Book Review: “Defy The Fates” by Claudia Gray

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Defy The Fates” by Claudia Gray! This is the last book in a trilogy. I enjoyed the first two books, “Defy The Stars” and “Defy The Worlds,” and I’m so glad to finally pick up this last book to read. Let’s see the summary so we know what it’s about:

“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.”

Plot Development: 3 out of 5

Worldbuilding and theme development: 4 out of 5

Plotwise, I felt that the pacing was overall slower than the past two books. I believe this is due to the fact that they had to take an entire war into account, but I also felt that the themes that made this series so special (the ideas of what makes one human, for example, as covered SO WELL by the first book) could have been explored so much more and became a missed opportunity. For instance, we know that in this book, Noemi is no longer physically fully human, due to Abel working with Gillian to give her mech parts to keep her alive after what happened in the previous book. There could have been so much exploration into Noemi adjusting to this ‘lack’ of humanity and ‘addition’ of mech parts, as well as more exploration into how people treated her because she was no longer fully human. Unfortunately, this exploration was rather cursory overall.

Despite that lack of exploration, the book does make up with exploring the notion of how souls exist, and how well technology can (or can’t, in this case) preserve those souls. For instance, we have the introduction of Robin Mansfield (Burton’s wife, and Gillian’s mother) coming into play, as it’s revealed that her soul was apparently stored as data. Unfortunately, as evidenced by Abel’s encounter with Robin late in the book, it’s clear that Robin is no longer the person she one was. There’s only so much that data can do to preserve the personality, memories and other quirks of humanity. Burton Mansfield himself also gets this same treatment when he initially and successfully has his own self transferred into Abel’s body, but then he has the internal struggle against Abel at the climax of the book because one body just can’t contain two souls.

Romance development: 3 out of 5

Though it was great to see Noemi and Abel have some very heartfelt moments together (won’t spoil anything other than the fact that they do have a brief sex scene that’s fade-to-black), they didn’t really have a lot going on other than that. I believe this is partially due to the large amount of focus on the exploring of the soul’s existence going on in this book, as well as the overall plotline of events. I’m also glad that they have a happy ending together, because it would suck if either one of them died, but I felt that their relationship growth as a bit stagnant compared to the past two books.

The added throwbacks/callbacks and dialogue: 5 out of 5

Remember the hilarious scene where Abel suggested he prostitute himself in book one? That definitely gets a callback partway through the book where he almost brings that up again to gather necessary funding, only for Noemi to shut that down. We also had a lot of really nice, snappy dialogue going on between Abel and the other characters (especially Abel, though. He has really great one-liners when going up against Burton and Gillian), as well as more heartfelt and emotional dialogue not just between Abel and Noemi as lovers, but also from other characters, such as Virginia when she briefly calls out Abel and Noemi for initially not rescuing her friends after all the help she’s given them. It really helps add to the character development of all the characters overall, and I think that was an exceptional strong point in this book that helped carry it through its slow plot.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

For the trilogy overall, I rate this 4 out of 5 stars! It’s definitely worth picking up if you want to explore the themes of what makes one human and how tech may clash with humanity, as well as the romance between Abel and Noemi.

 

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