Defy the Worlds

480p. Little, Brown. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316394109.
Gr 9 Up—In this sequel to Defy the Stars, Noemi Vidal is finally back in her starfighter after being disciplined for disappearing six months ago amid a space battle. During that battle, Noemi discovered a derelict starship with a uniquely human mech, Abel. She and Abel fled the fight to develop an audacious and dangerous plan to save her planet Genesis from Earth's persistent invasions. But it didn't work out. Now, on duty at the interstellar gate, hundreds of strange star-shaped probes burst out, overwhelming Noemi's small squadron. Days later, people all around her are sick, and Noemi realizes that the probes have infected the planet with a virulent disease. Sent to Earth with a message of surrender, Noemi is captured by the brilliant mech inventor, Burton Mansfield, the man who built Abel and who now wants to move his consciousness into Abel's body—killing Abel's mind in the process. Abel is aware of Burton's intent, but can he rescue Noemi and help her save the pandemic-ridden Genesis before Earth and Burton's plans kill them all? The taut writing, engaging characters, unique universe, abundant plot twists, and a cliff-hanger finale in this sequel will keep readers on the edge of their seats and wanting more. The story has added depth through its pondering of intriguing questions of humanity, identity, and freedom.
VERDICT This is a must-read for fans of the first title, but it can also be a standalone for space opera buffs, as the backstory is cleverly woven into the narrative.

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