Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: These Broken Stars

THESE BROKEN STARS
Starbound #1
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Young Adult/Sci-Fi
374 pages
Disney Hyperion
Available Now
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


MY THOUGHTS
These Broken Stars is a story that appears to move quietly despite the enormous tragedy responsible for Lilac and Tarver's presence on an unknown planet, but every footfall across the unfamiliar landscape seems to echo and grow louder until their journey reverberates through us, imprinting itself deeper onto our minds and hearts with every page. Aside from an intriguing mystery slowly unraveling thanks to two outstanding protagonists, the setup itself proves to be equally fascinating, the alternating perspectives of Lilac and Tarver interrupted with short dialogue snippets from what is clearly a post-rescue debriefing of Tarver. At first it seems as though these short detours might not be entirely necessary, but soon we come to see the level of intimacy they provide us as we watch Tarver expertly deflect some questions and outright lie as answer to others, all the while reveling in the knowledge that we're privy to what his interviewers so desperately want to know.

Lilac is a young women hard to define in the beginning, her moods and behavior shifting quickly from one moment to the next so that we never quite get a read on her, always dodging our attempts to connect to her with a level of skill borne of someone who's relentlessly pursued the art of how to isolate themselves from those around them. She's defiant out of spite when she and Tarver initially crash land, earning her negative opinion points when she ignores Tarver's clearly superior survival knowledge, yet as the story progresses she becomes not only a partner to him, but also a leader in her own right. She sheds the skin of the girl who pushes everyone's buttons to keep them at arm's length, leaving her behind in a torn heap of green fabric and pulling on the strength and determination of a fighter who doesn't know how to lose.

Tarver is much easier to relate to from the first chapter, clearly out of place amidst the elite on board the Icarus and rather brutally shot down by Lilac early on for daring not to recognize the face that goes with the infamous name. Once on the new planet he's calm and collected, the soldier with years of experience in the field asserting himself and ensuring he provides a sometimes-infuriating Lilac with the best chance of getting rescued. As Lilac grows throughout this first installment, so too does Tarver, some of his training melting away to show us the man beneath the military know-how; one with a heart that had previously only beat for a lost brother and the family he left behind, but now finds a new rhythm inspired by red hair, a quick wit, and an aptitude for all things electronic. He's strong when Lilac needs him to be, but he also has a gift for knowing when she needs to be one who feels in control, and the two of them together make a pair so beautifully perfect for one another we almost wish the rescue we know is coming would suddenly get lost en route and leave them to their striking solitude.

There are of course questions left unanswered in the end after all Tarver and Lilac uncover, but we do learn enough about the planet's secrets to satisfy us for the time being, leaving us content to wait for the next book rather than cursing the authors for their cruelty. Overall, These Broken Stars is a spectacular start to this series, expertly detailing both the individual growth of our two protagonists as well as their progression as a couple, and testing our emotional resiliency in the later chapters when rescue–though we know it to be inevitable given Tarver's debriefing–seems to lose all meaning, and hope is something we dare not feel for the loss of it would be a fate worse than death for two people we've come to love with rather impressive fierceness.

Rating: 4.5/5
 

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This book was given to me by the publisher at BEA free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

40 comments:

  1. It looks like I'm in a minority here because I dnfed this book today. The intergalactic world wasn't working for me, also lilac was very hard to like. But I can see from your review that she matured by the end. Oh well, maybe I'll give it another try sometime next year, but I don't have high hopes. Thanks for sharing, Jenny :)

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    1. Lilac is a little tricky in the beginning for sure, but when she starts fighting for Tarver rather than with him, I fell in love with her:) Sorry this one didn't work quite as well for you Aman!

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  2. I'm so glad to see that this book left such a great impression with you Jenny, unfortunately it did start off pretty well for me, but I found it super hard paying attention in the second half. I simply adored Tarver, but think I let Lilac bug me too much. Oh well! I hope that you enjoy the rest of the series too! Gorgeous review!

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    1. Tarver was super enjoyable wasn't he? Loved him:) Lilac was troublesome for me in the opening chapters, but I grew to love her!

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  3. So glad you liked this one. I've been seeing rave reviews all over. Tarver is such a cool name. I like that the author seems to balance giving us plenty of info with leaving us intrigued for the next book.

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    1. Yes, there's lots left unresolved, but I wasn't tearing my hair out at the end which was nice:) I just loved this one overall!

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  4. I'm reading this one right now and loving it so far! I'll come back and give your review a proper read when I'm done, but I'm so happy to see 4.5 stars from you! :-)

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    1. YAY!!! Can't wait to find out what you think Lauren!

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  5. I'm really surprised that people either love or hate this one. Glad that you were among the ones who love this pretty. Yay that you liked the characters :) I hope that the rest of your questions will be answered in the following books ;) Gorgeous review, Jenny!

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    1. That does seem to be the case :/ I loved the space setting and I thought the slowly evolving relationship between Lilac and Tarver was beautifully done, so this one was a winner for me!

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  6. I was kinda hoping that this would be a negative review so my anticipation for this would drop even for a tiniest bit. But dang another positive review! I know it's available now but I still need to read some books first before I get to this, but I really can't wait to read about these characters and it's so nice to know that there's no cliffhanger!

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    1. Haha sorry! I was a fan of this one:) I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it Chel!

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  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I fell in love with the world and characters in this story and didn't want to let go. I had such a great emotional attachment to them and just loved this book overall. Lovely review, dear!

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    1. YES! I was super emotionally attached to them both as well, I just wanted to hug the book when I was finished with it:)

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  8. Yay! I am so glad you liked this one too. I loved this book and Tarver is one of my favorites! I thought the setting was awesome and I definitely can't wait to continue with this series too. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. SO GOOD CHRISTINA! More Tarver, please:)

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  9. You and Kristen both liked this one. Makes me happy that I pre-ordered it for a friend of mine :) Yeah for gift giving out of my genre choice!

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    1. Oooo I hope your friend likes it. I thought it was fantastic:)

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  10. I've seen this book around, but haven't read much about it. Perhaps I'll have to pick this one up, especially with such a high rating. :)

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    1. It was just a really different read and I loved that about it. I don't read too much sci-fi, so that element was fascinating for me, and they weren't too heavy-handed with it so it was never overwhelming.

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  11. Alright this is the third wonderful review I have seen about this one. I had no plans to read it but now I really want to!

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    1. Woo hoo! Hope you give it a try Ali!

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  12. Seeing lots of rave reviews of this one today. I can't wait to read it and discover the characters and world for myself. It's been a long time since I read a really good scifi romance. I'm hoping to start this one soon! Beautiful review as always, Jenny!

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    1. I just adored this book Rummanah. The relationship was so perfect I thought, it just progresses beautifully:)

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  13. I really loved this book. Not only is the cover gorgeous (LOVE) but the characters and setting and, well, everything. Both the MCs had such great, unique voices. And that ending! Wow. So intrigued...what's gonna happen next, Jenny? WHAT?!?

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    1. YEAH MARY!!!! I'm ready to find out what comes next too. *stares at calendar* Why isn't it release day for book 2 yet?

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  14. This sounds wonderful and I cannot wait to read it. My eARC was funky but I will be buying the finished copy.

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  15. I struggled with Lilac and liked Tarver at the beginning too, but when they started exploring the planet, they switched places for me! Suddenly he was the one I had problems with, and she was the one I wanted to protect. I felt emotionally manipulated by the authors and in the best possible way.
    Everything about this book worked for me and I can't wait for the companion novel. I wonder who'll be the protagonist.
    Such a wonderful review, Jenny!

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  16. I think the authors intentionally had us struggle with Lilac at the beginning. She is definitely a piece of work, however I loved watching her grow and change. I was blown away by this one, I was expecting a mediocre read under the pretty cover and I am sure glad I was wrong. I have my review posting tomorrow!

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  17. Oh wow! These characters sound so good. There is growth and I do love that in characters. The plot also sounds like it really takes you on a journey with Lilac and Tarver. Oh I'm so glad this book is more than a great title! :)

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  18. I just got this one a little over a week ago and it was perfect timing because all these reviews have me DYING to pick it up! I'm hoping I can manage to squeeze it in here...

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  19. Lol, I actually liked Lilac more than Tarver early on. I really wasn't expecting this one to be as good as it turned out. Glad you loved it too, Jenny!

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  20. YES yes YES!!! How awesome was that right?? I also was confused in the beginning about Tarvers interrogations but then they made totally sense and were a nice way to tease us more!

    Loved loved loved these two together - they were fantastic.

    I'm just confused about the ending, because as far as I know the next book will feature a different couple?!?!?!??!

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  21. YAY! I LOVED this book! Wasn't it just awesome! I can not wait to read the next book!

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  22. Tarver *fans self* - If I had to be stuck on a deserted planet with anyone, I'd for sure pick him! I agree, he was easy to root for right from the start, and it did take me some time to warm up to Lilac, but in the end I loved her as well. This book is quiet despite the big things that happen, and I really liked that about it. Glad this was a good read for you! I can't wait to find out more about this world too. Hopefully the next planet we visit will be inhabited!

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  23. EEP! I can't wait to read this book, Jenny! I've heard it's kind of quiet and slow to build, but there's an eerie stillness to their writing that seems hypnotic. Awesome review!

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  24. Your review deserves a happy sigh! As much as These Broken Stars, which I loved loved loved. It's among my three favourite books of 2013 and I'm so happy Meagan and Amie became author friends who decided to write a book together. The last few chapters were so hard to read, I was an emotional wreck. I'm looking forward to TBS2. Thanks for your awesome review. Hope many people will pick up TBS!

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  25. Beautiful review, Jenny! I really enjoyed this one too and am definitely looking forward to the sequel. I agree that Tarver was easier to connect with from the start, but I really grew to warm to both characters by the end. Their relationship made this book for me. :)

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