Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner



Rating: 4.5 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Mystery
Release Date: December 10, 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of pages: 284
Source: Physical ARC from Publisher
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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.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my thoughts in any way.

These Broken Stars may just be one of those books that are hard to describe and review about. I’m not even sure if I could write a decent introductory paragraph, but let’s just put it this way: when I was young, I loved playing Role Playing Games (RPGs) on the Playstation. Final Fantasy, Tales of, Suikoden… you name it. However, there was this one game series that I loved above all: Star Ocean. Sure, it has that hack and slash, leveling up, fighting monsters, and other mumbo jumbo from other similar games, but what made it different was its premise. All Star Ocean games have this thing in common: it’s about humans who suddenly find themselves in an alien planet (due to warping, technical glitches in their spacecraft, accidents in some machine that blinks you to somewhere else, etc.) and they have to fight for their lives surviving and finding a way to get back home. I loved how it blended science fiction and fantasy into one, giving me a chance to explore new worlds, other civilizations, while also making my imagination run wild of the endless possibilities of space travel. These Broken Stars reminded me of that game, of my fondness for the secrets of the universe, of my curiosity of unknown worlds in deep space… and I loved every minute of it.

There’re a lot to love in this book, but what captivated me the most was the narration/prose. Oh my goodness, it was gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. I loved how it gave me chills and that looming feeling of loneliness and bleakness. Like the two main characters, I also felt some sort of distress in being alone in a new, unknown world, where just a few miles away are the hundreds of bodies of people I’ve been hanging out with a few hours ago but are now lifeless corpses. The scene with the huge ship falling from the sky in flames was perfect and melancholic and… I don’t know! It was beautiful in its way, and I *felt* I was there with them as they watched everyone die. During that scene, I felt a lump forming in my throat, and I’m sorry to say, but not many authors are as effective as this. So, bravo!

Also, It’s kind of hard to find a Young Adult science fiction book that is rich in detail (the descriptions of the alien surroundings were beautiful. It wasn’t hard to imagine them at all) while also abundant in character development and build up. It was so fulfilling to be able to connect with Lilac and Tarver as their thoughts and frustrations were efficiently and stunningly sent across from the pages to the reader. Even the dialogue was well done! At the beginning, when they kept on bantering, I couldn’t help but giggle here and there. Here’s an example:

“Would you like a rest?

“She considers the question, then nods, reaching up to tuck her hair back where it belongs. “Where will I sit?”

Sit? Why, on this comfortable chaise lounge I’ve carried for you in my pocket, Your Highness. So glad you asked.

The characters were also really well-rounded. There were a lot of character development that I couldn’t get enough of. At first there was some insta-love (okay, maaaybe insta-attraction) and it made me see some spots of red, but it was after their ship went down in flames did their personalities really take off in flying colours. I didn’t like Lilac in the beginning because she really acted like a spoilt brat, but she eventually grew on me once she started growing some balls. Her past, her journey, her survival – it made me really see how her growth changed her as a person. We may have started in the wrong foot, but we definitely hit it off after a while. And Tarver? Ohh lala! After reading this book, I kept on praying wishing that I meet one like him in real life. Practical, realistic, hard-working, efficient, and last but not the least, handsome… what more could a girl possibly ask for? It was swoon swoon *-* all the way, baby. There weren’t much character development from him, but I really liked how he was a crucial part in Lilac’s. Now if only Disney make Tarver figurines, I’d buy aplenty…

One thing that did throw me off was the paranormal aspect of it, or at least it seemed paranormal at first. Hearing voices in your sleep, seeing ghosts, etc. etc. I thought it seemed out of place in such a futuristic world. It makes kind of sense later on, but that doesn’t change the fact that for a few moments in the book where these events were taking place, it felt absolutely random.

Overall, this is a spectacular book. I especially recommend it to readers who don’t read Science Fiction but would love to try it out. These Broken Stars would transition you well, as it has enough Sci-Fi and Romance and Adventure to go along with it. There are a lot to love and look forward to with this book. I also recommend listening to RADIO GAIA on iTunes (Ambient section) while reading. It totally made me feel like I was walking on an alien planet!

Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5 stars!

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    Things I found in this review:
    A new game to play, thank you!
    Green heads and tails of jealousy flying around.
    And a rec for you: Faye, you absolutely must try Robin McKinley, you require her books.
    *nods sagely*

  2. laila BC says

    oh wow! i have come across this book but i was a bit hesitant…could the story be as amazing as that book cover? and then this review might just convinced me yet :) I have tried reading a very few sci-fi and i do end up really liking them. So i hope i will learnt to love this one as much as you did. I like them swoony! Thanks for this review Faye :))