Tuesday, April 29, 2014

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

The first book in the Starbound Trilogy, These Broken Stars tells the story of Lilac LaRoux, a debutante heiress to the largest fortune in the universe, and Tarver Merendsen, a war hero with nothing to his name. Both are passengers on a luxury spaceship when catastrophe strikes and the ship is pulled out of orbit unexpectedly. Stuck in the same escape pod, Lilac and Tarver find themselves stranded on a seemingly-abandoned planet with nothing but each other to rely on.

These Broken Stars is filled with vivid imagery, told in the alternating perspectives of Lilac and Tarver. The chapters are interspersed with glimpses into the future, where Tarver is being questioned by an unknown individual regarding his time on the planet with Lilac.

Lilac plays the role of useless debutante almost to a T from the very beginning. While it is clear that she is an intelligent person, her real world inexperience, or rather her lack thereof, is a hindrance to their attempts to survive on the foreign planet. She whines a lot, and at times you almost wish Tarver would just leave her behind. Luckily, her whining and incompetence subside eventually and you are left with a person whose strength is allowed to shine and who is willing to make hard choices to help someone else survive.

Tarver, on the other hand, is practically made for this type of catastrophe. His ability to cajole Lilac into compliance, and wheedle her into doing what is necessary is unparalleled. His past as a soldier is an invaluable tool in their arsenal and is undeniably the driving force behind their survival.

The storyline is solid, though it admittedly did drag in a few spots. Science Fiction for young adults has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent months, and These Broken Stars is a great place to start for new readers of the genre. There is plenty of romance mixed in with a heaping dash of mystery and a smidge of action. It doesn't focus on the technical aspect of science fiction that have so many readers wary of the genre, and the alternating perspectives keep the story from getting too stale. Starbound is a companion trilogy, so These Broken Stars is self-contained, though it is almost guaranteed that you will want more of Tarver and Lilac once you reach the end. All in all, it is a fairly fast-paced romp and the romance will not disappoint.

The sequel, This Shattered World, is due out in hardcover November 11, 2014.

4 Stars 
Similar Books: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

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