I thought I was ready for the sequel to Defy the Stars but alas, I was not. This surpassed all of my expectations and made me fall more in love with Noemi and Abel.
This story picks up six months after the end of the first book. Noemi is back on Genesis and Abel is free traveling through space. These two cannot stop thinking about one another no matter how hard they try. While they are trying to move on with their lives, fate has other things in store for them. They will be brought back together to, once again, fight to save the entire universe. They will face death-defying space battles, horrible villains, and sinister plans. What Gray gave us in this story went a step further than what she gave us in the first book. Buckle up, this was a wild ride that you won’t soon forget.
The characters were one of the biggest things that kept me turning the pages long past my bed time. Separately, Abel and Noemi were still very strong characters but together they were pure magic. Abel’s character continued to astound me because he grew so much. His development arc was brilliant to witness. Sure, he was a mech but that never defined who he was. He had a soul and that made him different. He was always doing things to better everyone else and never thinking about himself. He knew that being the captain of a vagabond ship could get his crew in trouble or hurt if it was discovered who and what he was, but he always went out of his way to protect them. He was always, always thinking of others before himself. Noemi was the same way. She wanted to fight to save her planet and was willing to throw herself into the fight first regardless of what the outcome might be. She even risked her position within the Genesis military just so she could get to the bottom of the new plague that was taking over her planet. Rules be damned.
While all of that was amazing to read, I really kept waiting for the moment Abel and Noemi would be together again. That’s the softer side of me talking. I will be the first to tell you that my heart flew when they were finally reunited. I gasped and let out a silent cheer for the both of them! I know this is a killer story (no pun intended) set in space and there is a lot on the line, but I kept wanting those two to just have a chance to be together. They needed each other and were better together. If there is one ship I hold close, it is this one.
I remember in my review of Defy the Stars that I mentioned there were what I felt were underlying themes of religion, acts of war, and the discussion of “can a mech have free will? A soul?” I can say that not as much time was given to the topic of religion or free will, but Gray did have one reoccurring theme that I really liked. There were two questions Noemi asked herself constantly because they were asked to her, “What are you fighting? And what are you fighting for?” If that doesn’t give you pause, I don’t know what will. I only point this out because I felt this kept Noemi somewhat grounded and gave her focus. There was also the brilliant theme of humanity vs machine and the difference. This was constantly debated by numerous characters within the story, all had their own opinion but it was still great to read.
The overall plot of this particular book was mind-blowing and bloody brilliant. I never doubted Gray for a moment. This had none of the second book syndrome or filler vibe. This was well developed, thoroughly vetted, and masterfully executed. I am not going to give anything away here but if you take anything away from my review – besides my undying love for Abel and Noemi – it is this: the ending will leave you screaming. I thought this would only be a duology but, blessed be, there will be a third book! I cannot be left with that cliffhanger. The betrayal and the uncertainty has to be resolved in the next book because it was just too delicious to be left alone. Please, add this to your TBR now if it isn’t already. You need this story in your life.