About the Book

Title: Defy the Worlds (Constellation #2)
Published: 2018
Series: Constellation
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Space Face(s)
BFF Charms: Let Me Love You, Yay
Talky Talk: Science Friction
Bonus Factor: Space Travel
Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger
Relationship Status: Crewmember

Spoiler Alert: Danger, Will Robinson! Defy the Worlds is the second book in the Constellation series. If you have not read the first book—Defy the Stars—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Space Face(s)

This cover is quite the departure from the first one—at least the copy I read/reviewed—and I feel like this says “romance” much more than the 3D/Magic Eye/Stargate imagery does, while still keeping the “this book is about space” feel.

I do have to complain about the cover’s whitewashing, however. Noemi is described as having darker skin and black hair. Someone might try to tell me that the many filters/editing tricks used on the cover only make her look light-skinned and brown-haired, but I’d give that person some serious side-eye in return.

The Deal:

Noemi Vidal returned home to Genesis after adventuring around the galaxy with Abel, the only sentient mech (i.e., android) anyone’s ever met, to find herself a pariah—regardless of the fact that she’s always put her homeworld first. She’s a soldier of Genesis, sworn to protect the planet, and she prides herself on her loyalty, even in the face of persecution, and she’s resigned herself to the fact that she’ll likely never again get the chance to travel outside the Genesis solar system (or see Abel) again.

But then Earth makes a desperate play to win the decades-long war over who controls the planet, and Noemi once again finds herself traveling toward humanity’s homeworld. She doesn’t expect to run into Abel, but fate has a funny way of bringing people together.

BFF Charms: Let Me Love You, Yay

BFF charm with teary eyes hugging a heart

Noemi’s always been a bit of an outsider, but coming home after the events of Defy the Stars has exacerbated the problem to a degree that had my heart breaking. I wanted to reach into the book and hug her while reassuring her that she’s a wonderful person whom I’d love to be friends with, screw all those haters.

Yay BFF Charm

Although we got chapters from Abel’s POV in Defy the Stars, his chapters in Defy the Worlds showed how much he’s grown since the first novel, and makes him much more real. And he, too, would make for an excellent friend. Even if he still doesn’t really understand the concept of friendship.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

While they’re apart, Noemi and Abel have a hard time not thinking about each other. Abel’s pretty sure it’s Love (capital letter intended), while Noemi isn’t as certain; she just knows that he means a lot to her and that she misses him terribly. When the two get back together, no one’s rushing to make dramatic declarations—mostly due to the situation in which they find themselves—but there’s a chemistry between them that’s undeniable.

Talky Talk: Science Friction

I think I say this in every review I do of one of Gray’s books, but she’s nothing if not consistent—Defy the Worlds is an excellent mix of serious sci-fi adventure and deep dives into interpersonal relationships. It’s exactly the right combination of action and angst and expands the world Gray introduced in Defy the Stars with a nice amount of world—or, in this case, galaxy—building. Gray knows how to satisfy readers while keeping them on their toes, and always leaves us wanting more.

Bonus Factor: Space Travel

Space shuttle flying over earth in space

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never get to travel around in space, going boldly where no one has gone before. I’m going to keep it on the bucket list, but until the day when space travel becomes commonplace (i.e., cheap), I’ll just have to read books like Defy the Worlds and let my imagination do the traveling.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger

A man dressed all in black (Sylvester Stallone) clings to a cliff face

I was in a near panic state the last couple of chapters of this book, and the ending did NOTHING to bring my heart rate down. I need the third book like YESTERDAY.

Relationship Status: Crewmember

I don’t know how my skills would benefit you, Book, but I’m good at a few things, decent at a lot of others, and willing to learn things I don’t yet know. I’m not saying I’ll be any good at whatever it is you need me to do, but I’ll pull my weight, no matter what! Now, where’s my bunk?

Literary Matchmaking

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)

If you enjoy the Constellation series’s mix of action and romance, you’ll definitely want to pick up Gray’s Firebird series, starting with A Thousand Pieces of You.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Want more outer space action (also featuring a good helping of swoon)? Check out the Illuminae Files, starting with Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

And if you want more of Gray’s writing, I highly recommend her Lost Stars, a Star Wars novel set between The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens. (Even if you don’t like Star Wars, this is a great story.)

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Defy the Worlds is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.