Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Pages: 374
Genre: YA, science fiction, romance
Series? Yes, Starbound #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Amazon |  Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

Dwarf Version

While this was one book I was DYING to read, I found that the excitement surrounding the book may not have been totally true. Or, at least, I wasn’t as enthralled as everyone else. Call me a black sheep, but that’s the truth! The beginning and end was slow and confusing, but the majority of the middle section was perfect, and I could see what everyone was talking about there. The romance was believable and realistic, with a slow burn rather than insta-love. The characters were well developed, and the split POV was near-perfect. Lilac’s character development was one of the best transformations I’ve read in a while, and by the end she turns into someone I would easily hang out with. I recommend These Broken Stars for sure, but warn against too-high expectations.

Supernova Version

I know I read this book like six weeks ago, but I decided that reviewing it now was better than never! This was the “big deal” on all the blogs back in November/December, so of course I made sure it was known that this was on the top of my Christmas wish list. My dear, lovely mother purchased it for me, and I read it Christmas day straight through. And here’s my one sentence verdict: it was an enjoyable read, but didn’t live up to the hype of it all.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • The first 100 pages were really, really slow. I know it was “setting the scene” and world building and then showing the crash of the Icarus (genius ship name, by the way), but despite all that it just seemed empty. It was a bit fuzzy for me, and I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of the world, other than the fact that Lilac is untouchable and Tarver is essentially a glorified serf – it’s never even revealed what his heroic deed was that got him on the Icarus as an honored guest.
  • The ending was really confusing. I won’t go into detail, because of spoilers, but I think I’ll need to read it again so I truly understand. The whole thing just seemed a bit convenient to me.

Other than those two parts, I really did enjoy the rest of it:

  • Tarver and Lilac’s relationship. No insta-love here! I loved the antagonistic moments between them, and the grudging admissions that they actually may enjoy each others’ company were pretty darn adorable. And then when the romance bloomed, I felt that it focused a bit much on that (hello, stranded on an alien planet here!), but soon pulled back into a more balanced romance-plot scale.
  • The space! I love space novels right now. Can’t get enough of them. And I think TBS was the start of this now-two-month phase! Starships and super technology and terraforming – oh the fun I had reading all about it!
  • As cliche as it may be – the forbidden love. I may snark about it, but I do love me a good, old fashioned romance-despite-all-odds-and-obstacles when I’m being honest. I really understand what people meant when they said that TBS was a bit like Titanic in outer space.
  • Even though there wasn’t much action, Tarver and Lilac’s adventures/survival on the planet was really well done, and didn’t feel dull to me at all.
  • I don’t often enjoy dual-author books, and I don’t often enjoy split POV books. But despite BOTH of those elements in TBS, I wasn’t bothered at all! Kaufman and Spooner worked really well together, and the characters were so well developed that I loved being in both their heads.
  • Talking about characters – let me mention Lilac. She was SUCH a snot at the beginning of the book, but there was a huge amount of growth for her, and it was very believably accomplished. It wasn’t a POOF brand new Lilac, but a slow, steady change that wasn’t apparent until the end. LOVED that dynamic aspect to her personality!

In the end, I really loved 2/3 of the novel. It was just the beginning that could have used a bit of a kickstart, and the ending needed some clarification, but I’m hoping that the sequel will clear it all up. The characters were fantastic, the romance was 100% swoon-worthy, and the setting was imaginative and original. All in all, I do recommend it, but don’t put it on a pedestal and hope you find your new favorite book! The hype killed a bit of the enjoyment for me; hopefully it won’t be the same for you.

My Final Rating:

Four Stars

16 thoughts on “Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

    • The same thing happened to me for Insurgent – everyone loved it but I just wasn’t feeling that one as much as Divergent. That’s why I try to stay away from book reviews for a specific book when I see it filtering through so often.

  1. I agree a lot with your review. I ended up really loving this book but the first one hundred pages was really hard to get through. I understood the building of the story was necessary but it was brutal at times. Now that I’ve read the entire book, it doesn’t seem so bad though because I know the book picks up and gets better. I agree that Lilac’s transformation was an incredible one and one that I definitely enjoyed reading about. Nice review :)

    • It was just frustrating because I wanted the action and at least figuring out more about the world and Icarus, but I felt like it was just focused on that one party scene! Maybe I’ll enjoy it more when I reread it though :)

  2. The ending was definitely a bit convenient haha. I didn’t really mind it though, because the rest of the book was so good! Not sure if the sequel will clear things up though because I think the sequel is more of a companion novel (similar to For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea where you focus on other characters in the same world)

    I think really the biggest let down about this book was that there was so little focus on the sci-fi aspect of things. I WAS PROMISED A SCIFI BOOK DAMMIT hahaha. Still, this “letdown” definitely wasn’t big enough to stop me from enjoying the book because I ended up giving it 5 stars :)

    • Wait – no more Tarver and Lilac??? *curls up in a ball and cries* But WHY?!

      I think if they had spent some more time on the Icarus, and actually explored rather than just stayed in that one party scene, then I think it would have given me more of that sci-fi starship feeling.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed this, for the most part. I received an ARC and with a little less hype during that time, I was able to enjoy this with few expectations. I can see where this story faltered for you, though I’m thrilled you were on board with the romance and I’m eager to see where this companion series goes. Lovely review, Kayla! :)

    • I almost wish that could have happened for me as well! But I really did enjoy reading it as a hardback all nice and finished ;)

      I wish it wasn’t a companion series – or at least if it has to be then give me some Tarver and Lilac cameos! I want to see what happens to them both after TBS!

  4. I liked the ship part but I wanted more from it than what we were given. And you’re right about us not knowing what Tarver did that was so great! Now that’s going to bug me too! I liked this one but didn’t completely live it either.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Update 15 (February 23) | The Thousand Lives

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