These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman ( web | tweet) and Meagan Spooner ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
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:
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.