Review Blog

Apr 05 2017

Defy the stars by Claudia Gray

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2017. ISBN 9781471406362
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Science Fiction. Artificial intelligence. Robots. Space travel. Relativity. Pollution. Earth is dying, and there is a war between it and Genesis, one of the colony planets. The people of Genesis have closed down access to their planet knowing that Earth will only destroy it the way their own has been destroyed. In a raid on Genesis, Noemi a brave young pilot boards a ship and meets Abel, a mech warrior from Earth. Programmed to obey commands from humans, Abel at first seems like any other robot to Noemi, but gradually she realises that he is no ordinary mech, instead he is unique and has the ability to dream.
This is a truly fascinating, exciting and engrossing story. The reader is swept along as Noemi and Abel fly through space trying to find the parts that will enable them to block access to Genesis and save the other young pilots who were preparing for a suicide expedition to fight Earth. They travel to various colony worlds each unique and intriguing, and meet the Vagabonds, a group who sail forever in the stars. Life on board the space ship and on the colony planets is vividly described and each of the characters is fully realised.
What makes this a stand out novel though is the theme of what makes a human. The gradual realisation by Noemi that Abel is more than a robot makes her question all she has been brought up to believe. If he has the ability to dream and to feel, is he then more than a machine? Perhaps he should be given the right to make his own decisions about whether he will die for Genesis. But then what will happen to Noemi's world?
With a low-key love story, a high octane plot, and a stunning exploration of what it means to be human. Defy the stars is a riveting read. I can't wait for the next in the series.
Pat Pledger

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