Review: “These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken StarsA review by Danielle.

The Icarus, a luxury space cruise liner, is suddenly pulled out of hyperspace by a strange planet’s orbit. The only two survivors (it seems) are Lilac LaRoux, daughter of the richest man in the universe, and Major Tarver Merendsen, a war hero on leave to hob knob with the galaxies most elite. The two teens from completely different worlds must now rely on each other to find a way off this bizarre planet. After Lilac starts hearing voices and having visions, they begin to wonder if the planet on which they have crashed on is really so desolate and uninhabited. When Tarver begins to seeing the visions too, they realize that there are other forces at work on this planet; and it seems the forces are trying to tell them something.

As Lilac and Tarver bushwhack their way farther and farther into the forest, they encounter horrifying creatures that should not exist at all. Every terraformed planet is predator free; the corporations forming the planets make sure of it. After several close calls, endless sleepless nights, and no one to rely on but each other, Lilac and Tarver find a love deeper than either has ever experienced before. For the first time since they crashed, the star crossed lovers each secretly begin to question whether they really want to be rescued and go back to the real world where their vast differences in class will most certainly keep them apart. As Tarver and Lilac finally make it to an outpost (long abandoned, thanks to mysterious visions leading the way), they discover a sinister secret that hits too close to home for Lilac’s comfort. If the young lovers ever want to get off of this planet and return home to safety, they must find a way to send a signal to the rescue ships that are scouring the galaxy, looking for Lilac. That is, if they are still able to leave the planet.

Aside from the authors’ blatant rip off of Titanic, complete with the main character as a little redheaded rich girl who has the love of a wonderful but poor boy who will never be good enough, (and the fact that every rich person in the future decides to dress and act like a turn-of-the-century Victorian novel). This is a good book that kept me guessing throughout each chapter. A common theme in young adult books is to toggle between character perspectives and this book is no exception. The view point switches between Lilac and Major Tarver at a dizzying rate. After the Icarus crashes, it completely travels in a new direction with vivid description of the alien planet, and the strange creatures who have incredibly spooky powers. What are those creatures? Are they ghosts? Are they friendly? What is it they want? Is Lilac going insane? These questions played on an endless loop in my head for two days straight until I finished the book.

One major point I disliked about These Broken Stars are the characters’ ages. Lilac is just 16 and Tarver comes in at a respective 18, and yet the story reads like they are both in their late 20’s, with Lilac having an impressive understanding of both electrical wiring of a spaceship and hyperspace intergalactic travel. Tarver is just 18 but has managed to become a major in the military thanks to his track record in the field. Frankly, their age is too big of a reach on Kauffman and Spooner’s part. Other than that, I truly enjoyed how much this book kept me guessing and would recommend it to anyone looking to be enthralled with a sci-fi romance.

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