Sunday, December 15, 2013

12 Days of Review-Mas: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner


Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Age: Young Adult
Series: Starbound #1
Interest: Space/Beautiful Cover
Source: NetGalley

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. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

I'm not sure what to say about These Broken Stars. When picking it up, I expected this Titanic Space Opera with fair amounts of romance and intrigue. I did get that a little bit, but there was so much more to the story than I anticipated.

The main reason I loved (and was a little confused by) These Broken Stars was that the book couldn't exactly decide what it wanted to be. It went on an evolutionary journey along with the characters, which was fascinating but could become a bit strange too. The novel basically has four sections. When on the ship, everything is decadent and prim and proper. It feels like the beginning of a historical novel with all of the pomp and circumstance. Off the ship, when survival mode is the top priority, the book takes a turn into more modern territory. It becomes a survival story. Then, in the middle of the survival plot, it dips into (what I thought was) paranormal for a little bit before returning to survival. The last, and my most favorite, section turns into a story about romance and loss, but still goes full speed ahead into more sci-fi. It's difficult to explain, but somehow made the book work more for me.

No matter what These Broken Stars "felt" like at the moment, Kaufman and Spooner's writing was wonderful. It had an understated poetry I loved so much. Don't worry, there's no purple prose to be found. But there were these little descriptors of Lilac's emotions or Tarver thinking of how she smiled that reminded me of everyday poetry. Their writing took me completely by surprise in how much it made me feel for the characters. Since it was a sci-fi novel, I expected to maybe like the characters, but not become overly attached. Nope, did not happen that way. I was full on bawling during some of the scenes. I had no clue I felt so strongly about Lilac and Tarver until I couldn't see my Kindle's screen from all the tears.(If you've read the book, you know exactly when I began losing it.)

I also have to applaud Kaufman and Spooner for making such a realistic sci-fi world. There was only one or two points I wanted to stop suspending disbelief. Even then, the plots and circumstances flowed together so nicely I didn't mind too much. In the end wanted to know much more about Lilac and Tarver's world and how it operated than was revealed.

My only major complaint for the entire novel is that it can drag a bit. Because of the shifting points of view, the mysteries surrounding the character's circumstances and the novel's "sections" I spoke about, the book can seem a little long. However, it is totally worth the read in the end and I encourage every reader to keep trying to make it through.

I've mentioned a little about Tarver and Lilac, but haven't really gone into their characters. I adored both character's development. I could see them changing as the story went forward, but none of it felt forced. The only thing that bugged me about them was the constant bickering in the beginning. I wanted to set them into their own corners and make them cool off about every five minutes. I was thrilled when the constant jabs stopped coming. I can only take so many petty fights before wanting to snap. Lilac of course, underwent the largest transformation, going from a pampered beauty to roughing it on an unidentified planet. As mentioned before, she annoyed me in the beginning with her confrontational attitude, but I softened toward her pretty quickly when she stopped living on pretense and acting like a diva. Tarver underwent a more subtle transformation involving faith and emotion, but I was still proud of the strides he made.

Overall, These Broken Stars is an amazing read for any sci-fi or fantasy lover. This book has it all. Action, romance, decadence and survival. It's so much more than it seems. Once again, I encourage everyone to read it all the way through because it is worth it. I'm a little nervous about the sequel though. These Broken Stars ended so well. It had the right amount of loose and tied ends. I'm not sure if I could stand to see everything fall apart for these characters again. I guess I'll just have to see.

Teaser Lines: For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it's gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that's left is us.

.5

Happy Reading,

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