Defy the Stars
Defy the Stars
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Annotation: Teenaged soldier Noemi and an enemy robot, Abel, who is programmed to obey her commands, set out on an interstellar quest to save her home planet, Earth colony Genesis.
Catalog Number: #6143069
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 518 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-316-39404-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-316-39404-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016028390
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
A trial run for a major offensive against Earth turns into a rescue operation for Genesis soldier Noemi Vidal, as she tries to save a friend from a surprise attack by Earth mechs (mechanized warriors) and ends up boarding a disabled Earth warship from an earlier battle. The ship isn't empty; for the last 30 years, a one-of-a-kind mech, Abel, has waited for someone to release him from his tin prison. Noemi needs for Abel to complete a deadly mission that will give her planet more time to prepare for the coming war, but his sacrifice becomes less desirable as they get to know each other. This first-rate STEM-packed adventure explores what it means to be human and whether people are truly their brothers' keepers. The point of view alternates between the two main characters, but Gray too often chooses to tell rather than let the narrative unfold through dialogue and action. There are subtleties to be found, though, in the deft handling of the developing relationship between Noemi and Abel.
Horn Book
Soldier Noemi fights to protect her planet Genesis from the vindictive colonizers of Earth. She's keen to use Abel, a one-of-a-kind Earth robot, in an end-all suicide mission. But Abel is so advanced he can almost pass for human, and their time together might reveal something more. Through a dual narrative, this science-fiction epic considers heavy questions regarding faith, morality, and human nature.
Publishers Weekly
In this poignant and profound SF novel from Gray (the Firebird trilogy), resources are scarce, humans populate multiple planets, and a colony world called Genesis is battling Earth for independence. Noemi Vidal, a 17-year-old fighter pilot from Genesis, is on a training run when an Earth army of humanoid robots known as mechs attacks her squadron. Noemi gets separated from the group and seeks refuge on a broken-down research vessel. On board is Abel, the first mech ever created. A showdown ensues before a quirk in Abel-s code dictates that he submit to Noemi-s command. Using information gleaned from Abel, Noemi hatches a plan to liberate Genesis that necessitates the mech-s destruction. It-s not long, though, until Noemi is forced to wonder whether Abel has transcended his programming. Noemi and Abel share the narrative, and together they weave a tale that examines the ethics of war and tackles questions of consciousness, love, and free will. Gray-s characters are nuanced, her worldbuilding is intelligent, and the book-s conclusion thrills and satisfies while defying expectations. Ages 15-up. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Apr.)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A teen soldier teams up with an enemy android to end an interplanetary war. During a practice for her Masada Run, Genesis soldier Noemi (a human of Latin American and Polynesian ancestry) discovers an Earth ship abandoned during the last war. The reference is purposeful: it's a suicide mission to damage the Gate between Earth and Genesis in order to stave off Earth's offensive. Abel (a mech with artificial intelligence and self-awareness, modeled after his white creator) has waited alone on that ship for 30 years. Abel's far more advanced than his task-oriented peers, with a (delightfully passive-aggressive) personality of his own, and he wants to return to his "father" but is programmed to recognize Noemi as his new superior and obey her. Using Abel, Noemi realizes she can destroy the gate and save her fellow soldiers' lives, so she tears across the universe on the desperate, long-shot mission. Abel discovers the changes the past 30 years have wrought: Earth's environmental degradation makes new homes like pristine Genesis necessary, but Earth leadership can't be trusted not to destroy them too. Meanwhile, Noemi also learns the fuller picture and connects with people from different walks—including Abel, who she begins to suspect is more than a machine. Nuanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure. (Science-fiction. 12 & up)
Word Count: 108,400
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 190219 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL830L

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Lost Stars and Bloodline comes a thrilling sci-fi adventure that Kass Morgan, bestselling author of The 100 series, calls "startlingly original and achingly romantic...nothing short of masterful."

She's a soldier--Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.

He's a machine--Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel's advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.

An epic and romantic adventure, perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles and Illuminae.


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