Title: Defy the Fates (Constellation #3)
Author: Claudia Gray
Published: April 2019
Publisher: Bonnier (Hot Key)
Readership: Young Adult
I received a copy of Defy the Dates from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Alone in the universe, Noemi Vidal never wanted to be special. She only wanted to save her planet, Genesis, and after that, to save Abel. But now Noemi is something else, something more. Not quite mech, not quite human, Noemi must find her place in a universe where she is now utterly unique, all while trying to end Earth’s iron grip on the planets of the Loop once and for all.
The final battle between Earth and the colony planets is here, and there’s no lengths to which Earth won’t go preserve its power over the colonies. But Earth doesn’t foresee Noemi and Abel coming. And together, the universe’s most advanced mech and its first hybrid might just have the power to change the galaxy for good …
Defy the Fates is the concluding book in the Constellation series by Claudia Gray, preceded by Defy the Stars and Defy the Worlds. Set in space, some years into the future, humanity has expanded it’s reach, but at great cost. Human colonies are divided from Earth, embittered by the slow decay of the planet and those who seek to control the population through the use of artificially intelligent constructions that patrol not just Earth, but space itself.
The Constellation series began with our two protagonists, Noemi (a colonist living on Genesis, a planet that believes in faith over technology) and Abel (the most advanced mech ever built), whose paths crossed in a space battle. What was initially a fragile alliance built upon mutual need, has, over the course of three books, grown into a friendship and a love that questions the very understanding of the two leads. What does it mean to love a human? What does it mean to love a mech? Are the two compatible and what is the cost of staying together?
While I’ll admit that Defy the Fates was not my favourite of the three books, it was still a very good read, and one that I was eagerly anticipating. I’m a big fan of everything android/cyborg/mech, if only because it does bring up really fascinating questions about humanity and what it means to be human and what it means to not be human. The first part of Defy the Fates is told entirely from Abel’s point of view, and as a mech, the way he narrates the story is so different to the way Noemi tells her side – his is very mechanical, very factual and to the point. Which, admittedly, can be jarring, but it’s very effective in conveying the fact that’s not really human.
I think my favourite thread throughout the whole book is really the idea of how far will you go to save someone you love (even if you know your choice might not be what they would choose) – it’s a great morally grey area that I love to sit and think about. It causes tensions between our main characters and arguments they haven’t had before, while still forcing them to consider their own position and the reasons of the other individual for making those decisions and that’s the sort of stuff I find fascinating.
As always, there’s lots of space travelling. Noemi and Abel (and friends) revisit a lot of familiar planets that we’ve visited throughout the trilogy. At times, I think I would have appreciated a map of some kind just to keep the image of where/how far/etc they’d travelled, but that’s just a personal preference.
Interspersed with the travelling, there’s space battles galore, and attempts of intergalactic genocide and allies who become adversaries and vice versa.
While I think this book was more focused on the relationship and romance between Noemi and Abel, there was still enough space opera to hold my attention and now that the series is concluded, I feel there’s enough of a resolution for my to say farewell to the characters I’ve come to know and love.
As always, it’s a pleasure to read Claudia Gray’s work and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.