ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – A classical otherworldly romance

December 2, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – A classical otherworldly romanceThese Broken Stars by Amie KaufmanMeagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Allen & Unwin on November 20, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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 to 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 in this place 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. The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

I came into These Broken Stars thinking it was going to be a sci-fi story, but instead it was a classic romance, with a heavy survival focus.

Tarver and Lilac first meet on a ship called the Icarus, where he’s drawn to her sharpness and good looks and she’s bemused by his lack of knowledge about who she is. Tarver is a celebrated soldier while Lilac is the daughter of the most powerful and richest man in the galaxy, and they hold disdain for each other. Inevitably, the ship falls and the two manage to escape – onto an unknown planet with no living beings in sight. The two must use the combination of their skills to become rescued, while coping with the added complication of hallucinations and voices in their head.

Tarver and Lilac crashing onto an unknown planet from an escape pod reminded me of one of my favourite childhood point and click games – Space Quest! Space Quest is about exploring a strange, alien planet, doing anything for survival and stumbling upon the planet’s strange inhabitants. These Broken Stars certainly included these elements, along with a well paced romance between a hardened soldier and a rich and powerful society girl.

The romance here is one of the best I’ve read in a while as it develops over the course of the novel. It starts off with antagonistic banter, which slowly develops into co-dependence, and then finally the romance. Lilac at the start is a bratty princess in an impractical dress and heels and slowly transforms into a caring, useful scavenger, while Tarver treats Lilac like she’s just slowing him down but warms to ‘the real Lilac’ as she drops her mask over time. Seeing their instant attraction, wariness, and romantic feelings finally being developed was really enjoyable, just like a classical romance where many YA novels miss the mark.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Tarver and Lilac, Tarver with his expertise in surviving in the wilderness and Lilac with her knowledge and tinkering of electronics. On a planet that is harsh and barren, where their only means of returning home is through using a crashed vehicle’s emergency relay, the mixture of their skills were complimentary.

Not many skills developed in the world of society, of balls and dresses and intrigue, apply out here in the wild, with this man I would’ve never known but for this strange twist of fate. – Lilac

The mystery element satisfied my inner sci-fi geek. Lilac beings hearing strange voices and seeing hallucinations, which extends to Tarver later in the book. The planet that they’ve landed on holds a dark secret, and the origin to it was really fascinating. There is a HUGE twist halfway through the novel that is shocking and you’d never see coming, even now I am still stunned by it.

While the book didn’t quite deliver the heavy sci-fi I was looking for, These Broken Stars is a wonderful survival romance story that has a timeless quality about it. The character development and the romance is a highlight delivered with beautiful, lyrical writing which made the whole novel a pleasure to read. Just check out this sentence:

The morning dawned clear and promising, and I had let myself hope a little that the ascent wouldn’t be as bad as I had anticipated. Streams of snowmelt run down the mountainside, and though they’re gut-achingly cold, I never lack somewhere to fill the canteen. – Tarver

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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44 responses to “ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – A classical otherworldly romance

  1. I know that this comment is really late but I am curious to see how many stars you gave this book because I just bought it today and I am planning to read it ASAP. I am so happy that you gave a 4.5 star rating. At least I am not so worried about getting disappointed by this one.

    And I am sorry, I have to skim through your review. I might get spoiled. But really I am so happy that you love this one. *clap clap clap*

  2. Hurray! I'm so glad you liked this as much as I did Jeann! I agree with you on everything 100%! I agree 100% with everything you’ve said – the romance was – without a doubt – PHENOMENAL, and that the writing was out of this world, and the characters were flawless. I'm so excited for Book Two! 🙂 As always, brilliant review! 🙂
    Zoe N. recently posted…The ProgramMy Profile

  3. I am so glad you reviewed this one because I was really curious about your thoughts. Gah, I am in love with those quotes you chose-perfect for getting people interested 😉 Romances that start off with some tension are the best kind, I can't wait to pick this one up!
    Alise recently posted…Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  4. Wheeee, you loved it as well! I do agree that it's not really heavy on sci-fi and more like a survivalist account, but I thought it was able to capture that loneliness in a planet all by yourself pretty well. For some reason, the narration just makes the surroundings and the journey very alive and vivid despite the barrenness. Haha. Awesome review!

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  5. I just finished this one this past weekend and I loved it, too! I had to push myself through it though b/c of the slowness of the beginning but it was everyone's reviews that spurred me on! I'm so glad I did or I would have missed the wonderfullness you speak of!!!!!!! AWESOME review!!! This was such a "classic" tale and I love sci-fi, too!!!
    Kristin @ My ParaHan recently posted…Release Day Review: A Cursed Moon by Cecy RobsonMy Profile

  6. I'm so excited for this book! I pre-ordered it so I only have a few more days left to wait. I have heard a lot of great things about this book and hearing that the romance is one of the best you've read in a while, make me even more excited!

  7. Awesome review! I really enjoyed this one too and I agree the dynamic between Tarver and Lilac wast he best part and made it so compelling. I loved the survivalist story and the whole bizarre visions thing gave the book just the right amount of creepy suspense! I agree it wasn't very sci fi but I was actually happy about tat >.< Glad you liked it too! 🙂

  8. *bangs head repeatedly on desk* Gads, this is an awesome review and the romance one of the best you've read? I was given an eARC of this from netgalley and it is wonky, paragraphs and sentences are out of order and I re-downloaded it, tried to convert it,.,and still screwy. boo Looks like I will need to grab a copy!
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  9. I don't think I've seen a single bad review for this book, and though I've hesitated to read it, you'd better believe I'm excited now. I think that the characters and relationships sound like they really take center stage, so as long as I'm prepared for the sci-fi to take the backburner, I think I might love it! Wonderful review 🙂

  10. I thought it was just aaaaamzing! (I still can't believe how much I adored it!) I thought it'd have more sci-fi things in it…though maybe it's just as well it was more romance based, because I'm not very scientifically minded (proof by just saying "sci-fi things". Erm….) And I loved the banter. They were SUCH a good couple. Especially since Lilac didn't have to play the pathetic girl who couldn't do anything. She rocked basically.

    • I really enjoyed it too, and like you, thought it would be mostly sci-fi but it wasn't and I still thought it was amazing. Lilac was awesome, I thought she was going to be that girl but she wasn't. Think everyone will be enjoying this book!