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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: December 10, 2013
Pages: 384
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Rating: 4.5 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.

In short: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner combines an absorbing plot, solid characterization, and a swoony romance to create an outstanding sci fi novel.
Two star-crossed lovers - one, a wealthy young lady of station and the other, a poor soldier that gets thrust into the upper class spotlight - are instantly attracted to each other upon first meeting, but then disaster strikes: their luxury spaceship is pulled out of hyperspace causing a massive catastrophic disaster. In this way, These Broken Stars fits the descriptor of "Titanic in space" very well. But that's only the very beginning of an epic adventure story. What follows the crash is a tale of survival, an emotional character-driven plot, and a whole bunch of crazy plot twists.

Holy crap. I'm writing down my thoughts just after I ploughed through the last third of These Broken Stars at a sprint and "holy crap" sums up my feelings pretty well. I haven't been this blown away by plot twists and surprise reveals since Across the Universe. The enigma of the anonymous planet on which the majority of the novel takes place reaches Lost levels of WTF twists and I just couldn't read fast enough to unravel the mysteries of the alien world. I'm still kind of reeling after the biggest WTF moment of These Broken Stars.

But what is an enthralling plot without the characters to back it up? Thankfully, These Broken Stars also excels at complex characterization and slow-burn romance. Written in alternating first person point of views, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner do a tremendous job at keeping the protagonists' voices distinct so there is no confusion in differentiating them (which is something of a rarity). Lilac and Tarver are easily likeable - if not in the beginning, then over the course of the novel - with well developed character arcs. And the unresolved tension between them!! Le swoon.

I wasn't completely sold on some of the explanations and science presented in These Broken Stars, but that is a small complaint when I take into account how well it was written and how enthralled I was with the intriguing plot. If you are a reluctant sci fi reader, then These Broken Stars is the book for you! With a completely absorbing sci fi plot, solid characterization, and a swoony romance, These Broken Stars is recommended to sci fi and romance lovers alike.

Other Reviews:
Books and Other Happy Ever Afters
Christina Reads YA
Musings of a YA Reader

Author Links:
Amie Kaufman Website
Amie Kaufman Blog
Amie Kaufman Twitter
Amie Kaufman Facebook
Amie Kaufman Goodreads
Meagan Spooner Website
Meagan Spooner Blog
Meagan Spooner Twitter
Meagan Spooner Facebook
Meagan Spooner Goodreads


  1. WOO HOO! I loved this one too Aylee! It blew me away, and I just couldn't stop reading from page one. I had to force myself to go to bed. I though the characterization, like you said, was spectacular and I couldn't have loved the way the romance unfolded any more if I tried. I need the next book asap!

  2. Everyone is loving this book! I still need to think about it, ha. I read it so fast that I don't think I had time to process it. Yay for slow-burn romance though! Great review, Aylee. :)

  3. Slow-burn romance? What a great way to put it. Fab review as always sweetie.

  4. So glad you liked this. I've heard mostly good things about this. I should get to it.

  5. Right? This was such a fun read and the planet was so freaky. When she started to hear voices is when it gets really effed up I loved it! I'm so glad you did too! The characters and the whole survivalist aspect is what I loved the most. I wasn't a huge fan of the sci fi plot side either it got kind of confusing eh? Great review, Aylee! :)

  6. Yayayayay, I'm so happy to see that you loved this one too! We seem to agree on a lot of the same points. TBS definitely had awesome plot twists and THAT point in the story, I was like "NOO, WTF?". I loved the dual perspectives, too, and ugh that romance <3 I have to agree that the scientific stuff isn't all entirely convincing, but hey, who wants to read a science textbook? ;) Lovely review, Aylee!

  7. Great review, Aylee! I only hear awesome things about These Broken Stars and I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this too! Also, slow-burn romance. I. cannot. wait. (!!!)

  8. I'm very excited for this one! I've heard amazing things about it and I can't wait to read it for myself! The slow-burn romance sounds so cute ahh. Awesome review :)

  9. I'll admit I was a tad bit skeptical about this one when I got my hands on an ARC...I was scared that it sounded to good to be true XD But then the positive buzz started coming in and your review just seals the deal for me!! I love love love how you describe all those WTF moments, the characters and the plot! And you know I'm a HUGE sci-fi geek so yeah, I'm psyched :D I've been on a review-book-break for some me reading (to get me out of my slump) BUT I believe this one is in my near future! Wonderful review Aylee!!

  10. Oh, wow! sounds like you really like it!
    It sounds like it's pretty good - I hadn't been interested because I don't like Titanic-type plots, and that was all I had heard about this one - but you say it's a lot more than that, right?
    So I'll try to check it out

  11. These Broken Stars is at the top of my wishlist at the moment- it sounds amazing :)

  12. I have never been big on sci fi novels. But I have been curious about this one. I am really curious now about the plot twists. I love a good plot twist, especially when I don't see it coming. I am always a little unsure about Titanic inspired novels, but this one I am excited about.

    Thanks for the review Aylee!

  13. I really hope this one is much better than the Across the Universe series. I like an enthralling plot and strong characters but the science also has to make sense too. I guess I'll have to try it to find out. Thanks for the review!

  14. That's great you really loved this one! I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to things dealing with space, but I have been hearing good things about this one. Love that the characters grow!

  15. Oh my gosh! Your review makes me so excited to read this one! I’m so happy it’s an excellent sci-fi novel. You can never have too many of those :)

  16. Slow burning romance and complex-characterization two of my favorite aspects of my reading material, then toss in lots of WTF twists and an outpace setting - well I'm sold. Nice review! I want to read this one for sure, going to put it on my amazon wish list for Christmas.

  17. I loved this one as well :D the voices were indeed distinct, and while Lilac annoyed me with her pettiness at first, I grew to love them both individually and together. The narration was also very haunting. Do you remember that scene where they watched the ship go down in flames? God, that gave me GOOSEBUMPS. Lovely review!

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  18. Ooh I am intrigued by your comparison of this book to Lost. If it does have plot twists that can be compared to that, then I'm definitely game to read it. This does sound very good, and up my alley as a non-hardcore fan of scifi. Lovely review, Aylee! Can't wait to read this one myself!

  19. I'm reading this one right now, so I'm trying to skim reviews for it, but so far I'm loving it! Lost comparisons? I'm so excited to get back to this tonight and finish it! :-) I'll come back by and give your review a proper read when I'm done. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and so glad to hear you loved this!