Published: November 20th 2013 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
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 to 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 in this place 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.
The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
Beautiful, lyrical, and down-right heart-breaking, These Broken Stars grabs you and won’t let go. My advice: don’t pick it up as a quick read before bed-time. You, like me, will still be reading at 3am, uncaring that 9am Monday is fast approaching and you have to go to work.
These Broken Stars made me forget everything except for Tarver and Lilac. Their adventure is wonderfully planned out, managing to be both exhilarating and heart-warming all at once. After their ship drops out of hyperdrive and crashes onto an abandoned planet, Major Tarver Merendsen (middle class, worked his way up the ranks) and Lilac LaRoux, (heir to the greatest empire in the world, doesn’t know what work is), are forced to work together to survive. It would have been easy for Tarver and Lilac to be stereotypical, easy for their struggles to induce maximum eye-rollage, but Kaufman and Spooner make it work. When I was in Tarver’s head I could absolutely understand his instincts and impatience with Lilac, but when I was in Lilac’s head I appreciated that she knew no better and was trying her absolute best.
Their attraction is inevitable, but again, devoid of the usual clichés of YA romance. It’s slow, sweet, hesitant and, above all, realistic. There’s too much stacked against them for either to seriously consider it, but they find their eyes straying, their hearts pounding, their minds playing out hopeless fantasies. It’s riveting, incredibly powerful, and I loved every moment of it.
So much of the book is about the romance that I was surprised how much else the authors have packed into their book. The science-fiction element is brilliantly developed, slowly unfolding as we learn more about the planet the duo has crashed on. I loved the small details about the structure and construction of the ship, methods of terraforming, and hyper-dimensional travel. The effects of being forced out of hyperdrive were really interesting to me. The authors have a NASA astrophysicist reading their books and giving them feedback, which contributes to the realistic feel of their novel. Everything that happens in These Broken Stars is scientifically plausible 🙂
The action in the book isn’t about fighting and weapons and politics; it’s a long trek across a planet and waiting to be rescued. But it doesn’t fail to exhilarate – as I’ve said before, I didn’t want to put the book down! I think the appeal of this book is how human the story is: Kaufman and Spooner don’t need explosions and bullets to create tension because there’s so much of it encapsulated in Tarver and Lilac’s journey.
The prose in this novel is absolutely enchanting – it sweeps you into this amazing world and captures your imagination. I was merely 12 pages into These Broken Stars when I proclaimed it to be heartbreakingly beautiful, and I knew from the first page that I was going to love it – I was completely enraptured.
I think I’m going to call it: These Broken Stars is one of the best books I’ve read all year, and it’s all the more impressive because it’s Amie’s début. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, This Shattered World, which is set in the same world but will follow different characters. Forget everything you know about science fiction and young adult literature, and get your hands on this wonderful novel as soon as you can! I’ll be having a giveaway in December for Aussie readers as well 🙂