Space Travel in Defending the Galaxy | Book Review

Defending the Galaxy
by Maria V. Snyder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

sequel to Chasing the Shadows

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: December 2020
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 554 [paperback]

Review on Goodreads

First thoughts

This was good fun! These books definitely read young but I was so hooked. This was hands down my favourite in the series and I fell in love with all the crazy characters and the totally unique world!

What it’s about
(spoilers for books one and two)

This is the third and final book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy series and it’s really good, tying things off nicely. In the previous two books, we have followed Lyra (now Ara) as she travels across the galaxy with her parents and discovers the ‘shadow blobs’ (HoLFs) that emerge from the dark, shadowy excavation sites of the Warrior pits.

We know there is something afoot and soon she discovers that an old friend of hers, now much older thanks to time dilation, is behind the attacks and is sabotaging all the hard work that the scientists have been putting in to discovering more about the Warriors and what they mean.

At the end of book two, Ara goes through a sort of transcendence where she can now connect to the Q-net (which also talks back to her) without even putting in her tangs. She becomes the superworm of all the superworms and is a great asset for her team in surviving more attacks by Jarren’s people. Definitely some claps here to Snyder for not letting the Q-net become a cop out. Never does Ara get to sit back and relax and let the Q-net do things for her, which is obviously great news for us readers. The characters all have to work hard to fix problems and there are no cop-out solutions.

This third and final book is a beefy boy, in whose many pages we follow Ara fighting the baddies, doing cool things in the Q-net, stealing lots of kisses from Niall and uncover what is really going on with the looters and what they want.

A young book

I definitely think I need to open up here by saying this book reads really young. It is by far my least favourite thing about the story—how cringy and almost tweeny Ara’s narration comes across—which was a surprise coming from Snyder. Obviously, this was Snyder’s intention to make it a little younger, but it was also a little grating.

There was definitely an improvement from book two, however. Book two was (dare I be so harsh) almost worth DNF-ing for the effort it took to put aside the irritatingly young narration of Ara. Thankfully, it felt dialled back a bit for this book so 90% of the time I didn’t notice it, and it just felt like a quirky side of Ara’s character. All I can say is give it a go, but it would totally be fair to put it down and say I just can’t do it because of the young-ness of the narrator.

What I enjoyed

What I really enjoyed about this series is the action that is happening and the team. The characters are a lot of fun, Ara is far from my favourite character—Beau or Radcliff would probably be my favourites. But there are so many people in this story that make up a really solid team who are fighting against the world galaxy.

It’s SUPER action-packed as well which makes it an easy and addictive read. I found it so hard to put this down and was constantly trying to find time to read it. There was this irresistible quality about this book that I can’t quite put my finger on.

But it’s genuinely such an interesting and unique story. It’s fun, it’s approachable, but it’s still full with aliens, science and spaceships. I thought the concepts that Snyder came up with to finally explain the Warriors and the HoLFs was also really satisfying and cool. Ten out of ten.

My favourite thing about Ara’s character, in the end, was the contrasting maturity in her decision-making (contrasting to her tone of voice). There’s an amazing scene at the end of the book, I won’t spoil, don’t worry, where Ara makes a decision that had me clapping in a hats-off-to-Snyder way for not reducing a female character to a two-dimensional, airy-fairy person by reaching for an easy, low-hanging, clichéd ending. It was a beautiful and elegant side-strep around this trap. You’ll have to read it to know what I mean.

Summary

This was a great conclusion to this trilogy. We all know that Snyder is an amazing author who pumps out so many books! I loved the ending to this series and was pleased that the pacing kept high, none of the books felt like ‘fillers’ and the story is wrapped up nicely with a bow in the end. I can’t wait to see what new stories Snyder has up her sleeve next.


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