Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Summary (from Goodreads)
Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
I still don’t read enough YA sci-fi. I don’t really know why, especially when what’s out there is as good as this was.
At it’s heart, this was a romance between two people who couldn’t be together – separated by social standing, personal traumas and misunderstandings. But there were some pretty neat sci-fi concepts decorating the old ‘star-crossed lovers’ trope.
The concept of the Icarus – a ship that has always existed in the vacuum of space, never coming into any planet’s atmosphere – was a clever one, both because it feels realistic and because it allows for the spectacular destruction of the ship when it crashes, making the set up of Lilac and Tarver being the only survivors out of 50,000 passengers feel more plausible too.
In fact, the science throughout is pretty good. I don’t know how realistic it is – I’m not a physicist – but it feels plausible, and really for a story that isn’t meant to be hard sci-fi, that’s all that really matters. It elevates the story, rather than becoming a distraction.
There are some definite horror elements too – which I appreciate, because all the best films about space have some horror element (Alien, Sunshine etc.) Space is a terrifying thing, and it should be a little bit scary at times. The sequence where Lilac starts hearing voices made a bit of a shiver go down my spine – and made me keep turning the pages, because I had to know what was going on.
I really liked Lilac and Tarver as characters too – they were very different, but had enough similarities in their history that the attraction and connection between them felt believable. I love the stuck up rich girl gets tough routine, and Tarver using his soldier techniques to keep her motivated – there was a real journey towards each other that made the eventual romance all the more satisfying.
I’ve seen that the next book in this trilogy features different characters. While a part of me is a little disappointed that I won’t be spending much time with Lilac and Tarver again, I like that the authors have been brave enough to do this. These Broken Stars left the story of Tarver and Lilac at a point where they didn’t really have anywhere else to go (not in a bad way) and to spend more time with them would be indulgence rather than plot necessity. I enjoyed this so much, I would be happy to spend more time in the world, and trust the authors to deliver a great story with great characters, even if they aren’t the ones I’ve already grown fond of.
So, if you like YA Sci-fi, definitely pick this one up – it was a brilliant read and kept me up quite late at night as I raced through to the end. Really compulsive and engrossing.