Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound, #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 10th 2013
Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive—alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
So the first thing I noticed about this book was the cover, and who wouldn’t really? It is absolutely breathtaking and what drew me to this book and the series. The Starbound series has a lot of great reviews and reading These Broken Stars I can see why; it’s incredibly well-written, the characters are well developed and the plot, while it may seem slow at first, really draws you in. These Broken Stars is one of the books that hooked me on the sci-fi genre.
When Tarver sees Lilac for the first time aboard the spaceship Icarus he doesn’t realise who she is, not at first. All he sees is a pretty girl sitting alone and he takes the opportunity to go over and speak with her. It is only later, when Lilac shoots him down and humiliates him during their next meeting, that he realises who she is; Lilac LaRoux, the daughter of the powerful man in the universe. For both Tarver and Lilac this seems to end their short relationship, on a ship of fifty thousand people how likely are they to run into one another again?
But when Icarus is pulled out of hyperspace and starts to break apart there is chaos, everyone rushes to their podships and in the crush Lilac is separated from her companions and badly injured. Tarver saves her and the two of them manage to make it to one of the maintenance podships before the spaceship completely breaks apart.
After crash landing on what seems like an abandoned planet Tarver knows their only option for rescue is to make it to the larger wreck site, the place where Icarus fell, but Lilac is stubborn. She believes her father will save her and that their best option is to stay where their podship fell.
Gradually the two make their way across the planet, discovering wildlife and plants that are nothing like anything either of them has ever seen on any other terraforming planet. They soon realise something is very wrong; why spend all that money making a planet able to support human life only to abandon it?
Then Lilac starts to hear whispers. Small and indistinguishable voices at first that only she can hear, but soon she starts seeing things, things Tarver dismisses as hallucinations or stress but which Lilac knows are real. Alone on a planet, with a fallen spaceship and fifty thousand bodies, Tarver and Lilac know they need to find a way back home but Lilac cannot discount what she is hearing and seeing the way Tarver does. She needs to find out what the whispers are trying to tell her and what is wrong with the planet they have ended up stranded on.
Lilac knows that if Tarver hadn’t crash landed with her she wouldn’t have made it past the first day. She seems a very frivolous character at first glance, and while sometimes her concerns and demands can make her seem shallow she is still quite level-headed, reasonable and sensible. The longer they spend on the planet the more Lilac is forced to face and the more she grows as a character. She hikes for weeks on feet that are blistered and sore, and she faces her growing doubts about her own sanity and about her father.
Though she comes to care for him Lilac worries about how close her and Tarver are becoming and what people will think, even though they are alone on an uninhabited planet. She fears how far her father’s influence can spread and despite the fact that she loves him she is not blind to his faults though she does underestimate his true nature.
Tarver is uncomfortable in the world Lilac was born into, but when they crash on his turf he takes command. He is strict and almost insensitive at times with Lilac, too used to dealing with military soldiers rather than heiresses’ but even he can see how well Lilac is doing trekking across the planet. He is a strong character and even though he is young he has faced many horrific things in his life. He’s very blunt and realistic about their odds but he sugar-coats things for Lilac, hoping to keep her moving when he feels the truth will destroy her. However I feel at times he unestimates her strength.
Despite their very different backgrounds Lilac and Tarver are very well matched. When they crash land Tarver takes the lead but he knows without Lilac he would have died on Icarus or in one of the podships that didn’t detach before the ship split apart. Later when Tarver is injured Lilac braves the wreckage of Icarus to find him medicine and antibiotics, and in turn Tarver is the one who keeps Lilac moving through the forest and across the plains.
After Lilac humiliated Tarver on Icarus he sees her as another society princess, a world apart from his military roots. He is sharp with her at first but he forces her to keep moving when she would have given up. Eventually they begin to trust one another and real feelings grow between them. Lilac trusts him with her past and allows him to see the real reason she was so harsh with him on Icarus.
The world-building in These Broken Stars was incredibly well written. With Tarver and Lilac being the only characters for about 90% of the story, and the majority of the plot being their journey across the planet, there was plenty of room to develop the characters and the world. Kaufman and Spooner do not shy away from the realities of what Tarver and Lilac find when they reach the wreckage site and about their struggles to make the journey in the first place. However I would have liked to learn more about the whispers; where they came from and what they really were. They had such a large influence on the story and on Lilac but they were never really fully described. Hopefully that’s something we’ll learn in a future book.
All in all I loved These Broken Stars, and while I was a little disappointed to find out that Tarver and Lilac weren’t the focus of the second book I am interested to see how this series unfolds as a whole. Featuring different couple worked in The Lunar Chronicles so I have high hopes for the Starbound series.
What did you think of These Broken Stars? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.