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Defending the Galaxy by Maria V Snyder Book Review

This review feels like it’s way overdue! I read this last month and as the year began, just as I posted my goals and hopes to blog at least twice a week – a sudden and unfortunate event happened in my life. Suffice it to say that January began with unexpected grief and it’s been really hard to blog and even read, especially with a busy work schedule.

Anyway, I’m finally bringing you this review today – for the final book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy trilogy! I have previously interviewed Maria V Snyder about the first two books because I’ve overall really enjoyed this series. So you can check out my last interview with her here.

WARNING: The following blurb will likely spoil the first two books.

Goodreads Blurb:

Year 2522. Oh. My. Stars.

Junior Officer Ara Lawrence here, reporting for duty. Again. It’s situation critical for the security team and everyone in the base – including my parents – with a new attack from the looters imminent, a possible galaxy-wide crime conspiracy and an unstoppable alien threat. But this all pales in the face of my mind-blowing discovery about the Q-net. Of course, no one believes me. I’m not sure I believe me. It could just be a stress-induced delusion. That’s what my parents seem to believe…

Their concern for me is hampering my ability to do my job. I know they love me, but with the Q-net in my corner, I’m the only one who can help the security team beat the shadowy aliens from the pits we discovered. We’re holding them at bay, for now, but the entire Milky Way Galaxy is in danger of being overrun.

With battles on too many fronts, it’s looking dire. But one thing I’ve learned is when people I love are in jeopardy, I’ll never give up trying to save them. Not until my dying breath. Which could very well be today…


Rating: 3 out of 5.

In the final Sentinels of the Galaxy book, we are reunited with Ara as she faces off with the alien and the looter enemies previously found in the first two novels. As things are looking dire, Ara is helped by none other than the Q-net itself as she explores and learns more about her capabilities with worming and how she can use the Q-net to help her crew stay alive.

Overall, this novel continued its consistency of having a familiar and amusing cast and an easy writing style that is digestible and generally fun to read. It was great to see Ara explore her new skills and maintain her stubbornness and tenacity during times of crises. Mental health somehow also seemed at the forefront of this book and I appreciate how emotional it made me as we see Ara’s parents and surrounding scientists believe her connection to the Q-net is a delusion. It was infuriating and slightly stressful to see Ara’s experiences almost belittled and I loved that this particular aspect of the book would greatly benefit young adults to believe in yourself and stand your ground. Although I’m personally not a huge fan of ‘chosen one’ tropes, it felt more realistic to be able to understand that, at almost 18, Ara still has many struggles as she tries to gain independence from her parents and be accepted as an adult.

Another consistent and enjoyable factor was the adorable romance that never overcompensated or took over the main plot. Niall is such a great supporting character and, he and his father are no doubt some of my favourite characters in the series too. In this last instalment, the stakes were much higher but the best thing about it was the fact that the villains were human and felt human too. There weren’t random motivations to destroy precious warrior artefacts but understandable, yet still horrible, reasons for what they were doing. I enjoyed learning more about the bad guys and seeing their motives, plus, understanding the bigger picture of how it all began. Plot-wise, I could never truly see what was coming ahead and that’s one of the best strengths of this series. Snyder manages to hook you in and barely hint at the future prospects for the plot, all the while including fun banter between the characters we’ve become accustomed to throughout the books.

Despite this series still being pretty fun for a YA sci-fi, this book did have its downfalls. For one, at 544 pages, this novel was the biggest out of this trilogy and you could feel it. The pacing wasn’t as rapid or easy to cruise through as the previous books, and in many places the plot seemed to drag as a way to amp up the stakes and the anxiety surrounding the situation. I feel like this could’ve easily been more succinct, with a shorter page count, to make this finale easier to read. Even without the heavy suspense, the villain situation was pretty dire and fast-paced without it. Another factor that I wasn’t a huge fan of, related to the ‘chosen one’ trope was that Ara’s connection with the Q-net made her so powerful that it felt a little surreal and despite these powers, she got injured a lot. Not that I’d expect a whole lot of realism from a fun YA sci-fi trilogy about shadow-blobs and murdering looters, but it felt like Ara was constantly injured or being treated for something and then was doing many dangerous things to save the world anyway. I shuddered at the thought of her running through debris and shooting enemies after just coming out of a coma.

Although this novel had its weaknesses, it did wrap up the series quite nicely. It was heartwarming, satisfying and was everything I hoped for in general. If you were a fan of the first two books, I’d still highly recommend giving this final book a read. It certainly was worth the wait to finally understand the bigger picture of how it all began in Book 1 and to see more of your favourite characters and the amusing banter consistent throughout the series.

Have you read this series? What did you think of this last instalment?

Until next time,

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