hidden so well by a quick temper that almost nobody ever recognizes she has one." (2%)
Brilliant world building definitely kept me engrossed! Not only were the planets and everything about them well described and written, the language and views went hand-in-hand and did not disappoint. I will admit however, that there wasn't much detail on why Earth is so destroyed, and I would've loved to understand the story behind that.
Overall, Defy the Stars is a rich and captivating novel!
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.
I found Noemi Vidal interesting, strong and kind. She is willing to do anything to save her planet even to die. Abel was also an intriguing character and so much more of a human than his creator ever was.
The plot was great and really drew me in. Abel and Noemi must work together in order to save her planet, Genesis. They travel to the other planets in the Loop (Kismet, Cray, Stronghold and eventually Earth) and meet exiting characters like Virginia Redbird along the way. It was an interesting concept to see how different and unique all the planets were.
Claudia Gray's depiction of all the planets was amazing and very detailed. This was an amazing novel I will never forget! Recommended for fans of science fiction, fantasy and space adventures!