Review: These Broken Stars

Saturday, January 11, 2014
Why I chose this book: 
I will be the first to admit it. I am a sucker for space operas. At the tender age of 8, I watched Star Wars for the first time and Han Solo had me at “I know”.  When I was eleven, I wanted to be an astronaut. Sadly, a few rounds of roller coasters permanently crushed those dreams. Needless to say, I had stardust in my blood. The fortunate thing for me, and for young adult literature, is that there is some amazingly well written space opera and science fiction novels. I had seen a couple of book blogs I follow give this book a good review, so I knew I had to pick it up. 

These Broken Stars 
by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion 
Publish Date: December 10, 2013
Format: Kindle
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction,
Buy: B&N || Amazon || Indiebound 

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. (Goodreads)
Four things you need to know about this book:

1. Get ready for some beautiful writing. While this is written by two authors, there was no way you could tell who wrote what. It was seamlessly beautiful and gorgeous. Tarver and Lilac struggle together in a world that is equal parts foreign and mysterious. The world is written in various terrains that are each given equal attention to detail, providing the reader a picturesque image of an alien world. Have no fear; this would is far from the stereotypical idea of red, dusty planets and little green men tramping about. 
The writing doesn’t extend to simply the setting, the emotion throughout the book is one that thrives and grows with each chapter. When Tarver and Lilac first stumble onto the setting of the Icarus wreckage, the reader sees the enormity of the situation, while still fully aware of personal emotion that is tied to the crash. 

The Icarus is falling. She’s like a giant beast up in the sky, and I imagine her groaning as she wallows and turns, some part of her still fighting, engines still firing in an attempt to escape gravity. For a few moments she seems to hang in there, eclipsing one of the planet’s moons, pale in the afternoon sky. But what comes next in inevitable, and I find myself reaching an arm around the girl beside me as the ship dies, pieces still peeling away as she makes her final descent.” (Chapter 5)

2. Character development that makes you feel like a proud momma. Lilac and Tarver are enemies at the beginning at the novel that only use friendship as a tool to survive. The two mix like fire and gasoline, and know exactly what it takes to get under the other’s skin. While their relationship is an explosive one, the trials and tribulations of the planet cause them to grow upward and inward. The reader understands the background of each character as Tarver and Lilac do, which I enjoyed. 
Along with this development runs an undercurrent of smaller themes like sacrificial love. While love does many things, sometimes it requires you to put others before yourself. This is particularly seen in the character of Lilac. If she began the novel as a selfish caterpillar, then her time on the alien planet was her cocoon. Needless to say, she blossoms into a beautiful selfless butterfly of a character. 

3. Two characters, two POV. Sometimes I find that books force differing points of view when it is completely unnecessary, but this time it worked, brilliantly. Tarver and Lilac are completely different people, so their perspective on situations are about as different as their backgrounds. Not only does this push the plot forward, it makes the story’s pace never tire. 

4. It’s all Greek to me! There are many references to Greek mythology and culture throughout the novel. For instance, the ship that Lilac’s father built is ironically named The Icarus. Without giving away spoilers, this plays out significantly in the end of the novel, and hints at a much greater theme in the coming trilogy. Lilac herself struggles with viewing her father as a greek God. Yet, like mythology, all gods have faults, and she comes to realize this. 

My father and his stupid fixation on mythology. He told me all the old stories when I was little, of waring gods and goddesses, and I almost imagined he was one of them. All-powerful, all-knowing. Someone to be worshipped unconditionally. But who names a starship the Icarus? What kind of man possess that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?” (Chapter 24)

Final Thoughts:

This book is definitely one of my memorable favorites. I read it slowly, because I didn’t want it to end. I am thrilled that not all my questions were answered, because I know that means there will be more books in the future. This is a series that I know will be a beautiful and highly anticipated read. 

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads

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