Books · REVIEWS

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars

“And there it is, against all hope, like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. The smallest hint of a smile.”

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.

Personal Thoughts:

Told in alternating point of view between Lilac LaRoux, daughter of the richest man in the universe and Tarver Merendsen, a self-made war-hero soldier who in-spite of good deeds and heroism is still consider lowest among the upper-class society he serves. The two are both on board on the Icarus, the biggest and most powerful ships for intergalactic travel when it experience malfunctions. They managed to get into an emergency escape pod together and make an emergency landing on a nearby planet before the Icarus totally crashed. They aren’t exactly in good terms before the crashed happened, but with only each other in a strange abandoned planet they have to learned to cooperate and help each other in order to survive longer.

“For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that’s left is us”

First let me discuss the Icarus, the supposed to be great ship created by LaRoux Industries. Upon reading the name of the ship I know right away what would happen to it even without reading the synopsis of the book. Because, Icarus in Greek mythology end up tragic. In myth, Icarus is the son of a master craftsman, who tried to escape using a wing that is made of feathers and wax constructed by his father, Daedalus. Despite his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun or too low to the ocean, Icarus still soared high and came too close to the sun, which melted the wax of his wings. So he fell into the sea and die. Icarus story is a classic and tragic example of tactical stupidity, wherein we are usually aware of facts and possibility but still refuse to acknowledged them. Sometimes a product of over confidences or over ambition. With that, the ship, Icarus is easy to compare as something highly ambitious project that failed in the end.

The world building is easily believable in-spite of the initial ambitious set-up. I mean Victorian era in future outer space! Ambitious and unique right? I haven’t read anything like that before. Add the class hierarchy system, with the flying ships and planets, the authors obviously done their homework. Their writing is smooth and flowing. I even encounter some gorgeous prose along the way, though most of them I can quote in this review because of heavy spoilers. The dual point of view work too, I think even without the name in each chapter I can easily recognize the narrator. Tarver and Lilac voices got their own characters and so distinct from each other.

Lilac as a character started too brat for my liking but she grew on me as I read. Her transformation from being a spoiled rich girl to a figther is very appealing and well written. While Traver on the other hand is much easy to relate to because of his simple background in life. I kinda enjoy reading his interrogation or debriefing which are included in each chapters. The way he answers and smartly avoid all the questions added lightness to the story. His smart mouth is definitely entertaining to read.

“Major, to what extent did you act upon your feelings for Miss LaRoux?”
“Medium.”
“Excuse me?”
“How am I supposed to answer that question?”

Given Lilac and Tarver’s situation, the romance felt a little overwhelming at times. I feel like they need to concentrate more on their survival than constant bickering. That they should be smart enough to know that they only have each other in an foreign planet and that they need to focus on cooperating and finding ways to survive than anything else.

As expected for the first installment for a series novels, there are some things that wasn’t fully explained yet from this book, such as the government and its class system, the LaRoux Industries operations and power, and the whole planet terraforming. Hopefully the next two books will explore more of those things than the romance aspect of the next stories.

With mystery, danger, politics, and romance, These Broken Stars is a unique story of survival, hope and love set in outer space world. It is a fantastic start of a new series from two talented authors in the world of YA literature. Will defenitely checking the companion novels to learn more about the world and other characters.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley.

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