BLOG BOOKCLUB – Donna Reads: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

The Blurb: 

She’s a soldier — Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything–including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine — Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

My Review:

Along with Deborah from The Reading Chick, I read Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. This was another Blog Bookclub read. I think Deb liked it a bit more than I did. I have mixed feelings about this one.

My biggest objection was I didn’t realize that this was the first book in a series. As the first in a series, it ends with a bit of a non-ending. I made the mistake of peeking at said ending when I was first reading the book and spoiled it for myself, and then I didn’t want to finish it. I had to make myself pick it up and read, and that’s a shame because it really isn’t a bad book. 

The next issue I had with the story is the subordinate nature of Abel’s character. I understand that an android by nature would be subservient and submissive. I guess I’ve read too many books with alpha/dominant male characters. I’m used to heroes in romances being more assertive. Abel is sweet, gentle, obedient and a bit naive. He can be protective and combative but usually only if he’s fulfilling orders and protecting those he serves. I understood where his character was coming from, but I had trouble with this aspect of his character several different times throughout the book. I kept shying away from reading because I thought he was going to get hurt or be taken advantage of, and I didn’t want to read farther. The author has obviously modeled Abel’s character after the android Data from Star Trek the Next Generation. In many instances the similarities were just too obvious to be accidental. Data always wanted to be a “real boy”, at times Data was more human than the humans, and Data was even taken over by a dying human at one point. Abel is much the same. 

At times the novel dragged for me, and I had to force myself to keep reading. Yes, Abel and Noemi (how the heck do you pronounce her name??) were traveling around the entire galaxy, but not a lot is happening other than the trip around the loop. They spend most of the book just running. I was hoping they’d actually stop and do something besides flee. They went to interesting places and met interesting people, but as soon as they’d get somewhere, someone else would be after them and they’d run again. It got tiring after awhile. I wanted something more from the plot, and not many of the details of their journey stuck with me other than the flight aspect.

I loved Abel’s character, but I hated his submissiveness. I loved how he grew and enjoyed watching him develop over the course of the story. I especially liked how his feelings developed for Noemi. I hated that he was alone for so long, and I didn’t like the non-ending he got at the end of the book. I didn’t care for Noemi’s character for most of the book, but she did get a tad more likable as the book went on. The ending really screams sequel coming.

Overall, I wish this book had wrapped itself up at the end.  As a standalone with an HEA, I think it would’ve been a fantastic read. Who knows? Maybe the sequel will change my mind about the way this one was presented. I’m hoping.

Donna Reads: Cinder (the Lunar Chronicles #1)

cinderIn Cinder by Marissa Meyer, New Beijing is a city from the future. Humans and androids co-exist, and a deadly plague threatens the human population. In this twist on the classic Cinderella fairy tale, Cinder is a mechanic. She’s also a cyborg. Cyborgs are hated – not human and not android. She doesn’t fit in anywhere. When Cinder’s beloved stepsister falls ill with the plague, Cinder’s stepmother blames Cinder and sends her off to be a test subject for the plague research. Cinder’s past is a mystery. Who is Cinder?

I have to admit to being totally taken in by this re-telling of the Cinderella story. This novel borrows some from the fairy tale, but it also changes the story quite a bit. I also have to admit that I figured out fairly early on just who Cinder is. I liked that she is both tough and tender in this story even though the ability to cry and blush have been taken away from her when she was made cyborg. I like that she is uncertain but also committed. Underneath the computerized, metal parts and pieces, she is still human. I found myself mentally cheering her on more than once. This book is very well written, and I like that it didn’t turn in to a cheesy romance although there is an attraction between Cinder and Prince Kai. Since this is a book in a series, it doesn’t tie everything up neatly with a “happily ever after” at the end. I liked that, too. I am now reading the second book in the series, and I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys a different type of read like I do.

New Toy

Here’s my new toy and Christmas present – a Kindle Fire HD. No, I didn’t really need one, but I wanted one. It is a lot easier to check emails and blog posts with it. It’s easier to hold than a laptop or netbook since I usually have a cat in my lap when I sit in my chair. It’s also a bigger screen than my iPhone so it’s easier to see, too. Isn’t technology wonderful?