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BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

 

I don’t like romance, but let’s get something straight: The Broken Stars is an awesome book and deserves most of the hype it gets. From the publisher: 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 […]

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I don’t like romance, but let’s get something straight: The Broken Stars is an awesome book and deserves most of the hype it gets.

From the publisher:

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.

Like I said, I’m not a huge romance fan. The thing that had me even remotely interested in this book was the interesting premise. The idea of the “Titanic in space”, while tacky to some, sounded awesome to me. There’s something about mega-large destruction that everyone secretly loves somewhere at the bottom of their heart. When it’s in space, it’s even better. Still, I went in cautiously, fully aware that the story was a romance story before anything else.

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Here’s why I appreciate this book more than the other romances I’ve read:

  • While there is a physical attraction between the characters, there’s something much, much more–something of actual substance.
  • The main characters actually go through an evolution.
  • It’s not a Bella-Edward narrative where all the focus is on how beautiful the boy/girl are. In fact, the authors spend a good deal of time building the beautiful world.
  • It’s partly a survival story. Legit.

Of course, there is an obvious physical attraction between Tarver and Lilac. I mean, we wouldn’t expect anything else, right? But there are multiple times in this book where the characters make it clear that looks aren’t the primary things that bring them closer to each other. Like in the real world, a good deal of it has to do with their personalities. Happily-ever-after doesn’t come wrapped up in a perfume/cologne scented box of perfection. These characters really put their devotion to one another to the test. From the small trivial things, to the deep and complicated secrets of their souls, the exchanges between Tarver and Lilac–for the most part–feel real and genuine. It’s not all about the abs!

The actual adventure that the protagonists set on is also really cool. The authors create an interesting and mysterious planet that Tarver and Lilac are forced to explore. The world building is subtle yet powerful. From small details like the trees and wildlife to major plot points like money-eating corporations that pretty much rule the stars, it’s evident from the beginning that there are forces much larger than just Tarver and Lilac in this story. The authors find a way to interweave all of these threads into a single adventure. Exploring the planet alongside the protagonists is definitely an interesting experience.


With that said, this book doesn’t suffer from its flaws. There are parts of the book that get a bit boring. While the world, premise and characters are cool, sometimes travelling with the same two characters gets dull. There are some chapters that are constructed solely for exchanges between Tarver and Lilac. While most of these conversations are interesting, they got old fairly quickly. The majority of what really keeps the wheels moving in this book are a series of mysteries that lead up to the climax.

And the writing itself is great. The actual scene where the spaceliner crashes into a foreign planet is both suspenseful and beautiful. I loved the descriptions!

In the end, this was a great book. There are apparently more to come. While not my favorite book ever, I found that I really enjoyed it. It’s something that I’ll definitely look forward to continuing as the other books are released.

Saul Marquez founded Bookstacked in 2014 and serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief. He primarily covers news for Bookstacked. He also co-hosts Bookmarked: A YA Book Podcast.

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