These Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Publication date: 10 December 2013
Disney Hyperion, Hardcover, 374 pages
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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.
I had expected more sci-fi elements in These Broken Stars as compared to romance but ultimately, it felt more like a survival love story than anything else. That of course, is not a bad thing as the amount of times your heart will leap, stutter and shatter because of Lilac and Tarver is insane.
At the very beginning of the book, I noticed some pretty powerful Titanic vibes. Or well, the sci-fi version of Titanic. That’s where the similarities end, however. After the Icarus crash landed on a mysterious planet and Lilac and Tarver appeared to be the only survivors, the story was filled with unpredictable twists and incredible suspense. Not to forget the lovely budding romance (though it was more of love/hate at first) between the two protagonists.
Unfortunately, I had to cut off a star as the book was a little too focused on the romantic aspects. There were many questions regarding the world building and history of the current reality left glaringly unanswered. Despite that, what we did get to know about the Starbound trilogy universe was definitely intriguing. Moreover, since there are still two other books to go, there’s plenty of room to buck up on world-building and therefore, the unresolved mysterious shouldn’t be a humongous issue in general.
As I’ve already mentioned countless times, the romance takes center stage in These Broken Stars and it definitely killed its role. In a good way, of course. The dynamics of Tarver and Lilac’s relationship were stunningly portrayed, progressing neither too fast nor too slow as befitting two people from opposing ends of the social spectrum. It was wonderful witnessing how they came to trust and eventually love each other (I’m sure that’s the obvious outcome) even though they started out ‘enemies’. Albeit enemies who are still attracted to each other on some level. Wink, wink.
Another thing I loved in this novel was its unpredictable nature. Readers basically had no idea at all about the planet Lilac and Tarver were stranded on and hence, it was pretty darn hard to guess whatever happens next. I truly felt I was wrecked on the planet right alongside the protagonists and went through the hardships they did. Admittedly, that was also largely due to the vivid description by Kaufman and Spooner of every scene in the novel. I do have a favorite scene that I managed to visualize insanely well, which was when the Icarus crashed. I shared a teaser from that scene 2 weeks ago for Teaser Tuesday and like I’ve said before, I found it mesmerizingly tragic. The authors somehow gave a twisted beauty to a horribly catastrophic event.
All in all, I found These Broken Stars an intense, romantic and overall satisfying read. In spite of the slightly questionable world-building, the book was gorgeously written and the romance flawless. I would say readers who prefer romantic reads might enjoy These Broken Stars better than those crazy about intricate sci-fi universes. However, this is definitely a book I would recommend to everyone because essentially, it was one seriously kick-ass survival story.