Book Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
Published By: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction

Wow. These Broken Stars took me completely by surprise. I'm always a little nervous to read science fiction novels, but this one is so much more than that. These Broken Stars is a fresh, innovative spin on YA romance. This is an addicting read that is told with vivid prose that will have your heart pounding and your fingers racing to turn the page. I lived and breathed this story the entire time I was reading it. I have to admit, I'm a little sad that it's over. These Broken Stars is easily one of my favorite 2013 reads.

What made this one so special? For starters, I loved the characters. The dual perspectives allowed me to connect with both characters on a deeper level. Lilac and Tarver come from such different backgrounds, but they also see something in the other that attracts them from the first moment. Lilac is the daughter of the wealthiest man in the galaxy, yet she doesn't seem to truly fit into the socialite heiress role. She wants to make her society a better place and she has a soft spot for those in need. Tarver, on the other hand, is not from the upper crust of society. His mother is a poet and his father is a history teacher - this means that Tarver comes from a lower to middle class family. There is no way that Lilac and Tarver would be allowed to form a friendship or anything more in this futuristic society that harkens back to Victorian social structures. However, everything changes the moment the Icarus crashes and strands the pair on an unknown planet. The decorum of proper society takes a back seat to survival.

There were some elements of Pride and Prejudice laced throughout the evolving relationship between Lilac and Tarver. They each think they know what is best for the other and they make assumptions constantly. Each of the characters casts quick judgments about the other as well. As the story progresses, they both begin to see that they may not have been completely fair to the other. This is not a retelling of P&P, but I can't help noticing when a relationship develops in Elizabeth and Darcy fashion. I'm not complaining by any means - I love these sorts of relationships. There is also a tiny element of Romeo and Juliet going on, but it's not quite as a tragic as the Shakespearean work. That isn't to say that there weren't some moments that made me want to cry with hurt and frustration. I also wasn't sure how things would end, but I just took a deep breath and decided to trust the authors.

In addition to the characters, I really enjoyed the creativity that went into creating this world and this story. I can't recall the last novel I read that truly took me by surprise. It was nice to not see all the twists and turns coming. Every time I would think I had something figured out, I would find that I was completely off base. Kaufman and Spooner certainly know how to keep readers on their toes. This story is complex and multi-layered. I loved every minute of it.

I also couldn't help comparing the Icarus to the tragic fate of the Titanic. Lilac's father builds a ship that is the largest and most extravagant in the universe. Furthermore, he decides to name his spaceship after a person who wanted to fly, but got too close to the sun and crashed. This act feels a bit too much like tempting fate. Many sources discuss the naming of the Titanic and how it was claimed to be an unsinkable ship. Like with the great ocean liner, tragedy strikes. I would be interested to know if the fate of the ship in 1912 played any part in the inspiration for this story.

If you're in the mood to read a romance with some intriguing moral implications and a commentary on social structure, These Broken Stars should be at the top of your "to read" list. This one combines the elements of tragedy, survival, and romance in an intoxicating mixture. These characters aren't likely to leave my mind any time soon. I'm excited to see where this trilogy will head in the future. My hope is that Lilac and Tarver will make an appearance in the other books since they are supposed to be companion novels and not direct sequels.

P.S. - This is also one of the first books were the girl in the pretty dress on the cover actually goes along with something in the story. 

One Last Gripe: I wanted more explanation about the whispers. I had a lot of trouble visualizing that aspect.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The prose is so well done that I watched this one play out in my mind like a movie. The writing is vivid and compelling. Love, love, love it!

First Sentence: Nothing about this room is real.

Favorite Character: I can't choose between Lilac and Tarver. I loved them both equally.

Least Favorite Character: Lilac's father

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.


  1. I just can't CAN'T wait till I get this book in my hands!

    Great review!

    1. It's well worth the wait. Amazing read!


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