Defy the Stars

512p. ebook available. Little, Brown. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316394031.
Gr 8 Up—The planet Genesis is at war again. With no warning, Earth has revived a conflict after a 30-year hiatus because it has destroyed its own resources and land. Its people are desperate to escape to a healthier planet, and they have chosen Genesis. But the residents of Genesis fear the effects that Earth's policies will have on their planet. Noemi and her foster sister, Esther, are space pilots in the Genesis army, and they are caught in a surprise attack. Noemi boards a derelict ship in a desperate effort to save wounded Esther, but she finds the ship inhabited. Abel, a unique mech prototype, was left behind by his creator during the former war. Abel's intelligence seems to have evolved during his long isolation, and Noemi reluctantly decides to team up with him in a dangerous attempt to help Genesis. Replete with rebels, bots, and battles, this top-notch space adventure features a well-developed plot and an unexpected, satisfying ending. The story also gives serious treatment to the ethical dilemmas around highly advanced robotics and artificial intelligence as well as the consequences of policies for unlimited development and the resulting wanton destruction of limited natural resources. This is a complex and well-told tale about loyalty, love, and the meaning of life.
VERDICT A must-buy for sci-fi collections.

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