These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
Page Count: 374.
Published: December 10, 2013.
Published by: Disney Hyperion.
Source: Requested an ARC from the publisher for review. Thank you, Disney Hyperion!
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.
A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
These Broken Stars caught my attention right away when I first read about it. Then it began receiving 5 star reviews left and right, accompanied by many flails. I began it excited but a little hesitant because of the hype, expecting to read for a bit and then work on something else. Instead, I could barely tear myself away from it, breaking only for dinner, a trip to the bookstore, and some sleep. It is a story that draws you in and demands that you keep reading until the end.
One thing should be clear first, this is not a space saga set on the ship. The crash comes early and this is very much a story of survival and some strange happenings on a mysterious planet. While I felt that some of this mystery plotline was somewhat weak for me and that its ending was not really all that believable or well explored, These Broken Stars is also very much a relationship building story, and man did they build a relationship. Tarver and Lilac are both interesting, strong characters and seeing their hate-to-love feelings grow and change from both sides was wonderful to watch. While they both initially have an interest in one another, they each have their reasons for disliking the other come their crash landing. Watching them struggle beside each other to survive as they start to learn more about one another and their feelings begin to change makes for an engaging and enjoyable saga. Of course, the story would be a little too slow if it were solely relying on their relationship to carry it, but Kaufman and Spooner have some tricks up their sleeves that shock and really bring out the emotion. Aside from the whole "mysterious planet's secrets" part of the plot, which ultimately left me wanting a better explanation, this was a great story.
I also very much enjoyed the way the book was presented. The alternating chapters were used very effectively and I was happy to find that I could distinguish between Tarver and Lilac's voices. They didn't blend together as voices often do in dual-narratives. I appreciated the way their individual characteristics shone through in their recounting of their story. I think the snippets of Tarver's interrogation that preceded each chapter were also very interesting and though they do give away that Tarver, at least, is eventually rescued, I found that they added more to the story in regards to his character, the faceless interrogators of LaRoux Industries and even the plot than was taken away by knowing that detail. This whole set up combined with the excellent writing and interesting plot really lent itself to the binge reading that I did.
All in all, this was a refreshingly different sci-fi with a blossoming love and smart, compelling characters that I truly grew to care for. Despite the second book in the series being about a different couple, I absolutely can't wait to read their story and see where Kaufman and Spooner take me next!