Review: These Broken Stars

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: These Broken StarsThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 374
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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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.

Like pretty much every book blogger, These Broken Stars was near the top of my most-wanted list. As is often the case, it didn’t end up being a huge favorite. That’s not to say it isn’t good, and I can see why there’s been a lot of hype for Kaufman and Spooner’s work, but it never really got me in the feels, which left me feeling rather mixed about the whole endeavor. Overall, I am impressed with this author team, even if this particular book in the series wasn’t perfect for me.

The opening of These Broken Stars I loved wholeheartedly. The whole Titanic in space thing was done perfectly, so well, in fact, that I really don’t know why it’s not been done before (that I know of). The Icarus, a giant luxury spaceship with a name that suggests a desire to triumph over nature, is home to Lilac LaRoux, matches the Titanic quite well. The spoiled heiress Lilac LaRoux and the rest of the creme de la creme dine in style, mocking the lower-born who share the ship with them. Gowns and social class and money are what’s important to them. Against all odds, Lilac and Tarver Merendson, a decorated soldier, flirt one night at a party, to which he was invited solely because of his war hero status. Then she shoots him down, because men who flirt with her are in danger of reassignment to a dangerous post thanks to her father, the richest man in the universe.

This part’s actually quite brief. The Icarus lives up to its name, shocked from hyperdrive and then falling to a nearby planet. Unlike the Titanic, only one escape pod gets away from the ship, the one bearing Tarver and Lilac, conveniently enough. The bulk of These Broken Stars is actually just these two trying to survive in adverse conditions. Their survival is made especially difficult by Lilac’s privileged upbringing. Again, I think Kaufman and Spooner do a good job with this, making Lilac enough of a brat to be believable, but showing how strong she is at heart. She grows a lot in the course of a couple of weeks.

Though kept simmering on the back burner for most of the book, the central core of the novel is the romance between Tarver and Lilac. They’re sweet together and I think it’s great that they are in effect equal partners, both coming to the relationship with different skills and a mutual respect. Tarver doesn’t do much of the macho man stuff after he gets to know her better, which is refreshing. Still, I didn’t get the feels from them at all, largely, I imagine, due to the fact that I found their voices pretty indistinguishable and kept having to remind myself which character I was reading. Without an emotional bond to them, I could appreciate the romance, but not FEEL it.

As far as the twisty bits go, I’m not really sure what to make of where the plot goes. The whole chilling whispers part seemed to add a lot of convenience that I didn’t really care for much. Where it had been a dark story of survival, These Broken Stars twisted to become something else. Plus, I really hate the fake out trope, which the plot depended on. View Spoiler »

Though that came out rather negative, I do think there’s more good than bad in here, particularly for readers that aren’t like me. I will be anticipating the next book in the series, and I’m rather thankful that it’s about new characters, rather than these two. It’s like a fresh roll of the dice.

Favorite Quote:

“No, I’m all you. You’re delirious. Which means I get an afterlife for a while. I’ve got to tell you, I was anticipating worse. I can live with this. No pun intended.”

That was dreadful.

“You missed it though.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


12 responses to “Review: These Broken Stars”

  1. Sorry this one just ok for you. I hate looking so forward to something and it being just meh. I like the cover and the idea of a titanic in space thing but not sure how much I’d like this one either. I’m just going to stick to higher rated Christina picks. 😉 You never lead me astray!
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…Right NowMy Profile

  2. Okay I am trying my hardest to read my ARC of this one and I am struggling big time. I was looking forward to this one a lot and so far it’s underwhelmed me. Hopefully it will improve for me. Bummed that you didn’t enjoy it a lot.
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…Review: Crash Into You (Pushing The Limits #3) by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  3. Stormy says:

    Aw, sad you didn’t like this one as much. It’s interesting that you say you loved the opening so much, because that was the part I didn’t like at all, and almost DNF-ed very early on because I found the Titanic-in-space part of the story not my cup of tea(. . . though this may be because I’ve never actually seen the Titanic movie). I’ll be interested to see how everyone will feel about the next book.
    Stormy recently posted…Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillMy Profile

  4. I’m happy that Lilac shows some good traits, because a spoiled brat can quickly become an annoying character. I won’t be reading the spoiler, but fake out trope doesn’t sound too good. I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t enjoy this one more!
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…FF 21. Hard life of a reader (5)My Profile

  5. Molli says:

    I have to say, I was a little surprised at your rating. Somehow I thought this one might win you over, Christina. But when you don’t connect it’s hard…it’s like as good as the book MIGHT be, it just isn’t for you. So although it makes me sad to see you giving it a lower rating, it makes me happy you read it, and will give the other books a try.

    I ate up the Titanic-in-space thing and I think it was such a rock star way to begin the book. The Icarus crashing? That scene HAUNTED me. Like you, I was happy to see Lilac grow over the course of TBS, and as far as the spoiler. Hmmm. Was it very/too convenient? Yes. It would have been ballsier to let the plot twist stand as it happened, but I had a feeling (through my shock and tears) it wasn’t permanent. And I’m glad it wasn’t, though I can see how you’d feel the way you do. So sadface over you and this one BUT I’m like you – I’m excited to see what the authors do with the next two books.
    Molli recently posted…If We Were Having Coffee…My Profile

  6. MJ says:

    I’m hoping to pick this one up. I’m sort of wanting something that in this genre, so this might be a good fit for me. I really liked your review. There’s been so much glushing over this book, so it’s nice to get a more well rounded review.
    MJ recently posted…More Like Sickening Sweet than Bitter Sweet: Bittersweet Love by Jennifer L ArmentroutMy Profile

  7. I think this is the first not-super-positive review I’ve seen for These Broken Stars. I’m glad you were still able to find some positives in this book, however, and still appreciated the future potential of the collaboration between these authors; that’s always a good thing. 🙂
    You’re pretty vague about what really didn’t work for you with the plot (understandably so), so I can’t tell whether I’ll have similar concerns. I’m hoping to love this one, though. Fingers crossed!
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…Top Ten 2014 Releases I’m Dying To ReadMy Profile

  8. Meg says:

    The hype for this book has been inflating my expectations out of proportion, so thank you for grounding me a bit. I’m still excited to read it because the premise sounds fantastic and I am inclined to ship, so hopefully I’ll connect (although I’ve been surprisingly burned out on romance lately, it’s starting to freak me out a little. Who am I?) I’m sorry it didn’t knock your socks off 😐
    Meg recently posted…Review: Gorgeous by Paul RudnickMy Profile

  9. I didn’t really like These Broken Stars. I feel like I’m in the minority in this case. It didn’t work for me. I agree with you about the romance. I saw it, understood it, but I just didn’t feel it.
    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (27): The Museum of Intangible ThingsMy Profile

  10. Oh, bummer. I can’t decide if I like or hate the cover…
    Audra (Unabridged Chick) recently posted…Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie DrayMy Profile

  11. Kayla Beck says:

    I am right there with you on this book. I feel like I need to read it again because I think I may’ve been expecting too much. (I loved Skylark so much that it made me Ugly Cry.) I really had almost no attachment to the characters, and I don’t think they were as developed as they could’ve been. *shrugs* As for the romance, I didn’t care much either. I’m not even going to start on the twisty bits. It got the stink-eye from me.

    Also, where the hell did the animals come from? According to the sciencey stuffs, they weren’t supposed to be there. Another reason why I’m thinking about reading it again because I’m so confused.
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Review: Daylighters by Rachel CaineMy Profile

  12. Ellis says:

    *rubs hands*

    Let’s do this. Even with all the hype for this novel, I’m really not interested in reading it so I read the spoiler and ugh. The ughest. The whole Titanic in space concept doesn’t speak to me at all. I like that her characterisation is consistent, though. I also like that she shuts down their flirtation in the beginning of the novel. Her father is a douche. I’m curious about how they’ll be handling the sequel. Maybe there’s a escape pod they didn’t know about. Dun dun duuuuun.
    Ellis recently posted…Review – Breaking the WrongMy Profile

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