Having read other sci-fi YA books this year that were rather mediocre (naming no names), Defy the Stars took me completely by surprise. Addressing colonialism, revolution, science vs. religion, and the moral implications of artificial intelligence, it also has the bones of a high-stakes heist adventure series in the vein of Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows. While it sets itself up nicely for a sequel (it's the first in a series of an unknown number of books), it nonetheless stands well on its own, so hopefully you won't wake up in the middle of the night out of fear for the characters' lives. Recommended By Helena F.W., Powells.com
With the reluctant help of her sworn enemy, Noemi has only days to save her people — but are they worth saving? And at what cost? Defy the Stars is nonstop action, both a rescue mission and a heist, but with a heaping dose of empathy and courage. Recommended By McKenzie W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier in an interstellar war, fighting to defend her home planet against Earth's robotic mech armies. When the disastrous aftermath of a space battle strands her on an abandoned enemy ship, she encounters a deadly mech determined to kill her — until a twist in his programming compels him to do her bidding, and to reveal a secret which could save her world.
Abel, Model 1A of the Mansfield Cybernetics Line, is his creator's masterpiece: the most complex mech prototype ever made, he not only appears perfectly human, but possesses an artificial intelligence so sophisticated that he can feel human emotions. When Noemi boards the ship he has been trapped on for decades, his programming demands that he obey her as his new commander — even if she's fighting on the other side of the war, and even though her plan to win that war will kill him.
As they embark upon an exciting and dangerous journey through the galaxy, Noemi begins to recognize the soul within the machine, and Abel's devotion to Noemi soon becomes more than a matter of programming. It's a journey that will teach both of them what it truly means to be human.
"Replete with rebels, bots, and battles, this top-notch space adventure features a well-developed plot and an unexpected, satisfying ending. This is a complex and well-told tale about loyalty, love, and the meaning of life. A must-buy for sci-fi readers." School Library Journal
"Nuanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure." Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
Claudia Gray is the author of the bestselling Evernight series, Fateful, and the Spellcaster trilogy, all published by HarperCollins. Her most recent title is A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the popular Firebird trilogy; the highly anticipated sequel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You, is forthcoming from HarperTeen later this year. She is also the author of Lost Stars, a young adult Star Wars novel to be published in September as part of the canon established for this winter's new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.