Author: Claudia Gray
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 4, 2017)
Description: She's a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She's willing to risk anything--including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.
He's a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that's begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.
My Thoughts: DEFY THE STARS was a very engaging science fiction story. Noemi Vidal is an orphan, a pilot, and a member of a suicide squad determined to close the gate that brings forces from Earth who are trying to conquer her planet Genesis. Earth has worn itself out and needs new planets. However, the settlers on Genesis are willing to fight a war to keep Earth from destroying their planet.
On a training run, Noemi's friend Esther is injured and Noemi's only hope is to take her to a derelict ship near the gate in the hopes that the sick bay will have what she needs to help her friend. Noemi doesn't realize the the derelict ship has been the prison for an advanced mech for the last thirty years.
Abel is the first and greatest creation of cyberneticist Burton Mansfield. Mansfield also created the twenty-six other varieties of mech who do all sorts of jobs on Earth and the other Earth-seeded planets. From medicine to the military, various mechs are built for the various jobs. Abel is one of a kind however and his thirty years in isolation have let him develop new talents that his creator didn't anticipate.
When Noemi and Abel first meet, it is at the point of a gun. But Abel pledges his service to Noemi since his programming dictates that he serve the highest human authority on the vessel. Neither trusts the other at all. Noemi has been taught, and experience has shown her, that any mech is evil. Abel really wants to return to Burton Mansfield but years of loneliness overcome that wish.
When Abel tells Noemi that there is a way to disrupt the gate that won't require the suicide run that is in the plans, Noemi decides to take that option. They need things not available on the ship or on Genesis and need to go through the gate to the larger universe belong.
As they travel from planet to planet to get what they need, they both see what conditions are like for the humans on other planets and see that a resistance movement opposed to Earth's policies has been developing. They also both see that the need for another home for humans is becoming more and more desperate.
Their feeling for each other change as they travel. They make friends. And, eventually, they come up with a plan that won't necessitate the deaths of either of them. But that doesn't mean that they are at all safe. Burton Mansfield has his own plans for Abel and will go to great lengths to accomplish them.
This was excellent science fiction.
Genesis doctrine says they need no other worlds. Noemi believes this. But even if you don't need something, can't you want it? Surely it can't be wrong to want to see more of creation. to behold the universe from every possible angle -- to be the way in which the universe if able to behold itself. As long as she can remember, she's yearned to explore beyond any limits.I received this one for review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.