- Reading level: 12+ years
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (10 December 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1423171020
- ISBN-13: 978-1423171027
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,75,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
These Broken Stars (Starbound) Hardcover – 10 Dec 2013
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When the universe's most luxurious spaceliner mysteriously falls out of hyperspace and crash-lands on an alien planet, sixteen-year-old heiress Lilac LaRoux and eighteen-year-old war hero Tarver Merendson are the sole survivors. Certain that help, or at least a wreckage crew, is on the way, Tarver wants to leave the safety of their escape pod to trek across unknown territory to the crash site of the doomed ship. With the inappropriately dressed but surprisingly resilient Lilac in tow, he starts the journey to find the situation stranger and more dangerous than he expected: the terraformed planet is oddly abandoned, the wreckage is miles away on the other side of a mountain pass, and Lilac is starting to hear voices and hallucinate. Lilac, meanwhile, wants to prove herself more than just a damsel in distress, and she uncovers a shocking secret that might explain her visions, the planet's emptiness, and even the ship's demise. With shades of Titanic alongside bits of Robinson Crusoe, this engaging read offers a compelling survival story and science fiction adventure with a heavy dose of romance. Narration in alternating points of view gives insight into Tarver and Lilac's miscommunications while allowing readers to revel in the slow burn of their growing attraction. At the same time, brief snippets of Tarver's eventual debrief provide evocative hints about the characters' futures but manage not to spoil any of the plot's twists or surprises. As class-line-crossing lovers and deserted-island stories go, no new ground is being broken here, but the novel brings together a strong mix of familiar tropes and popular storylines for a thoroughly entertaining result. Loose ends and unanswered questions, despite an otherwise satisfying conclusion, leave the door open for expected sequels. AM BCCB"
Overdone characterizations threaten to overwhelm an exciting outer-space adventure. When the richest girl in the galaxy and a burned-out war hero from lowly beginnings are the only survivors of a spaceship crash that kills 50,000 people, they grudgingly cooperate to survive. Their escape pod lands far from the ship, so Lilac and Tarver trek through cold and rain to reach the main crash site. This unknown planet has been terraformed, but frighteningly, there are no colonists-or anyone else. When they reach it, the ship's a hazardous tomb of rotting bodies. The jam-packed plot incorporates telepathy, energy-matter conversion, an unknown life form, an explosion, two cave-ins and a temporary death. Lilac and Tarver alternate first-person narration; ratcheting up the suspense are single-page chapters in which an unknown authority interrogates Tarver. Less successful is the seemingly endless (and textually forced) clashing between the protagonists. He's bitter and occasionally rough (in the throes of a fever, he hits her); she's an entitled heiress whose pale, white skin warrants mention no matter who's narrating. It's a thin, annoying line between love and hate (guess which wins) that makes the adventure elements vie for attention. Tipping between science fiction and fantasy, this series opener will catch readers who enjoy melodramatic sparring and those who can look past it; for outer-space thrills with moral complexity, see Beth Revis' Across the Universe series. (Science fiction. 13 & up) Kirkus"
As the passengers and crew of the Icarus cruise through hyperspace, spoiled and aloof rich girl Lilac LaRoux drops a glove before war hero Major Tarver Merendsen only to rebuff him later. Yet during a horrifying accident, Lilac and Tarver escape the death-spiraling Icarus, eventually finding themselves stranded on a strange, terraformed yet abandoned planet. Their prickly relationship continues because both realize they have no future together even if they are rescued: Lilac is the daughter of the universe's richest man, while Tarver is a lowly soldier. As they struggle to save their lives and maintain their sanity, despite disturbing whispers and strange appearances and disappearances of things lost and treasured, the dire circumstances break down the barriers between them. Though Kaufman and Spooner use the pair's survival in an alien environment to propel the narrative, These Broken Stars is at its heart a love story. Voiced in alternate chapters, Lilac and Tarver are characters of depth, complexity, and strength, young people who alternately elicit the reader's admiration, frustration, and sympathy. While the book is the first of a promised trilogy, it stands on its own as a testament to love, loyalty, courage, and the power of good over dystopian greed and perversity. - Frances Bradburn Booklist"
5Q 4P J S Major Tarver Merendsen is a war hero-young, handsome, and just dangerous enough to send all of the rich socialites on board the Icarus into a tizzy. All except one: Lilac Laroux is the only daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and with her father's guards watching her every move, she cannot afford to let her guard down. If there is one thing she is good at, it is cutting men down to size, especially boys from the lower classes who should know better than to aim for the attentions of the richest girl in the galaxy. When tragedy warrants an emergency evacuation, it is fate that brings the two together. It is too bad that Lilac is the last person with whom Tarver would want to be stuck, but when their escape pod lands on an abandoned planet, curses become blessings as each hardship brings the two closer. As survival instincts kick in and their old life falls away, they build a bond that seems to be able to overcome death itself, but can it survive her father's expectations? Maybe, but her father might be the least of their worries as the secrets of the planet are revealed and soon they know too much. Kaufman and Spooner couple an epic romance with dazzling science fiction in a tale that will appeal to lovers of both genres. This is a must-read, though some sexual situations may be cause for a second glance when considering younger readers.-Shanna Miles. VOYA"
On the surface, this trilogy opener is a fairly standard opposites-attract romantic adventure, when a spoiled socialite and a seasoned soldier are stranded on a mysterious planet after their luxury spaceliner malfunctions and crashes. Major Tarver Merendsen tries to protect Lilac LaRoux, "the richest girl in the galaxy," as they journey across an inhospitable wilderness in search of rescue. Though their personalities clash and their social status separates them, they develop feelings for one another. But the further they travel, the more questions they find regarding their new home. Strange visions and apparitions give the story a chilling edge, and a late revelation elevates these developments into entirely new territory. In a collaboration that, at times, evokes Lost, Titanic, and Romancing the Stone, Spooner (Skylark) and newcomer Kaufman do an excellent job of keeping their story from falling into clich d romantic territory. Although the constant arguing between Tarver and Lilac and their internal angst can be tiring, the external conflicts and underlying mysteries will keep readers guessing (and turning the pages). Ages 12 up. PW"
Gr 7 Up First-time author Kaufman and coauthor Spooner begin their science-fiction romance in familiar territory and then chart a course that goes to new heights. Eighteen-year-old Major Tarver Merendsen is a decorated hero traveling on the luxury starliner Icarus. Sixteen-year-old Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the galaxy's richest man, owner of the Icarus, and terraformer of numerous planets. Everything comes crashing down when an unknown force ejects the starliner from hyperspace and sends them into the gravity well of a planet. Tarver is able to get them aboard an escape pod but it is, surprisingly, Lilac who is able to hotwire the pod's malfunctioning electronics to allow it to blast free of the falling ship. They survive the descent but each feels obligated to treat the other harshly Lilac to shield Tarver from the potential wrath of her father and Tarver to urge the pampered princess to safety. As they come to rely upon one another during their journey across the unfamiliar planet, they can no longer deny their feelings for one another. When Lilac begins hearing whispers and seeing visions, she comes to believe that there is other sentient life on the planet. Then she dies, but neither she nor the story ends there. The authors begin with star-crossed lovers and a crash-landing survival story but add excitingly original material to these tropes to create a wonderful tale that should appeal to both teen and adult readers. Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids SLJ"
About the Author
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the SKYLARK trilogy, currently lives just outside DC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts. You can find them on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner.
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These Broken Stars is the first book in the Starbound Trilogy, a young adult science-fiction series that transcends the genres it attempts to incorporate. As for the "young adult" aspect, the quality and maturity of the writing lends the story an air of sophistication and poetry that is acceptable for almost any age. Somehow, the young protagonists still manage to sound the correct age, without the immaturity that many writers infuse into their younger characters. They don't sound older than they are, but they don't sound like annoying teenagers either. It's hard to explain, but trust me: It works.
It is both soft sci-fi, as well as paranormal, with a good bit of romance. And before you cringe at that, let me say this: I do not read romance novels of any sort. If it contains romance, fine. But I don't read it as a specific genre simply because I like the plot to define what happens, not cheesy lines and awkwardly written scenes (this is my personal bias).
But this is not that type of romance. This is the kind that can't be pegged down by limited parameters, the kind that flows into its own universe and drags us along the way, leaving us broken then healed but better for having taken the journey.
I am not overly sentimental, particularly when it comes to book romances, but this story is about so much more. It's about love, yes, but also about truth, about trust, about perseverance, about what really makes us human and what lengths we go to in order to make the world a better place. We all come from different walks of life, but shared experiences can bridge that gap. I argue that I'm not overly sentimental as I'm tearing up writing this part of the review, but I can't help it for one very specific reason. I can't share it with you without spoiling the story for you (I hate when reviews do that), but I will say that I have never in my life read a scene as realistically heartbreaking as a *particular* one in this book. It will make you want to cry, to scream, to throw the book across the room and curse the heavens (or me) for having allowed you to read it. Yet it is so achingly simple and human that we could all relate in one way or another. What causes it to happen is not normal, nor is it reasonable to expect what you later realize is the inevitable. When it happens, though, it is not what happens that will rip your heart out. It is the reactions and thoughts of another character that will punch you in the gut. I was so incredibly angry at the book at that point, but I kept reading, and I am very glad that I did. All I can say is, when you feel like you've been betrayed by the authors, don't automatically give up. Keep reading. Trust me. My daughter had an even stronger reaction when I told her to read this book, after having told her how much I enjoyed it. She became very upset with me at that point in the story, refusing to continue with it. This remained the case for almost two weeks before I finally convinced her to trust me (to trust me after she felt I had tricked her). Luckily, she did finish it and decided to forgive me in the end. This book is that good.
The two main characters alternate first-person POV from chapter to chapter, but the genius of this is that the two authors (Kaufman and Spooner) each wrote from one character's perspective, emailing chapters back and forth as they completed them. It's like a tandem story, only with more planning, cohesion, and editing involved. The end result is stunning, and they mastered the art of co-writing. Each of the two characters has a distinctly different voice, and neither of them come across as anything less than very real and human in their thoughts and actions.
The Starbound Trilogy is, by far, my favorite YA series to date (barring one exception that I don't count as YA, but that's for another blog post). I have read all three books now, as well as a prequel novella, and while I love the entire series, this first book is the best in the series by a long shot. Shortly after finishing the series, I reread the first book. Let me repeat that: I, who firmly do not believe in rereading books when there is little time for the books that are out there, reread this book. If you like the paranormal and science fiction genres, yet can tolerate some romance along the way (think The Notebook if it involved hyperspace travel, or Rose and Jack from Titanic, only IN SPACE and other exotic locales, minus the stupid freezing to death bit), you won't be disappointed. Better yet, think Glenn and Maggie ("I'll find you"). Sucker-punch to the gut right there. No need for Lucille.
The characters are REAL (well, as real as any character in fiction can be), the love story is undeniably REAL, and the plot only gets better as the story progresses. Can I promise that you'll love it as much as I do? Perhaps not, and that is the beauty of literature. This piece is as beautiful as the genre gets, as far as I'm concerned. Not beautiful as in it lacks action and humor. There is an overwhelming sense of foreboding, an ominous nature to several aspects of the plot, not to mention a handful of grit to balance out the poetry of it all. And there are lighter, funnier moments amidst the serious goings-on in the story.
If I had to recommend reading one YA series this summer, I'd definitely say give this one a shot. Read the first book and see how you like it. If you're like me, you'll devour it and immediately want to begin the next book. The entire series is fantastic, but the first book is by far the best (or maybe I'm just biased toward the characters in that one). There is also a short story entitled "This Night So Dark" that connects the first two books in the series, but I read it after the series. You don't want to spoil anything for yourself. You could read it any time AFTER you read These Broken Stars, but not before.
I was a in a big mood for something sci-fi and this was one of the few things left on my bookshelf that was unread…Titanic in Space with a dual point of view.
At the start I felt that the characters, Tarver and Lilac, were kinda meh but a little interesting…interesting enough to keep me reading. I knew this book was roughly Titanic is Space, but it turns out that Titanic is Space is just the first four chapters and the rest of the novel is these two kids trying to survive a planet that they have never heard of.
A soldier and a heiress.
The book was mostly Tarver making sure they both didn’t die (if we are being honest) because Lilac did not know much about the outdoors.
Throughout the story we see their bond grow, it was a bit of a slow burn which was nice…even though at the start they both had a small crush on each other that turned to disgust.
The story’s plot focus on Tarver and Lilac’s need to survive and get rescued, rather than them falling in love. You see Tarver put up with Lilac’s I need to be stronger than you even though I am way out of my element attitude. I would have personally left Lilac behind at some point but Tarver is a good person so there is that.
Along with the mystery of the whispers and the lack of people on the planet. I think my favorite part of the plot was the mystery behind the whispers that Lilac kept hearing.
Halfway through the book I saw myself growing attached to those two, and actually worrying for their well being even though you know Tarver survives the planet (not a spoiler it is literally at the start of the book).
I enjoyed the book, but I do not think I will read the two sequels that come with it.
“And there it is, against all hope, like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. The smallest hint of a smile.”