Defy the Stars

Defy the StarsAuthor: Claudia Gray
Series: Constellation #1
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

On Earth, they spent their lives fearing death, denying its inevitability.  They even found a way to expand their life-spans.  And yet they were so shortsighted that they used up the plant that provided the necessary drug.

Defy the Stars had potential.  It totes a heavy theme of conservation, climate change and the issues we are starting to face here on Earth and the repercussions if we don’t heed the scientific consensus and change our ways. (Spoiler alert: it’s not a pretty picture.)  But this story fails on many levels to grab and retain readers’ attention.  For one, the character development is almost nonexistent.  For Abel, his characterization is defined by the connection between his AI programming and his human tendencies.  It should have been a fascinating transformation and juxtaposition.  Instead, it was a mess of Gray using his programming and rules to the advantage of the plot with little to no consistency across chapters.  For Noemi, it centered on her loyalties to her people and to her family.  But she toes the line between revenge and right and wrong, and more than once her decisions seemed to go against the persona Gray had just developed.

Then there’s the romance.  Defy the Stars was definitely marketed as a budding romance between Abel and Noemi.  The problem here is they have no chemistry.  Zilch, nada.  Their relationship doesn’t feel organic as it stumbles along with a plot that never finds its roots and settles.

My final complaint turns to the settings.  Gray creates a host of potential for fascinating world building, even if the Gates mechanism to transport between them wasn’t a solid explanation to my liking.  Instead, Abel and Noemi hop desperately among the worlds.  What little world building there is comes in dumps of adjectives with little flair, which is a shame because the world had the greatest potential of all the elements of this novel that crumbled apart.

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