Estelle: These Broken Stars by Kaufman + Spooner Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman ( web | tweet) and Meagan Spooner ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 374
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: journey, survival, space, romance
Format read: Paperback ARC borrowed from Rachel. (Thanks!)

Summary: When the big ship in the sky, Icarus, crashes, Tarver and Lilac seem to be the only two survivors. As the days after the crash continue, the two must work together to get to the ship if they have any hope of being rescued.

I know everyone is comparing this book to Titanic. I get it. I totally do. But did anyone else think of Wall-E, and the big ship in the sky that all the humans have escaped to? (The roll-y humans who can’t even stand on their own?) Here’s a picture for reference:

Wall E Axiom

Anyway! I’m not much of a science fiction reader. Pretty much at all. But after reading countless reviews stuffed with high praise for this book and being constantly distracted by the beauty of this book cover, I decided to give it a whirl and I’m really happy that I did.

I did a lot of repeating while I read this (like hyperspace, pod, terra-forming.) I was nervous I just wouldn’t “get it”. (I would imagine this is a common fear when we are not comfortable with certain genres.) While my whole reading experienced started a little slow, when I finally had a good chunk of time to dedicate to this book, I was super swept up and couldn’t put it down until I reached the ending.

Tarver and Lilac. These two have some great bantering moments. They both come from totally different backgrounds: Lilac is a rich kid with a daddy who built the Icarus and Tarver is a soldier who, despite being the recipient of a lot of praise lately, is still from just a regular family in the country. The dual POV worked so well here because we were able to learn more details about each of their childhoods and also get a clue into what they thought of the other. Tarver had been instantly taken with Lilac when he first saw her on the Icarus and Lilac with him but when classes and expectations got in the way, she totally turned him off with her haughty attitude. So OF COURSE the two are stranded together and must somehow overcome their differences to survive this horrible crash.

I honestly thought they would kill each other. But you know, when you are stuck with one person for a number of days, it’s probably better to make the most of it. And slowly but surely, they do. Nothing about their affection for each other is instantaneous and I really liked watching them learn to trust each other and form some kind of lasting bond. Even though they were both fearful for the future and what getting closer could mean for them, the pacing of their romance felt natural and was super well done.

And then I got to THE PART.  My confidence in my sci-fi reading experience completely waned here, and I felt myself grasping for meaning and not understanding where the story was going. I’m not sure I understand this choice unless it will somehow influence the upcoming books in the trilogy but it did make me deeply feel the connection Tarver and Lilac had and also how utterly lonely this journey was for both of them.

So basically I’ve learned this: a strong, beautifully written story with lively characters can make me comfortable and interested in any genre. I have no idea what to expect from the rest of the Starbound series but I will definitely be picking them up.

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12 thoughts on “Estelle: These Broken Stars by Kaufman + Spooner

  1. Alice says:

    Brilliant review Estelle! I’m glad you decided to pick this one up despite it not being your normal genre. That’s what the book community is for! To push the books we wouldn’t normally grab into our hands! 😉

    As I haven’t read the book yet, but if you adored it, and you’re not normally a sci-fi reader, I know I will most likely enjoy it too. And that cover. GAH.

  2. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook says:

    Science fiction isn’t usually my thing either, Estelle. Although I have fallen MADLY in love with The Lunar Chronicles. But that’s pretty much the exception, and truthfully, The Lunar Chronicles aren’t too heavily science fiction.

    But, I’ve been really interested in These Broken Stars. Like you said, I’ve heard such great thingsa bout it, and also – pretty cover!

    I’m glad you liked it, even if this isn’t your typical genre. It makes me more comfortable giving it a try.

  3. Jessica says:

    Hey Estelle,
    I was conflicted with this book. It started out as a cool science fiction book then progressed to a survivor-esque romance and then back to weird sci-fi. I don’t think I have yet to figure it out. I was compelled to read it though.

    I highly recommend the Lunar Chronicles as does Quinn in the above comments. It is spectacular.


  4. Meg says:

    That cover is magnificent, isn’t it? Totally draws me in every time. I’ve had this one on my radar for quite a while after enjoying similar stories (the titles of which escape me . . .), and I’ll probably give it a try sometime soon!

  5. Kelly says:

    If the PART is the part I’m thinking of, I would love more explanation for it too! I’ve got some many ethical and philosophical questions left either completely untouched or unsatisfactorily mentioned, that I would love to see explored, and then there’s wondering about why it was included, unless it somehow affects the next book(s)?

    Anyways, so glad you enjoyed something out of your comfort zone Estelle! I really loved this one, mostly because Lilac and Tarver were so fantastic!

  6. Alexa says:

    I really did try to like this story but I just didn’t love it in the way that everyone else loved it. I felt there was too many times where the authors repeated the same thing over and over again as if the reader wouldn’t catch on the first time about terra-forming a planet. I got a little sick of the repeats but it did get better with time. I’m interested to read the second book but it is about different people so now that I finally liked these characters they are going to become secondary.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book though! Thanks for the great review!

  7. Jamie says:

    YAY! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one knowing you don’t read this genre much! I did think you might dig it because for a good chunk of it it was more of a survival story rather than hardcore sci-fi (something I don’t really read either…EEEP. SOME DAY MAYBE).

    I felt the same way re: that part! I was like waiiiiit what what why?

    I like what you said about not knowing where the rest of the series will go because that’s so true…I really can’t even speculate which is kind of cool because I feel like so often I can really kind of guess!

  8. Alexa S. says:

    I’m sincerely happy that you enjoyed THESE BROKEN STARS! It’s definitely a beautifully written tale, and I loved the way that Meagan and Amie told Tarver and Lilac’s story. Even though I’m still not convinced by that one big (it really just makes me confused), I’m definitely invested in this series. Super excited for the next one!

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