Synopsis from Goodreads:
Hunted and desperate.
Abel only has one mission left that matters: save the life of Noemi Vidal. To do that, he not only has to escape the Genesis authorities, he also must face the one person in the galaxy who still has the means to destroy him. Burton Mansfield’s consciousness lives on, desperate for a home, and Abel’s own body is his last bargaining chip.
Alone in the universe.
Brought back from the brink of death, Noemi Vidal finds Abel has not only saved her life, but he’s made her into something else, something more. Not quite mech, yet not quite human any longer, Noemi must find her place in a universe where she is utterly unique, all while trying to create a world where anyone–even a mech–can be free.
The final battle between Earth and the colony planets is here, and there’s no lengths to which Earth won’t go to preserve its domination over all humanity. But together, the universe’s most advanced mech and its first human-mech hybrid might have the power to change the galaxy for good.
First things first, if you haven’t read Defy The Stars, you need to go treat yourself to it ASAP. I received the book in a subscription box and for some reason or other, I didn’t bother to read it for a year – I finally decided I needed to actually read the books I got in boxes otherwise what was the point of buying them, and OHMYGOD, it was life-changing. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and most frequently recommended, mainly because I lament how underappreciated this series is. But if you haven’t come across it before, you’re in luck as you can now binge-read the whole trilogy in one hit instead of angsting for months til the sequel comes out like I have!
If you have read the previous books, then the main question would be – does the conclusion to the series wrap up well and do justice to our beloved characters? And my answer is a fervent whole-hearted YES.
I had my concerns going in – after the devastating cliffhanger that book 2 ended on, how would Noemi and Abel relate to each other in the aftermath of his highly unorthodox and frankly outrageous solution to saving her life? I was afraid that they would be at odds over it and that manufactured conflict would keep them apart, and now I see how foolish I was because Claudia Gray has never been cliche or taken the easy route in the past, and of course she wouldn’t at this late stage in the game. There was a lot of heart-ache and struggle on Noemi’s part to reconcile herself to this new life as a mech-human hybrid and certainly it DID cause tension between her and Abel, but not because of his choices when it came to keeping her alive.
I love that she didn’t blame him for what he did to her (personally I might’ve had a few words about playing God), but Noemi’s difficulty in adapting to her new body and Abel’s uncertainty over whether she blamed him took its toll on their relationship. Normally I don’t like couples fighting because so often it’s over something that could be easily resolved if they just TALKED like mature adults or contrived for plot reasons, but any conflict in this series has always been from believable character-drive reasons. (like being soldiers on opposing sides of a war 😉 ) And the best part about this OTP is that they prioritize the well-being of others first and foremost, so any personal issues take a back-seat when it comes to saving the day, I love how noble and heroic they are. ❤ But I have to say it really distresses me how willing they are to sacrifice themselves at the drop of a hat!
Moving on from our main duo, I’m glad to see that Virginia plays a big role in this book, she’s a stealth MVP and a major highlight for me! The network of supporting characters built up in the previous two books comes to fruition here with a bigger cast in play, all with competing goals and political agendas and ulterior motives. I’m a little stunned at how effortlessly all the pieces come together and little tidbits or minor character dynamics set up earlier on are paid off, though not always as expected.
At times it feels a bit like ‘Noemi & Abel’s Great Hits’ tour as they swing by all the planets and run into old friends, old foes and everyone in between, but it all makes sense in the grand scheme of things. Even if it is a bit too neat and by design at times, I appreciate how well-planned this series was from the start and that the author had such a clear goal of how to develop the characters and where their journey was taking them. Of course it wasn’t that clear to the audience – this book had so many blindsides and my head felt like it was about to explode from shock a few times! On each occasion a bombshell dropped, I couldn’t imagine where the story could go from there or how our heroes could possibly adjust course to face the new challenge, but the story continued seamlessly every time and I wound up marveling again at how tightly plotted this trilogy is, especially with some of the foreshadowing laying the groundwork in earlier books.
I feel on the whole that this book is practically perfect and it delivered on pretty much every level that I desired. My only criticism is that it was a bit too short and so the pacing was break-neck and didn’t allow time for our main pairing to just breathe in between crises. My main investment was in their relationship and it felt as though they were continually being torn apart just as they had been reunited. I would’ve loved for a longer epilogue to really satisfy fans of their romance, but that’s me being greedy, I’m just happy that it finished on such a perfect note.
Pros: amazing protagonists, fantastic romance, epic world-building, great supporting characters, well-developed plot
Cons: frenetic pace, not enough time for our OTP
Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.
Disclaimer: Physical copy provided by Allen & Unwin free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.