Defy the Stars – Claudia Gray

Defy the StarsNoemi is a fighter pilot for the planet Genesis, colonized by Earth inhabitants after Earth was ruined by pollution.  Genesis has rebelled against Earth’s control and has been locked in battle for many decades.  Earth’s cybernetics genius, Burton Mansfield, created sophisticated robots for various tasks, including models designed to be soldiers.  Earth takes a cowardly approach to war by utilizing robots as fighter pilots, thus sparing humans.  Thousands of ships manned by Earth’s robots stream through the wormhole connecting the two planets, while Genesis fights with a young generation of brave soldiers.

Noemi is part of a scouting mission for the planned Masada Run.  In weeks, Genesis pilots will go on a suicide mission to self-implode at the mouth of the wormhole hoping to destabilize the wormhole for a few years buying time for Genesis to regroup.  While on the scouting mission, Noemi’s best friend is attacked so Noemi lands their fighters inside an abandoned Earth ship in the hopes there is a functioning sick bay.  Noemi finds Abel, the most human of Mansfield’s robotic creations, who was abandoned 30 years ago during an emergency evacuation.  Abel’s programming requires him to obey Noemi’s commands.  Abel divulges that there is a possible way of permanently destroying the wormhole, thus ending Earth’s attacks forever.  To accomplish this, the two travel to several Earth colonies and meet others determined to fight Earth’s domination.

The author deftly relays Abel’s inner struggles with his developing consciousness.  I cheered at his ultimate act of defiance and acknowledgement of his own soul.  The overriding themes of love and sacrifice support the daring action sequences.  Abel and Noemi shared the starring roles with an enjoyable supporting cast that will surely have a recurring part in the sequel.  The plot is set for the next book that I will eagerly read.  Highly recommend.

eGalley review                           Publication date 4.4.17

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