These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10, 2013
Genres: young adult science fiction, science fiction and fantasy, young adult romance
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For those of you who don’t know, Amie Kaufman is one of the co-authors of Illuminae. Now, originally, I wasn’t all that interested in These Broken Stars, although my peers enjoyed it. But, after loving Illuminae and spotting These Broken Stars at the library, I figured I’d give Kaufman’s other work a go.
And, for about the first 200 pages, I really enjoyed this book. Though it wasn’t initially the most original thing I’ve ever read (high society on a spaceship, rich girl meets poor guy) and I thought our protagonists’ names were a little ridiculous (Tarver? Lilac LaRoux? Really?), I enjoyed reading about how both coped with the disaster aboard the Icarus in their own ways. The slowly-escalating romantic tension and the confusion surrounding just what went wrong on the Icarus that caused it to crash, coupled with Tarver and Lilac’s struggle to survive on a foreign planet, made for an addicting and fun read.
Then I got into the 200 page range, and everything started going downhill. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)
Tarver and Lilac were always distinguishable, interesting characters for me from the beginning (although I preferred Tarver’s POV to Lilac’s), so the dual perspective in this book wasn’t a problem for me. It was interesting to see how each one interpreted the actions and words of the other; it brought a lot of realistic tension to their relationship and the storyline. Likewise, the dual POV enables you to see how both of them fall for each other, even though it’s dangerous for them to do so. I love slow-burn romances, and the buildup here was done really well, in my opinion.
But then, when they both finally admit they love each other, they became clingy and really lovey-dovey all of the sudden. (Especially Tarver. I mean, “my Lilac”? If he were a different, more sensitive character from the beginning, I think I could understand why he would act vulnerably and mushy with her, but the Tarver we’re introduced to at the beginning of the book is a guy who knows how to get stuff done and does it. After they finally have their first kiss, Tarver seemed to collapse into a pile of goo for Lilac, and it seemed girly and, again, clingy to me–not a realistic change at all, for his character. It kind of got a little sickening.)
We’re treated to many, many scenes of kissing and sweet nothings, and, while that’s nice, I felt it was a bit much. Just because you hold back on the romance in the beginning doesn’t mean you have to compensate for it as soon as your lead characters finally get together. Holding back is part of what keeps romance interesting. It feel like too much, too late, is what I’m trying to say.
SPOILERS: Also, the plot twist near the end made absolutely no sense to me. So, Lilac dies? But then she’s resurrected by these strange beings trapped inside a rift between dimensions that her father’s company created? How do we know for sure Lilac is back, instead of in a temporary body that will eventually fade away? Just because she “feels better” doesn’t mean everything’s okay. I would have liked some definite proof of that instead of just an assumption; it made for a lack of closure and made me feel uneasy. ((END SPOILERS))
So, overall, while I liked this book in the beginning and mostly through the middle, I was disappointed by its ending. Can’t say I’ll read the second book in the series. We’ll just have to see.