These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Space
Rating: 2/5 stars
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.
These Broken Stars tells the story of privileged teenager Lilac LaRoux and lower-class soldier Tarver Merendsen, who are essentially shipwrecked on an isolated planet with no means of communication and no other survivors. It isn’t the most exciting premise and doesn’t offer a particularly insightful look into class politics, but I’ll admit that I really didn’t expect it to.
When Tarver meets Lilac, he is drawn to her because he glimpses her in a moment when she is not acting like the society dame she is expected to be. They have a short and unmemorable conversation before parting ways, and when they meet again Lilac is with her friends and realizes that she needs to more of less “put Tarver in his place”. Not because she wants to, of course, but because she’s protecting him. Duh.
|What I wanted to do to Lilac|
I was put off by both of the main characters from the very beginning of the story. Tarver is judgemental and obtuse while Lilac has been completely brainwashed by her status. She lies and manipulates people and then tries to excuse it because she’s protecting them. It’s ridiculous. The only useful skill Lilac has is an extensive knowledge of electrical circuitry, which saves her and Tarver from burning up with their spaceship, the Icarus (because it’s SUCH a great idea to name your spaceship after a figure of Greek mythology who succumbs to his own hubris).
Things improved in the characterisation department after the crash, but I still found myself agitated by the characters. Lilac in particular really grows throughout their journey, but there is a major event at the end of the book that absolutely ruined everything good this book had going for it. I just couldn’t take it seriously anymore and I honestly felt kind of betrayed. I stopped caring about what happened altogether. I found Tarver kind of irritating if only because he read as completely unrealistic. He never really had any flaws and I’m not down with that.
I was also unimpressed by the resolution to the “mystery” behind the spectral voices and visions plaguing Lilac and Tarver after the crash. I think that’s just a matter of personal preference, but I just didn’t like it. The world-building was also lackluster in that it was more or less non-existent. I know literally nothing about the society Kaufman and Spooner apparently created. I also thought the password for the locked door that they couldn’t figure out for days and days was ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. It was pretty damn obvious.
The writing was pretty solid – I thought there were some beautiful passages and I didn’t find anything glaringly awful. However, I will say that I wish there was more of a masculine edge to Tarver’s narrative. His voice was very similar to Lilac’s as far as language goes.
I highly doubt I’ll be picking up the next book in this series, but who knows. I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment. At least it wasn’t as bad as Taken!