Defy the Stars

Seventeen-year-old Noemi is a fighter pilot for the planet Genesis in its war against the Earth. When she stumbles on Abel, the most sophisticated mech (robot) ever built, she realizes that she can use him in a suicide mission that will keep Genesis safe for decades. Abel has been alone since he was abandoned in battle 30 years ago. His sophisticated programming allows him to dream, want and develop complex emotions. But Abel's hard-wiring forces him to obey Noemi even though he knows she will end the life he's only begun to taste.

At first glance, it seems that Defy the Stars will hit the marks of a standard action-buddy story: Hostile combatants forced to work together develop a grudging respect that blossoms into friendship. But author Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You; Evernight) has a far more interesting and entertaining book up her sleeve. As the two race through the galaxy to carry out Noemi's plan, every slam-bang plot twist brings up a knotty philosophical issue. When Abel realizes that a pursuing mech has been given a mind as advanced as his own, he feels the new danger--but also the pull of not being alone anymore. Noemi, in turn, realizes that trusting Abel "doesn't feel like trusting a bridge to hold you over a river, or an oven to bake your bread. It feels like... trusting a person." Every explosion is balanced with a meditation on what it means to have a soul. Defy the Stars is a marvelous blend of thought, heart and pure adventure. --Ali Davis, freelance writer and playwright

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