Title: Defy the Stars
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 512 (Kindle edition)
Genre: Science Fiction
* I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for review through Net Galley. All opinions/analysis/thoughts are mine*
I had seen a deal from Net Galley earlier this year to be one of the first 500 people to snatch a digital ARC of this upcoming release from Claudia Gray. I’m a fan of Star Wars and space adventures in general. So I grabbed it and started reading. Unfortunately, I marked this book as DNF after 25% of the story. Here’s the breakdown:
Plot: Noemi is a teen solider fighting against the armies of Earth to protect her planet Genesis. During a surprise attack, she gets separated from her friend and finds a large, abandoned ship. There, she meets Abel, an A.I. who was left on the ship for 30 years after his creator escapes. They hesitantly team up to save Genesis from another invasion by Earth. This was pretty straightforward from the very beginning. I had no problem with the plot; it was the reason why I requested it. It has a decent pace in the first 25%, but other factors brought this book to a hault.
Characters: This is a dual perspective book, from both Abel and Noemi. Noemi is a person of color and was adopted by her friends family. She feels unwanted and very prickly to most people except for her friend. She despises all A.I. models after all the battles between Genesis and Earth. Abel is a somewhat sassy character, always on top of things and doesn’t let anything gets past him. He’s curious about humanity and concerned about the fate of his creator, since he can find nothing about him in the last 30 years.
The perspective of Noemi was a pretty typical YA female protagonist: doesn’t fit in, doesn’t feel like she belongs, blah blah blah. Her character could easily be replaced with someone like Tris from Divergent. Her religious doubts and feeling unwanted by her foster family are real things that people go through and do struggle with. I just think that if she was taken in by a family and given food, clothing, shelter, a good bed and such, she would act more grateful. Adoptive parents do what they can for their adopted child. Noemi never felt grateful once to them, despite their efforts and is terrified of what could happen to her friend and the consequences from the girl’s parents. There’s no extra indications of why she doesn’t feel wanted by the adoptive parents. She always assumes the worst and the negativity made it impossible for me to connect to her on that level.
Abel on the other hand had the “I’m an A.I. but I’m written to be a witty character so people like me” type thing. That kind of trope to me is very overused. I did like him much better, since he doesn’t take Noemi’s crap when she’s being stubborn. But I feel like the writing style also made him extremely repetitive. He wants to understand people and their complexities, but he doesn’t spend time doing that. Almost every other page was him wondering what happened to his creator.
World Building: The space like world was actually a solid and fun world. I liked how the different planets were named, the history you do get about warring planets and different environments. This is where I felt the biggest Star Wars vibes with having interesting planets that are: a resort only planet, a deathly cold mining planet with very little life, etc. But the world was very much in the background for the 25% I did read. It felt slightly underused, but still engaging and felt authentic to the type of plot the book had.
Writing Style: This was the nail in the coffin for both this book and the author for me. The amount of adverbs used made my English major and technical editing minor eyes weep! While these words (they end in “ly”) don’t need to completely deleted out of a book, it made the writing dense and not letting the characters and plot come into themselves. The use of adverbs made this book feel like a rough draft of a story in a college writing class. Having a wordy writing style is HUGE pet peeve of mine in writing. I highlighted an adverb every time on my Kindle of this Net Galley and had to stop after more than 15% into the book. I even had to read over sentences a second or third time to understand what was going on because she made long sentences very unnecessarily long winded.
Overall: This was an anticipated release for me and sadly it didn’t meet my hope of being a fun space book. If you like Claudia Gray’s writing style, that’s totally cool and I would recommend you to try this at your local library when it comes out. But if you don’t like science fiction, haven’t really liked this authors books, or if you’re picky about the writing style like me, I would skip this book.
If you guys do pick this book up, if you want to pick it up or if you also read it early, comment below and let’s chat about the book. Again, a big thank you to Net Galley for allowing me to read this for review. I’m certainly glad that I tried it and I will keep looking for more science fiction books in the future.
Have a great day guys 🙂