Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Pages: 512
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Source: Free ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Rating: C

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Little, Brown Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Summary: Since before she was born, Noemi’s planet has been fighting planet Earth to protect its resources from their greed. Not only has Earth ruined their own environment and pillaged planets from other galaxies, they have also created advanced technology that fights for them – AI humanoid robots called mechs.

At seventeen, Noemi is a soldier – a fighter pilot, and she and a group of other young soldiers are preparing to sacrifice themselves to give their planet a few months to rebuild their arsenals and gain strength to continue the fight. During a practice run, something goes wrong and Noemi finds herself face to face with a mech unlike any she has ever seen. This mech – Abel – could be the solution her planet was looking for. She has a plan, but the days are ticking away quickly, and she needs to get the plan executed before all those young soldiers needlessly sacrifice themselves. Yet as she spends more time with Abel, she starts to see there is more to him than she ever could have realized. And this realization begins to endanger her plan to save her planet.

Review: Oh, how I wanted to love this book. Pretty cover. I enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You. YA sci-fi. Kick ass female protagonist. It seemed certain it would be everything. Unfortunately, while there were things I did like about it, it was only meh.

On the positive side, I loved Abel. By far my favorite part of the book was getting to know him. His humanity was beautifully balanced, and his innocence wasn’t naïve. So refreshing that he wasn’t written in child-like terms. It was a pleasure to watch him bloom, to figure himself out.

The underlying message about the costs of ignoring our environmental issues was also much appreciated, and it was presented in a palatable fashion. Kudos.

However. This felt like a bunch of other stories I’ve heard, read, seen before, all mashed together to try and make something new. Instead, I kept thinking how much it felt like Battlestar Galactica, how the different worlds and mindsets felt like the divisions in the Divergent series. It just didn’t feel unique enough.

Maybe I was overexcited and that contributed to a higher level of disappointment. Ultimately, it was just a bit formulaic for me.

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