Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Review: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

Hardcover, 503 pages

Published April 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I knew nothing about this book going in. I didn't look at the cover, read the dust jacket or anything of the sort. I read this book purely on the strength of the two Star Wars novels I read by author Claudia Gray. I knew it was space opera and that was it. Gray's two Princess Leia books deeply enriched the character and provided several exciting action adventure moments. Her abilities storyteller that sold on reading this.

I am not the target audience, and I don't mean this in a reductive way but after reading this it seems like the audience is young teenage women. I think that is awesome. Because young ladies deserve space opera as much as the young boys. That said it is fun space based adventure with excellent characters and some cool world building so yeah- I liked it.

I wouldn't say I LOVED it but I had fun reading it and this book really didn't need to provide more than fun.

Defy the Stars is a a romantic space opera that centers on a character named Naomi she is a colonist from a former earth territory named Genesis. The people of this world have rejected earth and technology to live simply. The only tech they have left is their war machine, despite being out gunned they are struggling to fight back.

Naomi opens the novel a pilot on a recon mission. In a few weeks she will be part of a suicide mission to save her world, they plan to destroy the wormhole gate that connects their world to earth and the other six colonies in a loop. On this mission in a desperate attempt to survive she finds a ship that has been left floating in space for 30 years.

Once aboard she finds Abel. He looks like a young man, but he is the most advanced AI ever created. Made to look like the scientist who created him a famous scientist named Mansfield. He is programmed to always obey his commander. He has been alone basically locked in a room for 30 years. Naomi takes command of the ship and thus Abel.

Naomi realizes with this ship and this AI she can prevent the suicide attack her world was planning by winning the war on her own. Thus begins a adventure with Naomi and Able that takes them to all six worlds and of course Abel learns what it means to be human.

There is a moment when Naomi goes through the last of the 6 wormholes and she taps the console in a silly way. She says it is just something spacers do when they have gone through all six gates. That is great world building and I loved it. I know the romance is apart of the the promo materials but I didn't read any of those so the first 100 pages I didn't see it coming. The characters are great and the romance as syrupy sweet as it is totally works.

The science fiction is good each of the worlds is built and fully realized and the characters even the briefly seen ones are complex and forward the plot. The skills Gray brought Star Wars translate well to this original story. Defy The Stars are great for young readers.

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