Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars #1) by Claudia Gray

Published by: Little Brown Books

Publication Date: April 4th 2017

Genre: Young Adult Sc-Fi/Diverse Reads

Pages: 512 pages

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★ (4 STARS)

HUGE thanks to Little Brown Books, Netgalley, and Claudia Gray for the eGalley of Defy the Stars in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is a 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.

Defy the Stars is the story Noemi Vidal who lives on Genesis, the only planet left in the solar system to reflect what Earth used to be before it self-destructed. Genesis is a planet that has closed its doors to technology & maintains a green environment because of it. Earth on the other hand is only a shell of the planet it used to be, dying and desperate to get its people re-located.

Quick 411 On This Galaxy…

Defy the Stars takes place in the solar system, mostly in a ship but there’s plenty of traveling to the surrounding planets. Our main Protagonist Noemi is from Genesis known as the planet with the beautiful green lands, clean air/water with temperate climate. Abel the A.I. is from Earth which eerily enough is described as having self destructed & the opposite of Genesis. Kismet (my fave) described as a water-world with tropical weather & fun loving people/culture. Downside: only the privileged wealthy can afford to lay up on Kismet. Cray is where the smartest of the smart reside underground enjoying total nerdom (2nd fave haha!). Too hot to live on top, scientists live down below where they are spoiled with all the fun gadgets to make it a total nerd paradise *heart eyes* Stronghold is quite the opposite of Cray, here is a cold cold and gray planet suitable for the strongest (think military).

Back to the Plot…

Genesis has closed itself off from Earth to preserve their planet from a people they know will only continue destroying wherever they go. This in turn has kept these two planets at war with Earth attempting to conquer Genesis through a Galaxy gate. Genesis may not know how to destroy the gate, but they have an idea on how to temporarily disable it…a suicide mission to be carried out by their youth. Noemi Vidal is 17 & ready to die for her planet and the belief that her sacrifice will gain Genesis an advantage. In preparation for this mission she and the other youths engage in training however, things take a turn when their training turns into the real deal. Noemi finds herself in an abandoned enemy (Earth) ship unaware how much her life is about to change…

We get introduced to Noemi Vidal, a 17 year old of Chilean descent who was orphaned and taken in by her best friend’s family. A family she very much appreciates but still can’t help but feel like an outsider looking in. Noemi is very protective of her best-friend going as far as volunteering for the Massada Run aka the suicide mission aimed at helping Genesis. This would fill the requirement per family and her best friend wouldn’t have to be sacrificed. We often see female protagonists in YA playing the role of martyr, the difference here is that Noemi is just one of the many youths who believe it’s their duty (side note: this didn’t make sense to me & i’m glad its addressed in the story lol). Noemi sees herself as having a unappealing personality because she angers often however, I did not find her to to be as unpleasant as she sees herself lol. Smart & resourceful are more adequate descriptions of Noemi, I liked her just fine. However, the stand out character was Abel the machine/Artificial Intelligence left behind on the abandoned Earth ship. Abel has been stuck in a room on the ship since the last war 30 years ago. The 1st of his kind, he was made with superior intelligence & human like qualities. Over the course of 30 years however, Abel has continued developing & growing. I enjoyed Abel so much, i’ll even go as far as saying he’s up there with my other fave A.I. AIDEN (Illuminae Files). Abel’s sarcasm & self ego stroking had me shaking my head quite often. It’s funny because it makes sense that he would have these traits given he’s not human but quickly developing at the speed of one who is. He has learned human mannerisms but its his self awareness that trips him up. I really grew to love this character and often compared him to Gepetto’s creation minus the lying haha! Last but not least, the diversity in this book was absolutely one of my most favorite aspects. Not only does Gray give us POC’s but she also gave us robots (the setting is in the future) that were also made to resemble all people. The entire cast is diverse & it made my reading experience much more enjoyable.

I love me some gooooood world building & Defy the Stars delivered on this front and so much more. This being my first Claudia Gray book (still want to read the Firebird trilogy), I found her writing to be very enjoyable. Given that this story takes place in space, I didn’t go into it thinking I’m going to get a super fast paced story but was pleasantly surprised. So, what can you expect? adventure, humor, interesting diverse characters, action, and a bit of romance. The only reason I docked it a star was because I would’ve liked to have seen more from Earth being that they are the “enemy”. We meet leaders on Genesis but who is leading the war on behalf of Earth? and what of their people (other than Abel’s creator of course) The ending left me SO curious of what’s to come & a bit anxious for the sequel, I’ve even offered my housekeeping services to Claudia if it would help her any…jk but I so would haha!

Have any of my bookish peeps read Defy the Stars? Did you happen to get Illuminae vibes? If you had to choose a bestie…would you go with Abel or AIDEN? 😉

Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

30 thoughts on “Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray”

  1. I am so wishing I picked this for my giveaway win book bc I have ended up staying in Michigan and I could have been here for the mail. Now I have to read my NG copy…though this one sounds like one I would love to physically own!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well you know what happened to my digital copy?!? It expired before I spoke to you 😂 so I ended up having to buy a physical copy. No regrets here though seeing as I’m continuing on with the series 😃 hope you enjoy when you get around to picking this one up 😉💕


  2. Great review for this book Lilly. I really loved Defy the Stars as well and one of the main reasons this story stood out for me was because of Abel’s character and the back-and-forth relationship he had with Noemi. Especially at the beginning when he’s being sarcastic and stand-off-ish and she doesn’t realise because she doesn’t think an AI would have those traits. 🙂
    I have read Claudia Gray’s Firebird series and of the two I definitely preferred Defy the Stars. I am so excited for the second book, especially after the ending to the first.
    Also I think as much as I loved Abel, AIDEN is still my favourite AI! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Beth! Now I know why you loved it so much! Noemie & Abel’s back & forth convo’s made me smile on more than one occasion, love good chemistry. I also loved all of his inner monologues about Noemi smh LOL! That’s good to know about the Firebird trilogy, its been on my TBR for soooo LONG now. I eagerly await any news of book 2 now & AIDEN is also still my fave but Abel gives him a good run haha 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and yeah for me Noemi’s and Abel’s interactions really made this book stand out that little bit more for me. They’re the definition of good chemistry I think.
        I don’t know if any AI could beat AIDEN, but Abel is definitely a close second! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. yea I think that’s usually the case when a bigger world is being set up, in this case we have many worlds. Kind of reminds me of Adult Fantasy & tbh this book didn’t feel to me like your typical YA book. Noemi is 17 but because she’s led a hardened life, its easily forgotten. a bit info dumpy in the beginning 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot freaking wait to read this one! I received it yesterday and it looks beautiful! You got me hyped up to read this. Since the third book to Illuminae is releasing in MARCH OF FREAKING 2018, I’ll pick this one up when I need some sci-fi in my life lol.

    I understand why you would knock it off a star..hmm maybe building up to book 2 and earth leaders??
    Like you, this would be my first Gray book even though I have her other book of Firebird at home. Awesome review as always twin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks twin! I’m excited for you to be reading this one 😃 I know how much we are anticipating the next book in the Illuminae files, Defy the Stars filled that void 😃 I loved the world building & diversity and know you will too. I hope we get a bit more story on earth on book 2 cuz one mans perspective just isn’t enough. I do still want to read the Firebird series, she really does have lovely covers 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So tempted to add this to the TBR but not quite ready to make the jump back into YA. Although that blurb and your review are definitely enticing me ❤ I love this concept. It sounds so fun and full of originality. It sounds like the author did an awesome job of pulling it all together!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I want to read this one so bad! I’ve not read a lot of Sci-Fi only because it seems to be hard for me to find one that I like but this one sounds like one I could love. And I’m really intrigued by all of the planets and world building. I’ve actually read the first book in Claudia’s Firebird trilogy and adored it so much. I think you would end up liking it, it has a nice fantasy/sci-fi mash-up. 😁 Anyway! This is another one I’m going to have to get to. Great review as always, Lilly! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I’ve had the Firebird trilogy on my TBR for far too long smh 🙈 but now that I’ve read this one, I am more interested in getting to her other books soon 🤗🤗🤗 thank you Melissa 😃💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I only ever read the first book when it released so the rest of the trilogy has been sitting on my TBR for a long while too. 😂 Though I plan on trying to get to them this year.
        You’re welcome!! 💕😊


    1. You know I loved me some ILLUMINAE Lauren! 🤗🤗🤗 and this one isn’t in that level (kinda hard to beat lol) but it sure comes close. Loved it and I hope you give it a shot & enjoy as much as I did 😃


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