Book Review: These Broken Stars


Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published: Hyperion, 2013
Pages: 374
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.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it and if you haven’t read it, do you want to?


10 thoughts on “Book Review: These Broken Stars

  1. This book was definitely a pleasant surprise! I went into it with mixed feelings because I SO wanted a good sci-fi read that didn’t get bogged down by the romance, but what I got was an amazing science-fiction book with really good romance as well. I read it a while ago though, so I can’t remember the finer details, but lol, I actually remember Tarver not liking Lilac much in the beginning! But maybe that was just in the ARC copy… 😛

    The characters were SO well developed! It was amazing how I grew to love them more and more as the story progressed, too — it was a huge reason why the romance worked so well, I think. I grew so attached to the characters that I think I teared up at the end, when you-know-what happened. And that was a pretty unbelievable feat, since I don’t cry easily, haha.

    So glad you liked this, Chantelle! Are you planning to read the sequel? It doesn’t have the same cast of characters (boooo, I’m gonna miss Tarver and Lilac), but apparently the both of them get some page time too. Not much, though. 😦 Anyways, awesome review!


    1. I wanted to love it more in the beginning, but I don’t know…I just couldn’t. I’m glad you loved it so much! Yes, I agree: it’s good to read a book where there is a balance and the romance doesn’t consume the whole story.

      I was shocked at the you-know-what moment and was thinking, No. This cannot be permanent! I am planning on reading the sequel at some point, but I’m not really looking forward to it that much because Lilac and Tarver aren’t the main characters – I hate it when this happens in a series! I want more of the characters I have come to love!

      Thanks, Megan! 🙂


  2. I did quite like this one. Okay, fine: I LOVED IT. I wasn’t expecting it to be so survival orientated, though?! But I still absolutely fell in love with Lilac and Tarver. FJASDKL to shipping them. :’) I didn’t love the sequel as much though, weirdly enough, but I’m SUPER excited for the third. Are you going to keep reading this series?
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!


    1. Lol, I’m glad you loved it! I suppose I also quite liked the survival aspect of it – maybe this is why I like The Maze Runner so much. Survival aspect?

      I will keep reading them, but I don’t know when I will get round to them.


  3. I do want to try this one because I like, I mean love, the cover most of all ❤ But it does sound like a nice romance story. Not like anything amazing, but a pretty enjoyable one. And seeing as I am someone who did like the majority of the Titanic, I think this might be well suited to me. Great review!


    1. I suppose it depends what you like. It has sci-fi elements, a slow burning romance and involves a survival story on a foreign mysterious planet – if these interest you, then you may just like it.

      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂


  4. I was actually really scared about reading this book for THE LONGEST TIME, but when I actually sat down and read it … I read it in one day. I didn’t even move from my position on the couch. I just devoured this book.

    When it was released, it was actually promoted as a sci-fi version of TITANIC, so I think it’s interesting that you draw those conclusions, anyway! 😀 I loved that whole aspect of this book, because TITANIC is one of my favourite movies.

    My favourite aspect of this is the relationship between Lilac and Tarver, and how it changes over time. It just had all the aspects of a romantic relationship that I love to see in books. I was super sad to learn that the sequels weren’t going to be about those two. Even so, THIS SHATTERED WORLD was pretty good. I hope you enjoy it if you get around to reading it, Chantelle!


    1. It’s so great when you find a book that you just can’t put down. I love those kinds of books, but it does mean that I don’t get much else done.

      I didn’t know it was advertised as being like Titanic – they weren’t lying then, lol.

      It was nice to see that their relationship was a bit of a slow burn – after it turned frosty between them. All the insta-love that sometimes happens annoys me.

      Yeah, I’ve heard the next book doesn’t really feature Lilac and Tarver – I don’t really like it when this happens with series. I want more of the characters I came to love!

      Thanks so much for commenting, Chiara! 🙂


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