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Thursday, November 01, 2018

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner


Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardcover: 374 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release date: December 10, 2013

Series:  Starbound, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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.

I was interested in reading this book because I am such a huge fan of the Illuminae Files. Since I loved that series to pieces, I was curious about Amie Kaufman's other novels, especially since she and Megan Spooner have yet another series that is currently in publication. How was this different? How was it similar? A fellow librarian friend loved it after I turned her on to Illuminae and she'd been bugging me to read it.

I had two main complaints with this first book. But, just...bear with me a minute.

1) I wanted to know more backstory about Tarver and Lilac. They were such very interesting characters, but I somewhat felt the action continuously pulled them into the present and neglected telling us about their lives before the story. I kept figuring this was going to come in a later book, but it didn't. And I didn't realize this series would jump to new protagonists in the next novel. As far as problems go, it's a minor one, but I really wanted to see Tarver pre-military and Lilac have some more depth to her familial interactions, though some more details are revealed in later novels.

2) While I loved the idea of this planet and its inhabitants, I also had trouble with really seeing it in my head. Once again, most of the story is propelled through the characters of Tarver and Lilac and their interactions and thoughts, but not enough detail is spent on fleshing out the setting, making it fully realized. Perhaps the reader is supposed to see their own version, but since this was a planet  seemingly missing the inhabitants, the setting could/should act as a character. I didn't have this problem in the other novels, just this one. I guess I just wanted it to be a tad bit richer so I could love it more.

So, despite these few flaws, I genuinely liked this story. Tarver and Lilac are strong characters and I enjoyed their story continuing in later novels. In no way did I predict the twist at the end of this book because I just was still trying to figure out what was going on. The juxtaposition of the madness versus a ghost or something else kept you on your toes for what might happen. The most vivid scene I remember that I still love (writing about this months later) is where they find the disembowled juggernaut, Tarver becomes ill, and Lilac, already facing the prospect of insanity and hallucinations, has to explore inside the mass grave of a ship to find supplies. Wow. The sheer horror of the situation and the fierce need for survival and companionship makes this an amazing scene in a really good book. Hopefully coming soon -- This Shattered World where we continue the resistance against LaRoux Industries and meetJubilee "Lee" Chase and Flynn Cormac and revisit with Tarver and Lilac.


Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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