Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published: Hyperion, 2013
Series: Starbound #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
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3.5 out of 5 stars (It was so close to 4 stars. So close.)
These Broken Stars tells the story of Lilac and Tarver, and their journey together when they get stranded on a mysterious planet. This book started out a little rocky, for me. I liked the first few pages – I liked Tarvers’ voice – but then he notices this girl (Lilac) across a room and it faltered. They are instantly attracted to each other… This is fine. But then Tarver says things like: “I knew I liked her for a reason.” They haven’t even met! Haven’t even spoken! He knows nothing about her. And then a bit later he says: “Still, the hell with it – I just can’t find it in me to care that I’m losing. I’ll surrender right now, if she likes.” At this point he is only having his first conversation with her. This just annoyed me, a little, and after I really liked the tone of the first few pages.
When Tarver learns who Lilac is and Lilac comes to believe that it was a mistake to engage in conversation with Tarver, as she is the daughter of Roderick LaRoux, their encounters with each other become rather frosty. It occurred to me during one part, that an element of the story reminded me of Titanic. Two people from different social classes drawn towards each other; a ship – this time a spaceship – that was supposed to be the best, that everyone thought was safe and would survive; everyone scrambling to get to escape pods. This just made me think of Titanic – this isn’t bad, just an observation.
But then it vastly improved. I grew to love these characters and was gripped by the mystery of this foreign planet. My ‘relationship’ with this book was a little like the path of Tarver and Lilacs’ relationship: started well, then not so well and gradually it improved and just got better and better.
It was nice seeing the character development. Lilac is a fish-out-of-water on this planet; she is so used to being competent and finds it unsettling not being completely in control and needing to be looked after so much. The bickering between her and Tarver is amusing at times. It was good to see Lilacs’ strong will and determination, but also to see some walls breaking down and for her to accept some help. She had strength before, but her journey on the planet really toughens her up – how could it not?
Tarver came to realise that there is more to a person than what you see on the outside and your family name. He had to learn that he might not always be able to rely on his military training and sometimes you just have to have a little faith. I like how he was determined to get home for his parents. It was sweet and endearing how he wrote poetry like his mum. Yay, for character development!
This book, for me, had its ups-and-downs in the beginning, but once it got past this, it was up, up, up from there.