Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: young adult science fiction, romance
Format/Source: ARC, received at TLA conference
Status: First book in the Starbound trilogy


Summary:
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.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I expected to be reading The Fiery Heart this past week, but because my copy didn't arrive for a few days, I was left looking for something else to read. I was going through my books, and I thought, "These Broken Stars is almost out. I should read it." And I'm really, really glad I picked it up. By page 20, I was hooked.

What made TBS so intriguing? Well, really it's the premise. This book is like Titanic mixed with Across the Universe mixed with Firefly/Serenity mixed with Article 5 mixed with Halo AND Aliens mixed with every survival story ever. And yet, although it shares elements and plot points with all these stories, it manages to stand by itself as something unique and interesting. See, first, we're on the Icarus (SO ill-named, a fact that Lilac discusses at one point) rubbing elbows with the fancy first-class, but then the ship is evacuated. By the magic of book luck and plot manipulation, Tarver and Lilac end up alone in an escape pod. They manage to detach from the ship and land on a nearby planet–that they've never heard of before. Enter survival mode. How is this unique? you ask. Well, there's also an absolutely insane paranormal-y twist that I didn't expect at all. It's so subtle that I was questioning Lilac and Tarver's sanity right along with them.

When you have a movie or a book with few characters, you can also concentrate on them. Think Castaway or Gravity. To some extent, Catcher in the Rye. Not only is TBS plot-driven, but the fact that other characters are not often present, Amie and Meagan were able to really develop Tarver and Lilac. Their relationships to others is intrinsically important to their development and the plot, but we don't actually know these other characters, and that allows us to get to know Tarver and Lilac really well.

First person dual pov is such a blessing because we can hear BOTH main characters' thoughts. I knew immediately that Lilac was no princess, that there was a lot more to her. She's so smart, so calculating, but not necessarily in a cruel way, except when necessary. She's strong and passionate and utterly likeable. Likewise, Tarver isn't the big dumb soldier that he pretends to be around others. He's also smart and he's considerate, but he also makes the tough decision occasionally to be momentarily less kind in a life-or-death situation. While in those moments he seems like a jerk, Tarver is totally the kind of guy who would sacrifice anything to keep someone else safe, even the girl who publicly humiliated him, especially the girl who publicly humiliated him, and that's a testament to just how good of a person he is.

Amie and Meagan did a great job creating these two characters that I loved very early on. I sympathized with every rough moment, every harrowing near-miss, every injury. I cheered every obstacle cleared. I was completely engrossed in this slow-building romance that reminded me of embers that are slow to ignite, but when they finally catch, they blaze with such heat and light that you have to step away. The romance, when it happened...just WOW. And the thing is, it wasn't insta-love. When two characters go through such hardships, it's no wonder that they grow close, but it wasn't just that. It's apparent in their first meeting that Tarver and Lilac have a deeper connection.

I loved every aspect of this book. I feel like everything was addressed properly and in good time. After they land, I'm sitting there going, "Lilac is NOT going to hike around in high heels," and the problem was fixed. What would happen to the canteen? SOLVED. I absolutely loved that Tarver's investigation co-incided with the novel. Those chapter breaks gave me something to look forward to when things dragged OR got too intense. It was like listening in to Tarver's side of the story, but getting the full thing since we know he's being selective with his answers. The breaks also gave good insight to a snarkier, slightly resentful Tarver, which was definitely fun to watch.

Why didn't I give this novel 5 stars? I can't really say. I think I'm giving it some growing room. I was sucked in by page 20, but by page 120, I wanted a break. I didn't have to read it all in one sitting. I always wanted to finish, but I didn't absolutely HAVE TO FINISH IT RIGHT NOW. But by the end of the novel, when I woke up at 2 AM and couldn't get back to sleep immediately, I wanted to finish. The drama increases and the stakes rise exponentially in a mad conclusion. I can't wait to read This Shattered World, book two of the Starbound trilogy, which will be released in 2014. This is a companion series rather than direct sequels, but I sincerely hope to see characters from TBS again...at least the ones who survived. ;)

PS I totally love the cover. It was what attracted me in the first place. And before you go off about pretty white girls in prom dresses, the dress is actually pretty significant.

Book Links:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg

About Amie:
Amie Kaufman is the co-author of These Broken Stars, the first in the Starbound trilogy, and writes science fiction and fantasy for teens. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. 
Author Links:
   


About Meagan:
Meagan Spooner is a young adult fantasy and science fiction writer living in Asheville, North Carolina. Her debut novel Skylark is available now from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books and its sequel Shadowlark comes out October 1, 2013. She is also the co-author of the upcoming young adult science fiction novel These Broken Stars.
Author Links:
   


Giveaway:
I happen to have an ARC of These Broken Stars to pass along to one lucky winner! Open to US & Canada. Entrants must be 13+. Since this is a holiday week, I'm extending the time a bit. This giveaway is open until 12 AM CST December 4th. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page.Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

31 comments:

  1. If I were stranded on an alien planet I would want to be stranded with Katniss. She could find stuff to eat and protect us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's a really good choice for a survival companion.

      Delete
  2. Fallon Vaughn ( joefallon1@yahoo.com ) - I would say Dameon from the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read that one yet so I wish you well!

      Delete
  3. Cannot wait to read this one!
    If I were stranded on an alien planet I'd want Channing Tattum there!
    Thanks for the giveaway! :-)
    Megan @ Books i View

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure on your chances of survival, but at least you'd have some serious eye candy!

      Delete
  4. Hmmm....I think I would have to choose Zachary Levi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES. He's so darling. I love Tangled, and Chuck was hilarious.

      Delete
  5. Jace or Will Herondale! Oh the dreamyness of it all :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. ARGHHHH!!! How could I choose???? Hmmmm….Maybe Day from Legend? Or Will Herondale…or Four from Divergent? AHHHH!!! Can't Decide!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes, and yes! Day might be the best survival-wise, but I would not begrudge you the others!

      Delete
  7. I would choose four from Divergent, definitely!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh man, that's a tough question! Umm, I would probably choose Gale or Ian Somerhalder.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'd want to be stranded with Gandalf -- he'd be interesting to talk to. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be either really obnoxious and awful or AMAZING.

      Delete
  10. Can I have Seal Team 6? Cause yeah... they're good to have in sticky situations. (:

    ReplyDelete
  11. If I was stranded on an alien planet, I would want to be stranded with the Doctor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The question is...which one?! I'd pick David Tennant myself. He's a riot!

      Delete
  12. Oh this was such a refreshing read! I absolutely loved it. The writing really got me. I cannot wait for the next one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely 100% agree with you. Need #2 asap!

      Delete
  13. I would want to be stranded with my best friend- we'd have an amazing time together :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Either Daniel Sheridan from Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, Four from Divergent, or Jace Wayland from City of Bones. Honestly, any of these characters would be fine with me. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just downloaded the audio of this and I was kind of scared that I was just drawn in by the pretty cover, so I'm glad it wasn't a horrible decision on my part!

    ReplyDelete