Well-written, and packed with deeper themes, Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray is a book that highlights Gray’s strengths as a YA science fiction writer. The first in a new series, Defy the Stars was somewhat predictable, but proved to be a good, casual sci-fi read. It doesn’t go too in-depth with the world building or complicated science-y things, so it isn’t overwhelming for the beginner sci-fi reader.
One of the things I love about Claudia Gray’s books is her use of themes. Even though each of her books has a fun, exciting plot that makes for good fun, there is always more weight to her stories that makes her books more important than just a fun story. Defy the Stars explores themes of what it means to be human, the importance of nature, the existence and definition of love, and how far it is ethical to go in our attempts to assert independence. Gray also introduces the idea that there are many sides to every story and truth may not always be one dimensional.
Gray explores these themes through interesting characters like Noemi: a pilot and soldier of the planet Genesis in their war of independence from Earth; and Abel: an advanced android from Earth whose self-awareness and mental and emotional capacities blur the line between android and human. In pushing each of these characters to their limits physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, Gray creates a story worth reading.
If you enjoy any element of science fiction combined with a strong romance subplot, any of the aforementioned themes, or any of Gray’s earlier works, I would definitely give this book a chance. 4/5.