Review: These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Format: Hardcover

The Plot: Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are from different worlds. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, while Tarver, a recently-promoted war hero, hails from humbler origins. Nothing would normally come of their chance meeting on the starship Icarus, but when the Icarus crashes on a mysterious planet, Lilac and Tarver must learn to rely on each other in order to survive.

The Verdict: This book is awesome. I’m not hugely into YA science fiction, but this novel managed to overcome any misgivings I might have had and catapult its way onto my favorites list. Although the worldbuilding could have been better, the intriguing storyline, fantastic characters, and the wonderfully believable relationship that blooms between Tarver and Lilac more than make up for that.

The Rating: 9/10

The Meh:

  1. Although the world-building on the planet itself is fine, that on the spaceship and of the society in which Lilac and Tarver live is a bit thin. The mentions of the normal lives and stations of our protagonists lack context, and getting a sense of the precise level of technology they’re at is difficult.
  2. After the end of the novel, you’re left with several important, unanswered questions that, though they might have been meant to interest you in the sequel, feel more like loose ends.

The Good:

  1. Unlike most YA heroines, Lilac isn’t instantly sweet and friendly, but it’s difficult to really dislike her, as enough information about her difficult position is given to empathize with her. She’s prickly and pampered, but even more than that she’s scared–almost more so of her father than of crash landing on the planet. She’s quick-thinking and resourceful throughout, but she really starts to shine as a character as she gains experience on the planet and matures.

    Tarver, on the other hand, actually acts like a competent soldier. He’s practical and determined to get himself and Lilac to safety, regardless of his feelings towards her, but he doesn’t let her walk over him. Also, he’s got a sensitive, poetic side and isn’t afraid to show affection, which is refreshing.

  2. The relationship between Lilac and Tarver progressed more naturally than those in a lot of YA I’ve read. While they’re emotionally reserved and hold grudges against each other at the time of the cash, they’re forced to work with each other in order to survive, and through their cooperation they find a mutual respect and a deeper affection towards each other. While there was always an attraction between them, their feelings really mature as a result of all the difficulties Lilac and Tarver face, and their romantic relationship grows naturally out of their friendship.
  3. Tarver not only thinks Lilac is pretty, he admires her skill with electronics and respects her determination. He protects her as a soldier would protect any civilian, but he doesn’t coddle her; instead, he treats her as his intellectual equal, and their romance is refreshingly egalitarian.
  4. That plot twist! I was absolutely not expecting that, and holy crap but that was intense.
  5. The vibe of this story was deliciously old-school creepy sci-fi, more Bradbury’s “The Veldt” than space opera.

The Rec: If you like classic sci-fi, survival stories, or romances based on friendships, you should go read this book. It’s a quick read but has some punch-in-the-gut moments, and the protagonists are so much fun to read you’ll be pre-ordering the next book in the series as soon as you’re done.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenclair
    Jun 17, 2014 @ 08:18:50

    I enjoyed this one!


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