Saturday, January 4, 2014

REVIEW: THESE BROKEN STARS (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound, #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Romance
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5


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.


Sometimes it happens that I get bitten by the hype monster. Once in a while the hype monster disappoints (case in point, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”), but most of the time, it leads me to a book I love so much, I want to shout from the highest mountains for everyone to read it! Yes, my friends, today I want to shout from the mountains that These Broken Stars is the one book you just have to add to the top of your reading list…like in yesterday already!

The first time I saw this book, I was won over by the gorgeous cover, but the synopsis indicating that this is a love story in space, made me go “meh”. I’m not one for romance, okay? Much less romance in space. But following all my favorite blogs via email, I noticed one after the other five-star review for this book and I thought to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Then I also thought that if my favorite reviewers enjoy it, it can’t be that bad. So I set out to get myself a copy of this much-talked-about book and I jumped right in. And you know what? All those five-star reviews? They were spot-on. I was completely blown away by this romance and now I want you, yes YOU, to read it. No, no, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care if you like romance or sci-fi or not. You HAVE to read this book! You’ll never be able to tell it was written by two authors on complete opposite sides of the world. Folks, this book is simply phenomenal.

One reviewer compared this book to Titanic. Wait, before you roll your eyes. I’ll agree that in some ways it did remind me of the Titanic movie, but it’s also a completely original and extraordinary story all on its own. You’ll just love Lilac and Tarver! I did.

The bandages look clean. “Did you wrap my hand up?”
“Mmm. You didn’t like it much. You have the foulest mouth I’ve ever encountered, Major. I didn’t even recognize half the languages you can swear in. I’m glad I’m not one of your soldiers. Still, it was rather educational.”

Lilac took a while longer to grow on me than Tarver did, but once she showed me what she was made of, this girl turned out to be precisely the type of female lead I wish to see more of in YA and romance novels. She’s tough, but gracefully and femininely so.  

Crash-landed on an unknown planet, a black eye on the way, and the contents of her stomach now in the underseat storage locker, and she still feels the need to act like she’s above it all.

At first it was easy to believe that Lilac is a spoilt, na├»ve heiress. But once disaster strikes and the Icarus is headed for certain doom (and I don’t say this lightly), we get to see that Lilac is nothing like what we’ve seen of her so far. And as the story progresses, so much more of her character is revealed and I liked her more and more. I pretty much fell in love with Tarver right from the start. He’s a gentleman and war hero who hasn’t let fame gone to his head. Lilac and Tarver are literally from different worlds and different backgrounds, and like Romeo and Juliet they can never be together. But then tragedy strikes and they both end up being the only survivors on an abandoned planet. Or, at least, they think they’re the only ones on the planet. So, now you have this spoiled socialite and an experienced soldier - two people who can’t stand each other - stranded on a strange planet with only each other for company, and who have to rely on each other for their survival. You can only imagine the laughs that could possibly ensue with the pairing of two such different characters.

It’s only through an exhausting combination of frequent rests and liberal insults that we make it through the next few hours. I could tell myself that I’m doing it because she’ll get back to her feet just to spite me-but the truth is, I really just want to piss her off.

After they crash-landed, these two hardly get along. And because this is quite a lengthy read, we get to spend some time with Lilac and Tarver in their quest for survival trying to make it to the fallen Icarus in hopes of finding other survivors. And as the days pass, we get to know them more and more.

This stupid, arrogant boy. How old is he? He can’t be more than a couple of years older than me, yet he acts like he’s got a lifetime of experience just because he liberated one tiny outpost once. A one-trick pony with a chest full of medals.

Layers are being peeled away as Major Merendsen and Ms LaRoux gradually fall in love. And that was the selling point for me: the gradual romance. There were no pages and chapters going on and on about how these two lust after each other or how hot the one thinks the other one is. No. They delve deeper into each others’ characters, and that’s how they eventually fall in love.

But simply a love-story this is not. This is a balanced, superbly plotted, well-rounded tale of survival, discovery, tragedy, compassion, and mystery with a hefty amount of heartwarming feels at its core. It’s not just Tarver and Lilac falling in love, but the reader falling for and rooting for these two beautiful, wonderful, far-from-perfect characters. Don’t go telling me that sci-fi is not your genre of choice. There is no Star Trek-ish or Scotty-beam-me-up elements in this novel. It’s just two people trying to survive in a world somewhat different to our own. And geez, are they put through the mill! For those readers who appreciate a few good twists and a memorable tearjerker, I can assure you there are a couple of mammoth twists and a good gut-wrenching-sobs cry hiding behind this stunning cover. Oh, and another few tears right at the end for good measure.

After finishing These Broken Stars I understood without a smidgen of doubt why others are writing such lengthy gushing reviews for this book. I just feel like going on and on and on about this masterpiece! Honestly, I finished it in one day. I read until my vision blurred and still I couldn’t put it down. No mushy romance, no content that needs an age restriction. Just a slow developing breathtaking tale of love and endurance in a time far into the future, but with none of the alien elements that would alienate (see what I did there?) non sci-fi readers such as myself from reading this amazing book. Just do me a favor…no, do yourself a favor and add These Broken Stars to your reading list asap!


These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner has 739 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



I'm a young adult author from Melbourne, Australia, represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. I write fantasy, science fiction and all things speculative.

My favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, my dog Jack, gardening, plotting and executing overseas travel, napping, my music collection and reading. Also my husband.

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Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

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Richa said...

LOVE your review of this! I adored this book and I totally agree with everything you said. I wasn't too keen on it before reading either, but after? It became one of my top favourite 2013 reads. I loved the gradual romance too, and Tarver and Lilac are such strong protagonists. I'm quite excited for the companion novel :)

Richa @ City of Books

Books 4 Tomorrow said...

Thank you, Richa! it's so great to know there are others out there who loved this book as much as I did! I joined your blog and am following you with Bloglovin', GFC and email. You have a gorgeous blog!! Thanks for commenting.