Book Review: “Defy The Stars” by Claudia Gray

Warning: If you have not read “Defy The Stars” by Claudia Gray, don’t read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers!

I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Defy The Stars” by Claudia Gray! I thought I’d switch it up and review some more sci-fi, so here we go!

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.”

Noemi and Abel have an amazing slow-burn chemistry both together and as individuals through their distinct personalities through the writing style. They go from hating each other to working with each other for the sake of getting the job done, despite their differences, and it’s through them seeing each other more as people that they fall for each other. Noemi especially hits this last part hard when she realizes that Abel is very much capable of sentience, despite being a ‘machine’ of sorts. Both Noemi and Abel learn to question the truth and dig deeper into the situation around them, even when it brings a risk. Also, the whole development of how much they start caring for each other is so well-written, I’m not even sure how to describe it.

There are no sex scenes in this book, though they do talk about it from time to time. Those converstaions about sex were actually some of the funniest parts of the book, and that includes a scene early on where Abel suggests, when he and Noemi are short on funds, that HE will prostitute himself after they have trouble finding work—thankfully they don’t go actually through with this idea, much to the relief of the readers (and to Noemi and Abel’s reliefs especially). Abel and Noemi’s conversations in general, regardless of discussion of sex or not, were actually quite interesting. It’s because Abel, at first, functions much like a machine would, knowing things in generally technically terms. The way he describes sex, dancing and other socially normal things people do is quite amusing, and it helped keep the mood of the book up, even when the actual situation was pretty grim.

Going back to the writing style of the book, the worldbuilding was a little hard to take in for the first chapter or two, but it did make sense for the rest of the book. As for point of view perspective, it was easy to follow despite each chapter switching between Noemi and Abel’s points of view. This is because their personalities were so incredibly distinct from each other when they saw the situation around them, even if they were both in the same situation at the time.

What I really really loved about this book, however, is that the themes explored were very well handled. Overlying themes included what it means to be human, as the theme of trying to understand the others’ point of view, even if it’s completely opposite to your own. I can’t describe how they were well handled, mainly because of major plot spoilers, but the theme of what it means to be human is very much relevant for Abel and Noemi’s relationship, as well as for their own individual development.

Overall, I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars!

I heard there is already a sequel available, so I definitely plan to pick it up soon and give it a read!

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