ARC Review: THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

ARC Review: THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
These Broken Stars
Starbound #1

Written by: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Release date: December 10th 2013
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

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.


A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.


These Broken Stars is one of the most talked-about new releases of 2013, and for darn good reason. It’s been described a lot as “Titanic in space”, which is true to a point – except the crash happens very early in the book, and Rose and Jack–I mean, Lilac and Tarver–aren’t separated by the crash, but rather, they’re brought together by it.

In These Broken Stars, Lilac and Tarver — a war hero with a humble background, and the only daughter of the richest man in the known universe — meet on the voyage, and there is definitely a draw between them when they first meet on the ship. The two recognize in each other a sort of kindred spirit, despite their vastly different upbringings. However, Lilac is forced to brush Tarver off in a very unfortunate way, and the two are forced to part ways.

But it’s the Icarus‘s crash that ends up stranding them together and bringing them closer.

Right from the beginning, Tarver completely had my heart. His narrative voice is fantastic. He’s stoic, subtly snarky, and though he might have a tough exterior, above all you can tell that he is a good person. Since this is sort of a stranded-on-a-desert-island, fight-for-survival kind of story, I was halfway expecting Tarver to be more disparaging toward Lilac once they crashed. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. Tarver’s realization of Lilac’s strengths (despite his doubts about her character, thanks to her professed reasons for brushing off his advances on the ship) came way earlier than expected, almost from the very beginning when he notices how she’s smarter than he assumed she would be, and that she’s tough in her own way. It’s not Lilac’s “helplessness” that causes much conflict, but rather their clashing personalities as they both struggle to survive on this unfamiliar planet.

Lilac is a character that I wasn’t really expecting to like, based just on the blurb. But from the very beginning, I recognized something in her that I really liked. She immediately proved that she’s more than one would expect from her privileged upbringing, even while on the ship. And when they’re finally stranded, she doesn’t complain, and doesn’t expect Tarver to do absolutely everything for her. She’s tough and resilient. She’s not unexpectedly awesome at surviving in the wilderness (in fact she kind of sucks at it), but she shows strength and stubbornness and a ferocity that I really really liked.

And Lilac and Tarver together… Okay, yeah, I guess technically it’s insta-love, if you’re judging by the timeline of events. But it never once felt forced or too fast. The sheer amount of things that they go through, and the amount that they learn about one another in that time, is miles beyond the norm, and their relationship moves from partnership, to friendship, before it becomes more. Their fight to stay alive is the most important thing, and their personalities clash often. The two of them are both incredibly stubborn, and that just made their eventual acceptance of their fate, and realization of their feelings, all the sweeter.

Another really great thing about These Broken Stars is the mystery, and the chills. This being a sci-fi book, I wasn’t expecting to be genuinely scared by anything in it. I get scared when I’m reading horror or paranormal ghost stories, but sci-fi? I adore it, but it rarely genuinely scares me. That being said, the things that Lilac and Tarver experience when they’re on the “deserted” planet freaked me the heck out. No, really — at once point I was reading in my living room with only one reading light on, and the rest of the lights were off, and I had to get up and turn more lights on. Maybe I’m just a sissy, but there you go.

Not only does These Broken Stars bring the chill-factor, it also brings the FEELS. Lilac and Tarver are just… ugh. (You know it’s serious when I can’t even properly express my feelings, guys.) These two have such awesome chemistry, and their relationship grows so perfectly, and then BAM. When you’re least expecting it, you will be punched in the gut and you won’t know what the heck is going on anymore. My face went ♥_♥ → :D → :O → ;_; → D’: in about 2.3 seconds flat. And that was… what, only about 2/3rds of the way through? It was intense.

And then the real crazy stuff started happening, and I just fell more and more in love with the book because my feels were EVERYWHERE and I didn’t know what the heck was going on but the pages basically just turned themselves until it was all over.


In conclusion…

I am so thankful that this book lived up to the immense hype surrounding its release! If you’re a fan of YA sci-fi and romance in equal measure, you are bound to love this book. I feel like it’s the perfect balance of the two – maybe leaning a little more toward the romance, until the end, but the story just felt so complete, was written so succinctly, and not one element felt out of place. It all just fit together like… well, the first third of a really satisfying puzzle.

I say “the first third” because These Broken Stars is the first in a series of companion novels featuring three different sets of characters, but the same “baddie” — which is just a freaking awesome idea, especially since this first book is such a success. This is an excellent start to the Starbound trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have in store for the next two books!!


7 thoughts on “ARC Review: THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

  1. I’m super excited for this one and hope to get it for Christmas! The cover is gorgeous and everyone’s been raving about it. This is actually one of the only reviews I’ve seen stating the romance is insta-love. Anyway, the romance sounds absolutely amazing. I’m also interested to read about how Lilac’s character is unexpected (in a good way). Great review!

  2. YAY! I loved this one too–and gave it exactly the same rating, I think–4.5 stars. I was so emotional about it towards the end! The scenes on the Icarus weren’t my favorite(hence the half star instead of a full five), but the rest of the book quickly made up for that. I too really loved Lilac’s character. She could have been an annoying privileged brat, but I felt the authors really gave a hidden depth to her character that showed while she wasn’t suited for an adventure like this, she could be cunning and stoic when needed. And Tarver was just perfect. I loved how subtle and deep both of the main characters were.

  3. I LOVED this one too. I was so nervous since the cover was so darn beautiful but the story was even better. It is by far one of my very favorites of the year and a favorite all around. I can’t wait to see what happens in the companion novel. Just a brilliant book. Wonderful review!

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