Defy the Stars is a Young Adult novel and is the first book in the Constellation trilogy written by Claudia Gray
Earth has been depleted of resources and is quickly becoming unlivable. For the past few decades humans have been trying to find a colony world that can support and sustain human life. The planet Genesis was thought to be the new home for humanity, however, the original colonists of Genesis were worried that the Earth government would move to Genesis and destroy the planet, as they had destroyed Earth; they rebelled have been fighting Earth’s mechanical robots, or “mech’s”, for decades so that the people of Genesis can live free of Earth’s Tyranny. Noemi Vidal is a 17-year-old fighter pilot from the planet Genesis, and she puts her duty to her planet above that of even her own life. 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.
When I originally looked up Defy the Stars, I basically read that it was essentially “Romeo and Juliet” in space with robots. And I see how people come to that conclusion, since the title is an obvious R&J reference. However, after reading the book I find that this quick judgement does not do this wonderful book justice.
For one, at 17, Noemi is a fighter pilot who has volunteered for a suicide mission in an effort to save her planet and to save her foster-sister. She is definitely not Juliet. She is extremely tough and is not afraid to make difficult choices to save lives.
Abel and Noemi do not love each other at first sight, but quite honestly despise each other for a large part of the book. When they meet they are on opposite sides of a war that has been going on for decades. Both of them initially stereotype the other and say and do a lot of things that hurt the others feelings. The friendship and respect that grows between the two of them happens very naturally and is a very believable progression
My third and final reason that these two are not R&J, is that romance between the two characters is barely a part of the first book. This book is more about the character growth that the two of them undergo as individuals and the friendship that grows between them.
This book made me ask myself a lot of philosophical questions about what makes us human and whether or not a robot could develop a soul. The characters come to a lot of conclusions about what motivates them. Abel has a “Prime directive” that is actually programmed into his being, and is something that he has to obey. Noemi, while human and obviously not programmed with a prime directive, still puts her desire to save her planet above everything else, even her own life. The characters are forced to make tough decisions and choose what they are willing to sacrifice to reach their goals.
Teens and Young adults of all ages and older. Sex is mentioned and the characters talk about it, but there is no sex scene in the book, and the conversation they have is pretty tame and not explicit in any way.
Trigger warning for emotional abuse, specifically by a parent or parental figure. This mainly has to do with Abel’s creator and his treatment of Abel. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone as it was a very emotional part of the story, however, if you want to know if you will be triggered by this book feel free to contact me directly and I will give you more details about the specific situation.
Falling in love with fictional characters
Reading until 6am when you have an interview that begins at 8am
Having a lot of deep thoughts about what your “prime directive” is and what you would be willing to give up to fulfill it
Asking yourself questions like “what makes a person a person” and “can a robot develop a soul” (all probably at 4am when you should be sleeping).
I absolutely loved this book. I feel like this is a great book for teens to read, because the characters go through a lot of personal growth and come to a lot of conclusions that I think teens can relate to. For example: in one part of the book Abel realizes that he can respect and care for his creator, Burton Mansfield, and still disagree with him. I feel like the realization that “I can love my parents and also choose to make my own decisions and my own choices” is an important part of growing up and one that I could definitely relate to.
Buy this book, you won’t be sorry; It’s original, sweet, and at times Laugh-Out-Loud funny.
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