These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published by Allen & Unwin on December 1 2013
Genres: Young adult, sci-fi, romance, fantasy
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 to 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 in this place 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.
First things first I feel like I need to point out the fact that although this cover radiates space opera vibes, in fact only 10% of this book is actually set in outer-space. So if you’re contemplating on picking up this book, don’t expect a galactic sci-fi adventure. Rather, this book is the story of two characters and their fight for survival on an isolated unknown planet.
The first 100 pages were without a doubt my favourite, the beginning felt like a fusion of the Thousandth Floor, with all the high-tech and social circles, and Passengers the movie, with the space craft setting and cosmic catastrophes. I enjoyed reading about Tarver and Lilac and how they dealt with the calamity. As they were effectively from other ends of the social ladder, they had to try to figure out their dynamic, while also learning about each others obscurities. The disharmony between Tarver and Lilac preceding the crash of their escape pod was severely apparent, and we are met with a litany of bickering and quarrelling between the two. However, as the story progresses, Tarver and Lilac’s relationship blossoms, as they begin to open up to one another and break the previously constructed barriers between them. This harmony of two people who formerly disapproved of one another lent interest to the story of survival.
As the characters in this book are stranded on an uninhabited planet, Tarver and Lilac are the only characters in this book, as read from their point of views. Tarver was likeable from the beginning, he is a war hero, his strengths includes his traits of bravery, courageousness, determination and need to constantly help others. He holds high values and cares most about his family and those close to him. He doesn’t let the glitz and glamour of the space craft to get into him, he remains fairly true to himself throughout the book. Lilac on the other hand lives a life of indulgence and is constantly coddled by those surrounding her. Her life lacks a sense of depth as she focuses on maintaining her reputation. The contrast between the dazzling space craft and the brutality of nature was staggering and it provided a space for character development and growth. Lilac’s character development throughout her journey on the abandoned planet was extraordinary. She became a strong resilient character and realised the true importance of life. One thing I will say however was that the relationship between Tarver and Lilac became a major focus for the two, it began to cloud both their vision and their thoughts. They almost became consumed by their love for each other and nothing else seemed to matter in the great scheme of things. Tarver and Lilac’s decisions in the latter half of the book began to seem rash and thoughtless. The story became less focused on their survival and instead revolved around their romance.
After around the halfway mark I felt like the story went slightly downhill, not only was the romance now the primary focus but we were introduced to the non-corporeal aliens. Some outlandish things began to occur including the characters seeing hallucinations/visions and even the act of reincarnation. This aspect didn’t fully appeal to me and I found it a bit too peculiar for my taste.
Ultimately, These Broken Stars is a story about an unlikely romance and the survival on an unknown planet, inhabited with non-corporeal aliens. If this sounds like something that would appeal to you I would recommend this book! I’m going to continue with the series as the next book in the trilogy, This Shattered World, is a companion novel.
“For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away. Until all that’s left is us”