Defy the Worlds Review: A Sequel Set in Space That’ll Grip Your Hearts

July 27, 2018 by Aila J. | 4 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

Defy the Worlds Review: A Sequel Set in Space That’ll Grip Your HeartsDefy the Worlds by Claudia Gray
Series: Constellation #2
Published by Allen & Unwin on April 3, 2018
Source: Publisher
Genres: Action & Adventure, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
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This is the thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars from the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Lost Stars and Bloodline.

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.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider where--and with whom--we truly belong.

Note: This is the sequel to Defy the Stars, which you can find my review over here. Minor spoilers ahead!

I was extremely excited to pick up Defy the Worlds because I adored the previous book! I loved the science-fiction elements, the determined characters who were also filled with self-doubt, and in general the questions that the plot and characters posed. It’s definitely a space adventure worth the read. However, even though Defy the Worlds is almost non-stop action with both Abel and Noemi, it didn’t have the same glitter and shine as Defy the Stars. I wouldn’t quite call it second-book syndrome, since it was still good, but I guess I expected more. Also! There’s a rather massive cliffhanger in this book that I was not prepared for. I really thought this was a duology, and low key wish there was more publicity! I think Noemi and Abel’s story really deserve more hype than they’re getting.

In Defy the Worlds, we get more character introspection and a pretty intense development of the plot. While Noemi is back on her planet Genesis, she feels like an outcast and outsider. Abel is captain of his own ship for now, but still has beef with his creator Mansfield, who has plans of his own back on earth. The characters are all over the place, but Gray manages to keep everything organized and the plot stays rather easy to follow. Told in an alternating third person perspective that switches between Noemi and Abel, Defy the Worlds has action that never stops and poses existential questions about the future of the world. Gray’s exploration of robots, androids, and artificial intelligence is deftly written in the plot. While Abel and Noemi are apart for at least half of the book, they’re constantly thinking about one another and you can really see the strength of their bond despite the distance.

Always, she’s stood at the fringes. Sometimes she feels like she’s been lonely her entire life since her parents died.

When Noemi gets kidnapped by Mansfield to be used as a bargaining tool to capture Abel, he doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself to save her. Soon enough though, they get entangled in a larger plot boiling – the discovery of a new world that the elite people of Earth kept secret from the rest of the galaxy. There’s also an added biological war that Genesis is undergoing, creating even more problems for Abel and Noemi. For now though, all they can think about is surviving.

Gray explores a lot of impactful concepts that are reflective in reality in this story as well. There’s the brutal consequences of colonialism, the wonder and ethical questions of artificial intelligence, and the selfish gazes of those on the top of the socioeconomic ladder. The way her writing doesn’t stray from these harsh topics is what really gripped me in book one, and I’m glad to see it continued in this book. And topping it off is a romance that spans the galaxies – a forbidden love between people who were supposed to be sacrificed, dictated by the wills of the people around them.

Maybe his future isn’t out among the stars. Maybe it could be right here.

While Noemi is a skilled soldier who is extremely loyal to Genesis and willing to do anything to defend it, the council on Genesis is not as kind. Abel was created so his body could be taken over by another soul – his creator – but the fact that he’s sentient changes everything. And through unlikely adventures, these two people find each other and go from an antagonistic relationship to a romance across the stars. I loved seeing their belief and faith in one another, as well as the loyalty and love from their friends across the different planets.

When they met, they tried to kill each other. Now they want to die for each other.


This series has been such a successful space journey, and I can’t believe I have to wait for who-knows-long for the next book. (Seriously, it’s empty on Goodreads. There’s been no news of it at all!) Either way, I can’t wait to see where Noemi and Abel’s adventure takes them from here, and I urge SFF Young Adult readers to start this series. Gray’s writing is phenomenal (even though I didn’t like her Firebird trilogy), and she adds an element of depth in this story that gives it so much heart.

Content Warning: violence

Rating: 4 out of 5


Thank you Allen and Unwin for the review copy!

Defy the Stars will be available in Australian bookstores for $19.99 AUD and American bookstores for $17.99 USD.


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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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4 responses to “Defy the Worlds Review: A Sequel Set in Space That’ll Grip Your Hearts

  1. I couldn’t agree more Aila, such an underrated series. I loved this one too but for entirely different reasons to the first book in the series. Being apart for so much of the narrative, I missed that witty banter but enjoyed how they were both able to develop as single characters, especially Abel, who was still struggling between his AI and humanity. I loved the underlying social issues she explores like colonisation, socioeconomics and what really makes us human. Looking forward to seeing more information about book three! Brilliant review Aila, so glad you’re enjoying the series ♡♡♡
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