Friday, May 19, 2017

DNF ARC Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Title: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) 
Author: Claudia Gray
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 501
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 //I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming. 

Noemi is a Genesis soldier, fighting for her planet's independence from Earth. A war has been raging for decades, and there seems to be no end in sight. Earth uses robotic 'mech' armies to slaughter the soldiers of Genesis and assert their technological superiority. After an attack, Noemi finds herself on a deserted Earthen ship, looking for medical supplies. What she finds instead is the most advanced mech ever made, Abel. And he is programmed to follow her every command - even those that would act against Earth.

I know a lot of people who didn't like Defy the Stars and decided not to finish it, but there were also a ton of people in the book community that were super excited for it. I thought the synopsis sounded interesting, so I went in with an open mind. Ultimately, though, I ended up putting this book down after about 100 pages. There aren't any glaring, big problems with Defy the Stars. The reason I decided not to finish it boils down to two main things: it's boring and predictable and I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them at all.

I think both of these issues stem from the writing style of this book. The story is told in the third person from the alternating perspectives of Noemi and Abel, and the pacing was so slow. Despite a very slow start to the book, I wanted to keep giving it a chance. Even though there were some interesting developments in the plot, the pacing still dragged and the writing felt clunky. I felt like I was being told a story, instead of being immersed in it. All of the plot developments were so predictable as well. I bet I could predict how this book ends, because there were no interesting twists and turns in the story.

The third person point of view made it very difficult to connect with the characters. I was intrigued by Abel and his growing sense of humanity, but I didn't get enough in the 100 pages I read to convince me to hear the rest of his story. Noemi was so focused on her one mission of saving her planet that she felt more robotic than Abel. I felt no sympathy for her when she experienced pain and I didn't care about her enough to find out if her mission was successful.

I may eventually finish Defy the Stars, reading a chapter here and there until I finally learn the end of Noemi and Abel's saga. But that won't happen any time soon. I am so disappointed the I didn't enjoy this book because I have heard such amazing things about Claudia Gray and her writing. Defy the Stars fell completely flat for me though. If you want an awesome book with artificial intelligence that develops beyond its programming, skip this and read Illuminae. (Or watch Bicentennial Man...fantastic movie.)