Hello humans! Today’s book review is another instance of ‘Judith read the sequel before reading the first book – oops!’ Nonetheless, I do think these reviews can be helpful because sometimes reading later books in the series means you can skip some of the unnecessary set up in the earlier books (I’m remembering when I started with book four in the Talon series).
Defy the Worlds is the second book in the Constellation series. I’ve had Defy the Stars on my want-to-read for a while and read this without really making the connection (it’s been a busy start to the year please don’t judge me for my scatterbrain.
This review will have spoilers for the first book in the series but not for this book!
An outcast from her home — Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people…if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap.
A fugitive from his fate — On the run to avoid his depraved creator’s clutches, Abel believes he’s said good-bye to Noemi for the last time. After all, the entire universe stands between them…or so he thinks. When word reaches him of Noemi’s capture by the very person he’s trying to escape, Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost.
But capturing Noemi was only part of Burton Mansfield’s master plan. In a race against time, Abel and Noemi will come together once more to discover a secret that could save the known worlds, or destroy them all.
I definitely enjoyed reading this book and I’ll start by saying that you definitely don’t need to have read book one to get to grips with the plot. I don’t doubt that you miss out on some of the worldbuilding and finer points of the story, but broadly speaking you can get by without.
The plot of this book reminded me a little of Zero Repeat Forever in the sense that it’s sort-of non-humans falling in love with humans despite the world suggesting otherwise. This book has a far heavier science fiction element, probably because Noemi as a character has more access to tech and space travel than the setting in Zero Repeat Forever. I thought that the way this world was set up, with multiple planets linked together in a loop, was well executed, though there seems to have been less travel than in the first book.
This is one of those books that engage with ethical discussions through a science fiction lense. It’s not unique in that sense, but this was a well thought out way of doing it. Especially since ideas like this often run their course in the first book, leaving the second feeling a little bit flat. In this case, it felt to me as if new ideas were being explored within the same setting, which was nice.
There is a strong romance flavour to this novel, it’s clear from the get-go. However, I thought it was well handled and worked well with the other plot elements to form a cohesive story. I thought that the connection between Noemi and Abel was well-established even without having had the first novel to set it up, but it also wasn’t (for me) annoying or forced. You definitely care for these characters from early on.
I thought this was a very strong book, it deals with difficult concepts in an easy to understand way, it tackles the idea of personhood and place in a powerful manner, and on top of all of that, it is an interesting and engaging story.
Should you read this? I think it is worth reading, especially if you like lighter science fiction with a romance element to it. If you like ZRF you will certainly enjoy this.
My rating: 4/5 stars
Defy the Worlds releases on April 3rd 2018 so be sure to preorder if you want to read it as soon as possible!
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What other science fiction books should I read? Let me know in the comments below!