Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Genre: YA, science fiction, romance
Series? Yes, Starbound #1
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.
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.
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: