These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Digital Audiobook narrated by Cynthia Holloway, Johnathan McClain, Sarge Anton
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10, 2013
Series: Starbound #1
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 384 pages or 11 hours, 15 minutes
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Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
I went into this book ready to dislike it. Really, I expected to have so many eye rolls and to think it was ridiculous. I kind of wanted to skip it? But I’m glad I didn’t. Despite it’s moments of cheesiness, I really enjoyed These Broken Stars! So lets get into it.
But first! Some love for that brilliant cover, ja? I’ve got serious cover love for this one… so pretty.
So I’m going to start with the bad. As far as the characters go in this one, I really wasn’t a fan. The books is split into two POVs: Lilac LaRue, young heiress; and Major Tarver Merendsen, decorated soldier and war hero. Lilac is 17 and I think Tarver’s a smidge older than that. From the get-go, I didn’t believe in these characters. I have a bit of a pet peeve against YA’s characterization of young military types in high ranks because frankly… it’s unrealistic, especially because of the flippant attitudes they have. Marjor Merendsen is no exception. Lilac, on the other hand, just rubbed me the wrong way. She was given traits to make her seem a bit less aloof, but I think the narrative relied too heavily on her having technical knowledge that seemed like such a small part of who she really was… at least how she was shown. The inner monologues aggravated me as well, especially Lilac’s. For someone who knows so much about terraforming planets and electrical engineering, she just seemed to be in a constant state of disbelief that got on my nerves.
So those are the characters. Now, knowing that I wasn’t crazy about Tarver and Lilac, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to guess I wasn’t crazy about the love story, either. This plot and universe was SO COOL and it was all wasted on a cheesy love story. Like… an “actually don’t come rescue me even though I may starve to death because I want to spend more time with him” love story. I’m the least romantic person in the world, I get it, but gosh. Get rescued, okay guys?
With all that out of the way….
The worldbuilding in These Broken Stars is SO GOOD. I like sci-fi, but it doesn’t usually pull me in the way fantasy does. This book did. For as much eye-rolling as I was doing about the characters, I was drinking in the world like someone who’d been out in the desert for days. Fantastic. The planet felt so alive, and the elements of the story itself chilling. Through so many different climates and settings, and touching all the senses. These Broken Stars was masterfully done. There’s a scene near the beginning of the book where the characters stand on a ridge and watch their spaceship fall from the sky and dang. I was hooked at that moment and buried myself in the rest of the story. The emotion was right, the images were right… it was just really, really good.
Moving forward, the plot kept driving me as well. This ties directly into the worldbuilding – I wanted to know more about the planet, and it was nudges from the setting that urged the characters forward. These Broken Stars is written as a journey-book and with that much walking, it’s so important to pull the reader in with a compelling plot, characters, world, something. The moment Lilac started hearing voices, my curiosity was piqued. This is almost a ghost story, and I loved that!
I won’t say that this was a perfect book, but it pulled me in and wrapped me up, which I never expected. It has cliche elements, but was original and vibrant enough to captivate. If you like a space-based YA romance, then this is THE book for you. If you’re dying for a good YA sci-fi… I’d still recommend it. I think fans of Across the Universe and Heart of Iron would like These Broken Stars.
Do you enjoy space dramas? I was reeled in by Star Wars as a kid and now I find them difficult to refuse! 🙂 Tell me your favorite space dramas in the comments!