Defy the Stars
By: Claudia Gray
You can just bring me all the AI stories and I’ll eat them up. The AI in this Abel, the most advanced of his kind, was left behind during one war and alone for thirty-years only to be found when the next one starts up. Needless to say he’s not the same as he once was.
(Some vague Alien Covenant spoilers appear below. Because I had to ramble…)
Noemi Vidal is about to embark on a suicide mission when tragedy brings her into contact with Abel and a chance of stopping the war. First of all I liked both the characters in this quiet a lot. Noemi is a bit typical of what you’d expect. The gun-ho warrior (teenager of course) who can save her world.
Abel’s inner monologue was fascinating. Left by himself in the dark with only memories and a love for Casablanca things started to connect, his way of thinking began to change, and going on his physical adventures after Noemi finds him are almost second to his mental adventures. Can a machine develop a soul? What does free will mean when it’s against your programming?
I love those kinds go questions. Is this book particularly deep? Eh. I think Westworld does it better. Though if I consider the recent Alien Covenant Gray does it better than Ridley Scott tries to with Walter, who just gets short-changed for a shock twist and certainly with more hope than David’s destruction and darkness.
I also like the conflict in this one is between worlds but all worlds that Earth has populated that have turned on around and said, “Yeah, thanks. But you only get to destroy one planet okay?” They hopscotch a bit from planet to planet and you get a general idea of each one and the people that are populating them. There were some nice side characters here and there that I hope will be fleshed out in forthcoming books.
I also thought you could guess the reason Abel was so special fairly quickly though it didn’t ruin any of the book for me.
Bonus points: Despite the fact that this is part of a series it could easily be a standalone. I’m definitely going to read on but you don’t have to. I was happy with, and a little surprised by, the ending.
Recommend: Yes. Even with the nitpicks I enjoy the subject matter so much I could easily overlook them.