These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

About the Book: Book - These Broken Stars
Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 2013
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Series: Starbound – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: The actions of Major Tarver Merendsen have suddenly thrust him into instant name recognition and a place among the elite… and yet, he isn’t one of them. He may have the looks that girls giggle over but to them he’s still the man to treat as a subservient who is only brushing shoulders with them because of his heroics and rise to military ranking fame. On the night the Icarus is holding a glamorous party, Tarver meets the alluring Lilac, a chance encounter in which both seem to share a brief moment of happiness, until he discovers who she is – the daughter of the wealthy LaRoux, the one man who’s riches far surpass anyone on the Icarus. This changes everything. No longer is a man of Tarver’s status even meant to speak with Lilac let alone request the pleasure of her company on an impromptu date. Then fate intervenes and Tarver rescues Lilac when the Icarus self-destructs after entering into air space it shouldn’t. When they land on a planet unknown, they soon realize they’re the sole survivors and must figure out a way to return to their home…

Science fiction is no longer a “quiet” genre. Even if a novel isn’t tagged as sci-fi, there are many that have some sort of mind-twisting sci-fi element and that one instance will often put me in mind of various, popular series franchises – both in fiction and film. ‘Broken Stars’ is an interesting novel. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to “break into” young adult fiction since I have established which inspirational authors are favorites now seemed like a good idea to acquaint myself with some secular authors and this was the first book I was able to get a copy of. Fortunately, for all its faults (which we’ll talk about later on), the book is actually good. It starts off slow despite the “excitement” value and continues that way for a good twenty percent of the journey – as protagonists, Tarver and Lilac fight, disagree and battle their own superior complexes towards each other. Their story sets up as a kind of Titanic-esque or Romeo and Juliet tragedy – him being from the “wrong side of the tracks” and she being a wealthy girl who is surrounded by a bubble of protection – before morphing into a battle of survival, mentally and physically. For a while, these two allies are their own worst enemy and then secrets begin to reveal themselves that intertwines them. Once they realize each other is their best chance, it’s almost as if they’re physically drawn to the other person before genuine emotions even have had a chance to grow. 

While I ended up quite enjoying the book, I am always disheartened to read a novel that is geared towards teens (even the “New Adult” label doesn’t change what this actually is or who really reads the book) engage in behavior that is anything but “good.” I realize that this is the behavior of teens today, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. Co-authors Kaufman and Spooner actually tell a nice story and the prose is quite good – especially considering so much of the novel is comprised of descriptions instead of chatty conversation. (I’m just speaking of how it read for me as a reader, not knowledge of what in principle or in the editing process makes good writing.) There are lovely descriptors of the planets, dark blanketed skies of stars and much of these details brought the world of Star Trek to mind. Unless you don’t mind glossing over some of the paragraphs of sci-fi indicators, it’s probably best if the reader has some basic idea of what sci-fi looks like – even as much as I’ve recently watched, I was still at a loss as how to “get” what the world was, what each place meant to the characters, however being able to conjure up pictures of sci-fi worlds helped and made the reading easier.

By the last page, I was impressed with These Broken Stars. It was flawed in places but for the story, I think that was part of its charm. If you haven’t the patience for the slower pace, this probably isn’t for you, however if you’ve liked teen novels in the past (maybe author Kiera Cass or The Hunger Games), then you’d probably enjoy this gorgeous saga. The cover design is one of those a reader wishes they could “jump” inside and the exact event depicted is easy to pull out of the story and with time, the story itself is worth sticking with. It’s slow, yet compelling and I just wish the end-of-times theme didn’t bog it down. 

Synopsis: 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.

Coming Next from Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: THIS SHATTERED WORLD is a companion novel, set in the same galaxy as book one in the Starbound Trilogy. Six months after the events of THESE BROKEN STARS, the second book in the trilogy follows a new pair of star-crossed lovers—one a rebel fighting for his home, the other a soldier, her mission to eradicate the rebellion—facing down a powerful darkness hidden in the wilderness of a newly terraformed world, coming in 2014 

Parental Review: There are multiple uses of profanity, though as to the count, I cannot say – h*ll, sh*t, da*n, etc. Minor sexual innuendoes find a place in the story also – Tarver’s thoughts reveal his physical attraction to Lilac and the two of them begin making out with the willingness on her part to go further, before he pushes her away. They finally do consummate their relationship, and we read about them lying in bed together talking in a typical “post” scene.

With thanks to the publicist (thanks for sending this, Cassie!) and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


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