These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on November 20th, 2013
Shelve It: Goodreads
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.
I absolutely loved These Broken Stars! With witty and spirited characters, a romance that developed organically and the mystery of a foreign planet, I was in suspense for most of its 374 pages. While I found the ending slightly rushed, and I was disappointed that a rather large philosophical quandary was left mostly untouched, it was mostly negligent in comparison to how much I enjoyed everything else!
Lilac was such an interesting character! The daughter of the most powerful man in the galaxy, she’s been pampered her whole life. I loved watching her struggle with how useless her society skills were, once she found herself stranded on a foreign planet. I loved her stubbornness, even when it meant watching her fumble around in a jungle in a billowing evening dress and high heels. And, most of all, I loved that underneath her icy exterior was a compassionate and delicate soul, who was unable to thrive until she was removed from the pressures of having such a prominent father. I admired her strength and the sheer determination with which she approached any obstacle in her path, and I loved being able to experience something as mundane as rain through her sheltered world view, as it became something magical and wondrous.
Tarver was equally as strong a character, using his army expertise to keep them both alive. I loved that he wasn’t disillusioned about the rich and powerful, and that he was able to show Lilac that there might be more to life than fancy parties and trivial gossip. I loved that his patience was able to outweigh his annoyance, even when Lilac was being completely insufferable. I loved that he couldn’t help but goad her into being a little angry with him, as it was something he found adorable but it also served to motivate her to keep going. I loved his dedication to his family, and that they were his motivation to get off the planet. And most of all, I loved that he was great at communicating with Lilac. While they weren’t without their spats, they always managed to work through their issues by communicating with each other about why they were feeling a certain way.
Surprisingly, one of my favourite aspects of These Broken Stars was its imagery. Watching the Icarus fall from the sky is an image I won’t soon forget; I can quite clearly picture the burning bits of debris as they hit the atmosphere, the large body of the ship seemingly hovering in place before falling straight down, the escape pods breaking off and scattering in various directions. The small cottage that Tarver calls home, decorated in flowers with winding paths and large gardens. The husk of a broken Icarus, bent and melted into a mess of steel and plastic. And Lilac in her navy dress, with her bright red hair curled and pinned. These are the images that will stick with me, long after I’ve placed These Broken Stars on my bookshelf. It was also the imagery that helped pull me, even deeper, into the story so that I couldn’t help but be concerned about the fate bestowed upon the two protagonists.
With great characters and great imagery, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I loved These Broken Stars’ plot either. Facing down wild animals, the treacherous and ever-changing landscape of the foreign planet, and the constant fear of the whispers that seemed to be guiding Lilac and Tarver towards something sinister, all kept me captivated. I loved the twist behind the whispers, but I do wish a little more attention had been given to them. While I got enough information to be satisfied, there’s so much more I would love to know!
View Spoiler »The biggest concern I had with These Broken Stars has to do with its treatment of Lilac’s death. With her resurrection, she questions whether or not it’s possible that she is the same Lilac, the same person she was before the whispers brought her back to life. « Hide Spoiler
View Spoiler »“I try to imagine myself drifting to infinitesimal pieces on the wind, turning to dust like the flower did. It’s easier to contemplate it if I’m not real after all – if I’m only a copy; a remnant of the girl who used to be here. I remember everything of my life, of Lilac’s life. But is memory enough?” « Hide Spoiler
View Spoiler »Even Tarver is hesitant to accept that she could be his Lilac. It’s only after he sees that she has the same mannerisms and memories that he begins to believe in the unbelievable, and to be honest, I could understand his acceptance; he was grieving and, in his shoes, I would want to believe my loved one had been returned to me too. I probably could have shrugged off my questions, if Lilac hadn’t been adamant about seeing her body. After digging up her grave, and seeing herself buried, I was at a loss. Is memory enough to quantify someone as being the same person? If I were in Lilac’s shoes, would I feel like I was a mere copy, even though I had all of the original Lilac’s memories? While I didn’t necessarily expect These Broken Stars to wax philosophical about what truly makes one a person, I was expecting a little more personal dilemma about the issue from Lilac. While she definitely struggled with the concept, it was something she overcame without much fuss. « Hide Spoiler
I’m so glad I picked up These Broken Stars. I was quite hesitant, considering the hype it’s received, but after reading I know that the hype is well-deserved! With so many different elements at play, space exploration, romance, mystery, intrigue, conspiracies, coverups and aliens, These Broken Stars has something for everyone!