Tag Archives: robots

Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray. April 3, 2018. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 480 p. ISBN: 9780316394109.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 850.

An outcast from her home — Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people…if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap.

A fugitive from his fate — On the run to avoid his depraved creator’s clutches, Abel believes he’s said good-bye to Noemi for the last time. After all, the entire universe stands between them…or so he thinks. When word reaches him of Noemi’s capture by the very person he’s trying to escape, Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost.

But capturing Noemi was only part of Burton Mansfield’s master plan. In a race against time, Abel and Noemi will come together once more to discover a secret that could save the known worlds, or destroy them all.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider where–and with whom–we truly belong.

Sequel to: Defy the Stars

Part of Series: Constellation (Book 2)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, War, Violence, Mild sexual themes, Alcohol

 

Reviews

Booklist (March 1, 2018 (Online))
Grades 7-11. Though Noemi and Abel have strong feelings for each other, they have gone their separate ways for protection. Yet their efforts are foiled when Abel’s wealthy, power-hungry family abducts Noemi, using her as bait to make Abel sacrifice himself for his father/creator. Abel, a first-generation mechanized being with a soul, tracks them and finds himself in the middle of a three-way battle with a family that sees him as inhuman; with rebels bent on destroying the present regime, which includes Abel’s family; and with his own desire to save his love. Gray’s sequel to Defy the Stars (2017) revisits a familiar cast of characters and disturbing questions about the line dividing human and machine, though what was fresh and intriguing in the first book veers toward a certain predictability here. Nevertheless, readers will care about the potential lovers and the tricky situations that ensnare them. Romantic and adventurous, this novel contains a plethora of STEM-related content and is a worthy discussion starter for conversations about the ethics of technology.

Kirkus Reviews (February 15, 2018)
After Defy the Stars (2017), new threats reunite Noemi, a human, and Abel, a mech or anthropoid robot.Noemi (described as Latin American and Polynesian in the previous book) struggles with being back home on Genesis, facing ostracism—especially for not letting Abel sacrifice himself to destroy the gate that protects the planet. She gets into additional trouble for wanting to use common sense and her initiative instead of waiting for the order to destroy mysterious projectiles from Earth. By the time the order comes, it’s impossible to stop all of them. Genesis is struck by a pandemic so bad that Noemi’s sent to Earth to surrender. Before she can get there, she’s grabbed by enemy forces and used as leverage to get Abel to surrender himself. Their objectives—saving themselves and Genesis—lead the duo to form strange alliances and discover new revelations, including devious schemes, predictable-yet-heartbreaking technological applications, and the full truth behind the Cobweb virus. The action raises the stakes, for individuals and entire worlds, and the romance satisfies without overwhelming, right up to a huge cliffhanger ending. There is ample ethnic diversity throughout the book, mostly incidental to the plot, although having one of the two named leaders of the extremist terrorist wing coded as Arab may raise eyebrows. A fast, fun follow-up. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

About the Author

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

Her website is www.claudiagray.com.

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Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston. February 27, 2018. Balzer + Bray, 480 p. ISBN: 9780062652850.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 740.

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Part of series: Heart of Iron (Book 1)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, War, Violence, Mild sexual themes, Alcohol, Criminal culture, Gore; Murder

 

Author Video

Reviews

Booklist (December 1, 2017 (Vol. 114, No. 7))
Grades 9-12. Deep in the stars, Ana was found by the starship Dossier as a child, alone except for sentient android D09, and she was raised by the ship’s captain and her crew of space pirates. As a teenager, Ana searches for a way to save D09, who has begun to break down—a challenge, as Di is one of the only remaining Metals who isn’t part of the HIVE, the system that strips androids of their free will. Ana refuses to lose the android boy she can’t help but love, despite his own inability to feel emotions. On a quest to save Di, Ana encounters Robb, an elite Ironborn whose despotic brother is about to ascend the throne, which has stood empty since the princess who should have inherited it disappeared after a Metal rebellion. The legends surrounding Anastasia Romanov get an sf makeover in this occasionally overcrowded but always exciting Firefly-style space opera. A wide cast of supporting characters and several same-sex romances add depth, and a violent, volatile ending leaves room for more.

Kirkus Reviews (November 1, 2017)
The story of Anastasia, lost princess of Imperial Russia, retold as space opera.In 1918, the 17-year-old daughter of Russia’s last czar was murdered with her family, but rumors persisted for decades that she might have survived in secret. In this version, the family of the Emperor of the Iron Kingdom, including his daughter Ananke Armorov, is known to have been murdered seven years ago in the android rebellion. Meanwhile, a ragtag crew of space pirates is community to brown-skinned and burn-scarred Ana. Ana’s best friend—about whom she has secret, more-than-friend feelings—is Di, a Metal: an android. Metals aren’t popular since the rebellion; most have been infected with the mind-controlling HIVE program that removes their free will. Complicating matters are Robb, a blue-eyed, olive-skinned noble on his own quest, and Jax, a violet-eyed, silver-haired Solani boy who pilots the pirate ship. Jax and Robb keep making eyes at each other, which is troublesome, since Robb’s mother wants Ana’s whole crew dead. Melodramatic back stories abound: there’s a prophesied savior, a prince in hiding with a secret power, and a noble young man with no memory. Malapropisms abound in the florid, awkward narrative (“Her voice warbled with the weight of those words”). There’s the kernel of a dramatic space yarn here, but it never comes to fruition. A surplus of angst-ridden back stories told in deeply regrettable prose. (Science fiction. 12-15)

About the Author

Ashley Poston’s is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well…

She loves dread pirates, moving castles, and starry night skies. When not lost in a book, she’s lost in real life, searching for her next great adventure. She is the author of Heart of Iron and Geekerella .

Her website is www.ashposton.com

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Supergifted by Gordon Korman

Supergifted by Gordon Korman. January 2, 2018. Balzer + Bray, 304 p. ISBN: 9780062563859.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 4.7; Lexile: 740.

The highly anticipated sequel to Ungifted from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Gordon Korman.

Donovan Curtis has never been what anyone would call “gifted.” But his genius friend Noah Youkilis is actually supergifted, with one of the highest IQs around. After years at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, all Noah dreams of is the opportunity to fail if he wants to. And he’s landed in the perfect place to do it—Donovan’s school.

Almost immediately, Noah finds himself on the wrong side of cheerleading captain Megan Mercury and alpha jock Hash “Hashtag” Taggart. Sticking up for Noah lands Donovan in the middle of a huge feud with Hashtag. He’s told to stay away from the sports star—or else.

That should be the end of it, but when a freak incident suddenly makes Donovan a hero, he can’t tell anyone about it since Hashtag is involved. So Noah steps in and becomes “Superkid.” Now he’s gone from nerd to titan at school. And it may have gone more than a little bit to his head.

This funny and heartwarming sequel to Ungifted, which has become a word-of-mouth hit, cleverly sends up our ideas about intelligence, heroism, and popularity.

Sequel toUngifted

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Video Review

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2018 (Online))
Grades 4-7. This sequel to Ungifted (2012) turns the original premise on its head when Noah, an off-the-charts genius, enrolls in an ordinary middle school. Clueless, optimistic, and determined to fit in, he fails miserably until his friend Donovan performs a heroic act and insists that Noah take the credit. Suddenly Noah rockets from superdweeb to Superkid. The amusing first-person narration rotates among several kids, from Noah and Donovan to a head cheerleader and an überjock, who all offer refreshingly different perspectives. Managing a large cast of characters with ease, Korman creates a comedy of compounded errors leading to a public disaster and, strangely enough, a happy ending.

School Library Journal (December 1, 2017)
Gr 4-7-Laughs abound in Korman’s satisfying sequel to Ungifted. Donovan is the same goofy, impulse-driven kid that got put into the TaG class instead of suspension by a superintendent’s slip of the pen. His instinctive dive into a runaway truck avertsáa disaster but then precipitates a series of mishaps when his nerdy friend Noah, a downwardly mobile transfer from a magnet school, decides to take the credit for Donovan’s heroic act in order to protect him from the wrath of his ex-Marine brother-in-law. Told from the point of view of several of Donovan’s classmates in both his regular school and the magnet school that he still attends once a week for the robotics team, Korman shows the varying perceptions of heroism among Donovan’s broadly drawn community: the unsympathetic cheerleader Megan, the lacrosse-playing entitled bully, the nerds on the robotics team, the rigid authoritarian brother-in-law who is helpless when dealing with a new infant, and the plastic television host on the track of a news story. Korman expertly holds readers’ attention with a fast-paced plot culminating in a climactic denouement at the robotics meeting. Eventually, the true hero is unmasked, relationships are healed within and outside his family, and once again kindness and tolerance win the day. VERDICT Humorous, relatable, and full of heart, Korman’s gift for understanding the middle school mind is on full display.á-Jane -Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City

About the Author

Korman wrote his first book, “This Can’t be Happening at Macdonald Hall”, when he was 12 years old, for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English. He later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in “The Sixth Grade Nickname Game”, wherein Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

Korman moved to New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While in New York, he met his future wife; live in Long Island with their three children.

He has published more than 50 books.

His website is gordonkorman.com.

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Watchdog by Will McIntosh

Watchdog by Will McIntosh. October 10, 2017. Delacorte Press, 185 p. ISBN: 9781524713843.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Lexile: 740.

Thirteen-year-old twins Vick and Tara have built an incredible machine–a loyal robotic watchdog named Daisy. But, when local crime boss Ms. Alba schemes to add Daisy to her robot army, Vick and Tara must go to great lengths to protect their prized pet. Because Daisy is more than just any robot–she’s their constant protector, and together the three make a great team.

Vick and Tara are determined to stop the mob from tearing their little family apart. And they might just succeed! Sure, the evil Ms. Alba has more robot watchdogs, but none are as smart–or as faithful–as their Daisy. Plus, if things get too dangerous, Tara could always upgrade their pet. With her mechanical skills, she could make Daisy bigger, stronger, and a lot more intimidating!

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Child labor, Theft, Violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (October 1, 2017 (Online))
Grades 4-7. Twins Vick and Tara have been left to fend for themselves in this near-future tale, surviving by salvaging parts from a local dump. Their way of life, however, is threatened when the mysterious Ms. Alba, who clearly has ulterior motives, seizes control of the dump. When the twins get in a kerfuffle with her goons, and their tiny robotic dog, Daisy, nearly destroys one of Alba’s high-tech Watchdogs in the process, Alba takes notice, since Daisy is clearly something special: Tara upgraded Daisy with a salvaged piece of technology, so she is more sentient than the other run-of-the-mill, hunt-and-destroy Watchdogs. With the help of some other street urchins, Vick and Tara show the members of their community that they can—and should—stand up and fight back. Tara is an engrossing character who has a knack for technology, but she also suffers from stress-induced panic attacks as a side effect of her autism. This fast-paced sci-fi adventure with an unsettling dystopian atmosphere should find easy appeal among a wide range of readers.

Kirkus Reviews (August 15, 2017)
In a nasty, hyperstratified future, white twins Vick and Tara are on their own in the scary streets of Chicago, where economic disaster has laid waste to the poorer sections of the city.Although Tara is autistic—communicative but faced with worsening symptoms—she has a remarkable talent for designing the robot watchdogs that everyone uses for a variety of purposes. The pair scrounge for saleable electronics all day long in the blocks-long dump that’s developed in their part of the city, and at night Tara tinkers. But after she finds an amazing chip among the debris, she crafts a seemingly sentient little critter, Daisy. Daisy’s astonishing capabilities immediately attract the attention of the cruel overlord of the Chicago robotics world, Ms. Alba, an Asian woman who uses a group of imprisoned, mostly child workers to turn out watchdog robots. Her minions kidnap the siblings, but with Daisy’s help they break out. It’s only after they begin to accept help from other street kids that the believably portrayed Vick and Tara start to make a bit of progress. The grim setting is vividly depicted, and the clever-kid–against–mean-adult trope is both plausible and very satisfying. The fast-paced narrative readily conveys the looming sense of ever present danger. Engaging, suspenseful, and with nearly all the vivid fighting confined to robots, this gritty tale is perfect for a younger audience than most post-apocalyptic stories. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 10-14)

About the Author

Will McIntosh is the author of several adult novels; many short stories; one young adult novel, Burning Midnight; and one middle-grade novel. He won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story and was a finalist for the Locus Award, and his novel Love Minus Eighty was an ALA-RUSA Reading List Selection for Science Fiction. Watchdog is his first novel for middle-grade readers.

Will lives with his wife and twin children in Williamsburg, Virginia.  His website is www.willmcintosh.net.

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Artificial Intelligence by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Artificial Intelligence: Building Smarter Machines by Sammartino McPherson. September 1, 2017. Twenty-First Century Books, 104 p. ISBN: 9781512418262.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1170.

In 2011 a computer named Watson outscored two human competitors on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! and snagged the million-dollar prize. Watson isn’t the only machine keeping up with humans. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is booming, with drones, robots, and computers handling tasks that once only humans could perform.

Read about the history of artificial intelligence from smart cars to drones and learn how the fields of AI and neurology work together to create “thinking machines.” You’ll also consider the pros and cons of AI and discover what lies ahead.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (August 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 22))
Grades 8-11. The concept of artificial intelligence, or AI, shouldn’t be new to most young readers, since it’s a frequent feature of sci-fi movies, TV shows, and even the game show Jeopardy!, which famously featured a computer contestant, Watson, that beat its human competitors. There’s more to AI than a dystopian future of robot overlords, however, and McPherson cogently lays out the concept from its inception, with Lovelace and Babbage’s analytical engine, to contemporary research on the topic, including neural mapping, the ways AI is already integrated into current technology, and depictions in popular culture. In addition to laying out the basic research at hand, McPherson also raises critical questions, such whether we should allow computers to make ethical choices, given that those circumstances are so complicated that a simple algorithm likely wouldn’t suffice. On magazinelike pages packed with inset boxes and sidebars, as well as photos of scientists and their machines, McPherson’s straightforward, accessible text offers fascinating, thought-provoking, and up-to-date information on a high-interest, very relevant topic to contemporary teens. Extensive back matter includes further reading and source notes.

Kirkus Reviews (June 1, 2017)
McPherson presents the evolution of artificial intelligence—machines with the “humanlike ability to reason and solve problems.” That definition opens McPherson’s tour d’horizon of artificial intelligence, immediately placing readers on shaky ground. Philosophers have been debating “to reason” since long before Descartes. There is little doubt that McPherson richly explores the women and men who develop machines to do the drudge work of mechanical production and everyday life, but do either the amusingly crafty Watson, which took down the Jeopardy! game show champs, or Deep Blue, which humiliated Garry Kasparov, qualify as “a truly thinking machine, able to learn on its own and modify its own programming without human input”? The ability for a machine to reckon if/then is part of its programming. Sentience, which includes feeling, is stickier. How is it possible, as McPherson writes, that a machine programmed by humans “might not share human social and ethical values—such as notions of fairness, justice, and right and wrong”? Throughout, there’s too much supposition and not enough science; emblematic of this is a failure to convey exactly how Google Brain arrived at the concept of a cat without being commanded to: “All on its own, it had developed the concept of ‘cat.’ ” McPherson conveys the thrill of the possibility inherent in AI, but she’s frequently a giant step ahead of the game. (Nonfiction. 13-18)

About the Author

Stephanie Sammartino McPherson wrote her first children’s story in college. She enjoyed the process so much that she’s never stopped writing. A former teacher and freelance newspaper writer, she has written twenty-eight books and numerous magazine stories. She especially enjoys writing about science and the human interest stories behind major discoveries.

Stephanie and her husband, Richard, live in Virginia but also call California home. They are the parents of two grown children.

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One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale

One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale. March 14, 2017. Amulet Books, 127 p. ISBN: 9781419721281.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 3.4.

The aliens have arrived. And they’re hungry for electricity. In the Earth of the future, humans are on the run from an alien force—giant blobs who suck up electrical devices wherever they can find them. Strata and her family are part of a caravan of digital rescuers, hoping to keep the memory of civilization alive by saving electronics wherever they can. Many humans have reverted to a pre-electrical age, and others have taken advantage of the invasion to become dangerous bandits and outlaws. When Strata and her brother are separated from the caravan, they must rely on a particularly beautiful and rare robot pony to escape the outlaws and aliens—and defeat the invaders once and for all.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: War; Violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
Grades 3-6. On a ravaged future earth, technology-hungry aliens called pipers scour the planet for salvage, leaving behind a landscape riddled with spherical gouges, as if earth was suddenly Swiss cheese. One cadre of humans is trying to preserve the earth’s culture by scavenging for any remaining technology, but it’s dangerous work, especially when three kids—Strata, Auger, and Inby—stumble on a hidden cavern packed with untouched robots, including a beautiful mechanical horse. Strata’s determined to bring the horse back to their caravan, but their discovery catches the attention of a horde of pipers, and their journey home gets a lot more complicated. Hale imbues his latest with pathos, action, and perfectly timed moments of comedy, but it’s the imaginative landscape, spot-on visual pacing, and confident line work that make this adventure tale really zing. The pipers are a particular treat—they’re elaborate, insectoid creatures with menacing, globular features and pendulous tendrils, ready to grab and annihilate anything they touch. Though it’s over a bit too neatly, the suspenseful chase plot and lively characters will entrance plenty of readers.

Kirkus Reviews (February 15, 2017)
In the future, the extraterrestrial Pipers devour electrical devices while threatening human lives and forcing them to regress to pre-electrical technology. Strata, her brother, Auger, and his wisecracking friend, Inby, find a sleeping robot pony named Kleidi buried in sand one day while exploring some ruins. Waking Kleidi, however, triggers activity and attracts numerous unwanted encounters with the Pipers, huge and terrifying tentacled beings; fleeing, they become lost. While on the run, the group meets a young woman, Pick, from a different tribe, which is hiding from “ferals,” or bandits and outlaws. Together they go on a quest in search of the Caravan—the trio’s mobile home, which houses the remaining digital archives: robots, literature, music, movies, along with all memory of previous human civilizations. Serving as a leitmotif throughout the story is the tale of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”: the children, in this future, are represented by technology; as Pick explains, “they are stealing our future.” Hale generously offers texture and intricate details in his panels—often zooming in and out and back in—while offering balance with illustrations rendered in black, white, and gray with yellow accents. In this future, humans are divided into clans but do not maintain present-day racial distinctions; all the main characters appear to be children of color. Hale blends adventure, aliens, an apocalyptic future, and folklore into an easy-to-read stand-alone. (Graphic science fiction. 8-12)

About the Author

Nathan Hale is the New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of the Hazardous Tales series, as well as many picture books including Yellowbelly and Plum go to School, the Twelve Bots of Christmas and The Devil You Know.

He is the illustrator of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas, Animal House and many others.

His website is www.spacestationnathan.blogspot.com.

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Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. April 4, 2017. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 512 p. ISBN: 9780316394031.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

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.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; War; Violence; Strong sexual themes; Alcohol; Body humor

 

Reviews

Booklist (February 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 11))
Grades 7-11. A trial run for a major offensive against Earth turns into a rescue operation for Genesis soldier Noemi Vidal, as she tries to save a friend from a surprise attack by Earth mechs (mechanized warriors) and ends up boarding a disabled Earth warship from an earlier battle. The ship isn’t empty; for the last 30 years, a one-of-a-kind mech, Abel, has waited for someone to release him from his tin prison. Noemi needs for Abel to complete a deadly mission that will give her planet more time to prepare for the coming war, but his sacrifice becomes less desirable as they get to know each other. This first-rate STEM-packed adventure explores what it means to be human and whether people are truly their brothers’ keepers. The point of view alternates between the two main characters, but Gray too often chooses to tell rather than let the narrative unfold through dialogue and action. There are subtleties to be found, though, in the deft handling of the developing relationship between Noemi and Abel.) | Twitter

Kirkus Reviews starred (February 1, 2017)
A teen soldier teams up with an enemy android to end an interplanetary war. During a practice for her Masada Run, Genesis soldier Noemi (a human of Latin American and Polynesian ancestry) discovers an Earth ship abandoned during the last war. The reference is purposeful: it’s a suicide mission to damage the Gate between Earth and Genesis in order to stave off Earth’s offensive. Abel (a mech with artificial intelligence and self-awareness, modeled after his white creator) has waited alone on that ship for 30 years. Abel’s far more advanced than his task-oriented peers, with a (delightfully passive-aggressive) personality of his own, and he wants to return to his “father” but is programmed to recognize Noemi as his new superior and obey her. Using Abel, Noemi realizes she can destroy the gate and save her fellow soldiers’ lives, so she tears across the universe on the desperate, long-shot mission. Abel discovers the changes the past 30 years have wrought: Earth’s environmental degradation makes new homes like pristine Genesis necessary, but Earth leadership can’t be trusted not to destroy them too. Meanwhile, Noemi also learns the fuller picture and connects with people from different walks—including Abel, who she begins to suspect is more than a machine. Nuanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure. (Science-fiction. 12 & up)

About the Author

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.

Her website is www.claudiagray.com.

Around the Web

Defy the Stars on Amazon

Defy the Star on Goodreads

Defy the Star on JLG

Defy the Star Publisher Page