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review 2018-08-29 03:22
Defy the Stars - audiobook
Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

Audience: Young Adult

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.

- Amazon

Noemi is a soldier of Genesis. Abel is a mech prototype. Noemi is filled with hatred and prejudice for Earth and mechs. Abel is designed to be more than just a mech. They come from opposite worlds with opposite points of view. They will learn from each other and together become more than they ever were apart.

 

The is an epic story with rebels, space battles, prison breaks, and last-minute rescues. The themes include loyalty, love, environmental destruction, and what it means to be alive.

 

I was captivated by the story and the narration was excellent. I often listened late into the night because I couldn't put it down. 

 

Recommended to: Fans of The Lunar Chronicles and epic sci-fi adventure stories.

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review 2018-08-20 12:52
Leia: Princess of Alderaan
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: the Last Jedi) - Claudia Gray

Dear Powers That Be, this is my second or third petition entreating you to give Claudia Gray all the money and let her write all the Star Wars she wants to write, please and thank you.

 

I haven’t read any of Gray’s non-Star-Wars books yet. She writes YA when she’s not knocking Star Wars novels out of the park. I had trouble imagining that until I read this book. (Lost Stars is marketed as YA but didn’t feel very YA to me.)

 

This book feels very, very YA and it surprised the hell out of me.

 

In the beginning, Leia is a mopey, angsty sixteen-year-old politicking with the ease of long practice while her teenage hormones rage beneath her poised exterior. Basically, Gray took everyone’s favorite space princess and made her even more relatable, which I had no idea was even possible. (Surprise!) Leia feels neglected by her parents, she’s desperate to be noticed by them, she meets a boy she likes, and she struggles with her sense of self. It’s stock standard YA fare woven skillfully into an engaging tale of Leia learning to navigate the pitfalls of Imperial politics as she comes of age during the Rebellion’s tumultuous infancy.

 

Some of my favorite parts were the descriptions of Leia’s home life in the royal palace on Alderaan and her relationship with her adoptive parents, Bail and Breha. Bail gets most of the fanfare in the movies and novels, but let me tell you, Queen Breha is so badass she ought to eclipse him. Not to diminish Bail’s contributions to the galaxy far, far away, but they should be erecting statues of Breha too. Bigger, shinier statues.

 

Oh, and about Amilyn Holdo. We get to see her as a gangly, awkward teenager and she is basically Luna Lovegood. It explains SO. MUCH. I love her even more now.

 

I would have scored the book a solid 9 out of 10 until I got to the last line. Damn it, Claudia. That was a cheap shot. Minus one point. Feel free to earn it back with your next Star Wars novel, Master and Apprentice, a tale of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, now available for pre-order. Everybody go buy it so they keep giving Claudia Gray all the money to write all the Star Wars, please and thank you.

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review 2018-07-08 08:59
Schlussendlich eine nette Liebesgeschichte
Liebe und der erste Blick - Josh Sundquist,Claudia Gray

Wills erster Schultag könnte besser nicht sein: er greift einem Mädchen unabsichtlich an die Brüste und setzt sich in der Mittagspause bei jemanden auf den Schoß. Dabei wollte er allen beweisen, dass er es als blinder Junge genauso gut in einer normalen Schule schaffen kann. 

Will ist seit Geburt an blind und ist bisher auch an eine Blindenschule gegangen. Doch er möchte sich selbst und seinen Eltern beweisen, dass er es auch an einer regulären Schule schaffen kann und setzt sich durch. Schon am ersten Tag tritt er in das eine oder andere Fettnäpfchen, wobei ihm nicht alle davon sofort bewusst sind. 

Protagonist Will ist ein ziemlich selbstironischer Typ, der sich durch's Leben kämpft. Mit seiner Blindheit geht er gut um, immerhin hat er es nie anders gekannt. Doch die neue Schul-Umgebung gibt ihm dann doch zu knabbern, weil er nun mit sehenden Mitschülern mithalten muss. 

Nachdem er sich im neuen Umfeld einigermaßen eingelebt und sogar Freunde gefunden - die Schoßgeschichte - hat, wird ihm eine innovative Operation vorgeschlagen. Sie wird ihm das Augenlicht geben und ihm die Welt der Sehenden sowie ihre Geheimnisse eröffnen. Daraufhin erkennt Will, dass er beinhart angelogen wurde und sein Mädchenschwarm Cecily gar nicht so gut aussieht. 

Allein die Inhaltsbeschreibung nimmt schon einiges von dieser Liebesgeschichte vorneweg, was sich im Lauf des Romans zu entwickeln gedenkt. Doch richtig packend ist gar nicht der Handlungsverlauf, sondern Wills schwarze Welt, in die der Autor einen Einblick gibt.

Wills Leben mit Blindheit ist exzellent beschrieben und der Autor zeigt, wie gut sich blinde Menschen zurechtfinden können. Eingangs erzählt Will, was oft nicht alles passiert, wenn ihm sehende Menschen zur Hand gehen wollen, und wie unhöflich es ist, wenn man einem Blinden ins Ohr schreit. Man bekommt ein Gefühl dafür, wie sich Will in seiner Umgebung zurechtfindet, woher er weiß, wo er gerade ist und was um ihn herum geschieht, und dass er trotz seiner Behinderung zu einem normalen Leben fähig ist. 

Der Roman wird aus Wills Perspektive in Ich-Form erzählt und hier ist dem Autor Bemerkenswertes gelungen. Obwohl Will nicht sieht und von seinem Umfeld, den Menschen und den Ereignissen aus seiner Sicht erzählt, konnte ich mir das gesamte Geschehen lebhaft und farbenfroh vorstellen. 

Besonders gut hat mir gefallen, dass die Ängste der Eltern blinder Kinder einbezogen werden. Will muss sich bei vielen Entscheidungen mit seiner Mutter messen, weil sie immer nur das Beste für ihren Sohn will. Diese kleinen Machtkämpfe hatten den Anstrich einer Übermutter, die mit ihrer überbordenden Sorge ihr Kind erstickt. Im Lauf der Handlung und gerade am Ende hat ihr Verhalten durchaus nachvollziehbar und schlüssig gewirkt.

Außerdem ist die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Will und Cecily zentral, die sich nach wenigen Seiten zu entwickeln beginnt. Sie werden rasch Freunde und verbringen viel Zeit miteinander. Bald wird aber klar, dass Cecily nicht so gutaussehend ist, wie Will denkt. 

Die Liebesgeschichte war für mich nett und gehört im Teenie-Alter wohl dazu. Für die Handlung an sich wäre sie meiner Meinung nach gar nicht notwendig gewesen, weil es auch so eine sehr interessante Erzählung war. Den Makel von Cecilys Aussehen hat’s für mich wirklich nicht gebraucht, das war mir einen Hauch zu viel. Natürlich spielt der Autor damit auf das Vertrauen blinder Menschen und die Ehrlichkeit ihres sozialen Umfelds an, aber vielleicht hätte man das auf andere Art, ein bisschen subtiler, lösen können.

Dennoch war die Geschichte in sich rund, schlüssig und gut zu lesen. Gerade Wills Selbstironie und sein lockerer Umgang mit seiner Blindheit hat dem Roman viel Elan gegeben. Ich konnte mich in seine Bedenken einfühlen und habe gern mit ihm gemeinsam den Schritt auf eine normale Schule gewagt.

Schlussendlich ist „Liebe und der erste Blick“ eine nette Liebesgeschichte mit einem blinden Jungen, der die Welt für sich entdeckt und die ich durchaus weiterempfehlen kann. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2018-05-08 00:00
Lost Stars
Lost Stars - Claudia Gray Lost Stars - Claudia Gray Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Never again will I take for granted a full day just for reading. It's been so long since I finished a book in one day that I forgot how it feels.

Lost Stars is a good book, but it's also a frustrating one. I get it, because we know what happens in the movies, in some ways, we know more than these characters do. Still, it's very frustrating to see characters you've grown to like turn a blind eye to fascism and even justify it.

Thane Kyrell was someone I can relate to on a personal level. He's a very cynical person and to a certain extent, so am I. He is very naive and idealistic when it comes to love, though. He really did believe in Ciena and in some cases, his belief was justified. I feel sad for him though, knowing that someone you love could grasp at straws trying to defend something that's evil. His POV was enjoyable. He struggled at first, but then he found something he could really believe in.

Ciena was more of a mixed bag. I admire her competency and to a certain extent, even her honor. However, I refuse to believe that honor is more important than the lives of people or than freedom. I understand that it's her culture and all that, but it's so unhealthy. She was grasping at straws trying to defend the genocide of an entire planet, of building a Death Star in the first place and she was being an apologist for fascism.

In the end, she was broken, depressed, and suicidal because she couldn't take it anymore. And instead of finally accepting everything she believed in was wrong and she could right it, she decides her honor is more important, her "loyalty" to the empire is more important. That's not loyalty- it's being self-serving because it makes you feel better.

Nash Windrider takes the cake for the worst person in the book though. What kind of person sees his planet and everything he loves get destroyed and then decide that giving in to fascism is the better option?

Still, despite my frustrations with the characters, I really did enjoy this book. I liked seeing through the eyes of Imperial officers and what they thought. At some point, they probably believed they were the good guys. Maybe at the end, they refused to acknowledge they weren't. Perhaps that's the real tragedy- every side in the war believed they were right, until they were proven wrong. Honestly, I would have given this a higher rating if the apologism for a fascist regime didn't annoy me so much.

The ending was more open-ending than I usually like for a standalone, so I'm hoping for a sequel. Or at least some acknowledgment of what happens to the characters elsewhere.
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review 2017-11-22 17:31
Lack of World Building Causes Problems in Defy the Stars
Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

I think I should have known there would be a problem when the book just starts off with one of the characters (Noemi) going into why her planet (Genesis) is at war with the planet Earth. We hear about a fatal run they are gearing up to do, Noemi worries about her best friend, and only friend it seems, and then we segue into another character (Abel) who we find out is a mech (not human, a robot without a soul or some thing). 

 

I don't want to get into it too much cause I am ready to head home and eat my face off for Phase I of Thanksgiving 2017.

 

I just really didn't like this one much. We have Noemi and Abel eventually meet and they both go around realizing that they care about one another though Noemi knows it's impossible.

 

They also fly around to other planets and see what Earth has done to them and a resistance starting to form. I just felt like there was way too much happening here in book #1.

 

The writing was perfectly serviceable, I just think that things needed to be explained a lot more since the world building wasn't that great. I didn't understand a lot of things with the planets. Maybe in the next book Gray can include an illustration that shows all of the planets or something. Or a prologue that even describes how Earth started a war. 


The flow was off. The first 1/3 of the book just moved slowly. And then it dragged once Noemi got into trouble (no spoilers) and a deux ex machina showed up that made me roll my eyes. 

 

The ending also didn't work for me either. I think I was supposed to feel moved. I just don't think that we got a chance to know and even fall in like with either Abel or Noemi. 

 

I am confused about so much that I started to make a list. 

1. I still at the end do not even get why Earth started a war with Genesis.

 

2. I don't get how Noemi is considered human still and then it took me several chapters later that Genesis people left Earth behind to form their own colony (I think that's what happened). 

 

3. I also don't even get why Genesis thought yes let's send children off to do a fatal run and than go yes we care about lives. It was such a contradiction. I think that Gray was trying to work a little Ender's Game in here, and it just fell flat.

 

4. I really don't understand how Abel was made unique from the other mechs. I am supposed to buy he has a soul or some sort of empathy? I just think it was sloppy storytelling that didn't get a chance to resonate. 

 

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