Title: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: December 10, 2013
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.
The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
Would you like to know what makes me happy? Young adult science fiction does and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a respectable addition to the genre. The book centers on heiress Lilac Laroux and Major Tarver Merendsen, who survive when the spaceliner, Icarus, crashes and are stranded on what appears to be an uninhabited planet. Throw in some mystery and science, and voila! These Broken Stars.
I think one of the first things that should be addressed in this review is all of the hype around These Broken Stars. According to Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman’s newsletter, their novel is the most requested book on Goodreads. That is a pretty high standard to live up to, but I feel like it takes away from this book. The hype monster builds, builds, builds These Broken Stars up, and it’s left a little bit shaky. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book but not something that I would’ve knowledgeably spent a year on pins and needles waiting for.
I liked the characters in These Broken Stars quite a bit. Lilac is an über-rich debutante who is on a pleasure trip with her best friend and bodyguards-in-bodices on her daddy’s ship, the Icarus. Tarver Merendsen is a major at the ripe old age of nineteen-twentyish who comes from humble roots. Of course, they’re thrown in together at the start of the novel for a rocky start to build intrigue, and there is more to them than it would seem to one another. (It’s not a bad thing.) What I liked best is that there is an air of mystery about the “more”. Where did Lilac get those tricks up her sleeves? And how in the hell did Tarver Merendsen go from soldier to major on the battlefield?
The world-building is where I got a little hung up in These Broken Stars. I read and loved Skylark by Meagan Spooner, so my expectations were pretty astronomical (see what I did there?) of how the setting and plot unfolded together. I just had too many questions about how things worked. For instance – terraforming. If it was only partially terraformed because of the particular trees used, why were there animals. If there had to be a mirror moon thingy, then they could not occur naturally, right? Yes, I’m one of those weird people who wants to know how the science works. I wanted to pat Lilac and Tarver on the head, tell them they’re cute, and send them to make out in a cave so I could LEARN THINGS. And then again, I may’ve missed the forest in this book because of all the damned trees in the way.
The long and short of it is, These Broken Stars is a good book, but not what I thought it was hyped up to be. I will be rereading it when I get my finished copy, and maybe it will be All The Things for me like Skylark was. Or – more hopefully – I’ll be able to judge it against itself and not a book by one of the authors. If all else fails, I’ll have a pretty piece of literary artwork to face out on my bookshelf.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge.