These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner Review

TBSFinalCoverThis review is probably going to be all over the place because I’m writing it at work so my thoughts are more than a little disorganized.

LOVED IT LOVED IT LOVED IT!!! (glad I got that off my chest)

When I’m working, it’s usually so hectic that I’m unwilling to read something heavy or something from a series that I’m following because I don’t have time so I end up reading  sporadically, anyway, I picked this up with no expectations whatsoever which was an amazing thing. I fell in love with the story and the characters and read it in one go (so glad that it was an off day) I could not put it down for even a minute. I kept dreading that I’ll get a call and have to get back to work and not be able to finish it.

These Broken Stars is about Tarver and Lilac, two unwilling people who have to learn to work together to survive on a strange planet after their spacecraft crashes and they are the only survivors on this seemingly uninhabited planet. There are strange things afoot like disembodied whispers, sounds of people crying with no people to be found among others. Lilac and Tarver declare an uneasy truce when they realise that they have to stick together to survive but their relationship gradually moves to friendship and then something deeper that they’re both reluctant to admit to. There aren’t many secondary characters to distract you from the two main protagonists and the story.

Kaufman and Spooner didn’t spend a lot of time giving the readers backstory on what lead to terraforming other planets, they also don’t give us a timeline for when these events take place which is refreshing. These Broken Stars is very well written and was very entertaining. The planet Tarver and Lilac find themselves on is very well conceived and realised. The mystery of this uninhabited planet was also well written; they give us just enough information to keep us hooked without giving away too much. The pace of the book was consistent and steady. There was a lot of traveling but it didn’t feel dull and monotonous and there was plenty of character development to go around.

Lilac LaRoux is probably the most famous girl in the universe since her father is one of the most powerful men, if not the most powerful. She’s had a very privileged life and has never wanted for anything. But all that comes with a price, she’s always in the limelight and everyone who meets her is either after her money, the power that being associated with her brings or to get close to her father. She’s on her guard all the time. On the outside, she is like the ultimate spoilt brat, who cares only for gossip, clothes and shoes but there’s another side to her, one that longs for freedom, to live her life on her terms. She feels stifled, able to let her hair down with only a select few people and even then she has to mind her Ps and Qs. So when they crash land on this strange planet, she is completely out of her comfort zone, this place is alien and she has no skills that can help her survive here and she knows that. She desperately tries to cling to the hope that her father will come to her rescue (sooner rather than later). She’s the person who probably changes the most through the course of this misadventure. She goes from being completely dependent on Tarver to someone who can take care of herself and is instrumental in their survival. Sure, she’s difficult in the beginning but that hostility on her part is more a defense mechanism. Her transformation is very well done.

Tarver was pretty likeable from the very beginning. He is very sure of himself, especially on the strange planet. This is where he also has his douchebag moments. But, there is also a reason for his behaviour. While they got along very well during their first meeting, Lilac puts him down rather harshly when they meet again. She does it for his own good but Tarver doesn’t know that. He thinks she really is a spoilt brat. That opinion slowly changes to grudging respect when she puts up with everything that’s thrown her way. Since Tarver is kind of in his comfort zone, his personality remains pretty much the same. He’s not badly written, he just doesn’t grow as much as Lilac does.

Their relationship also felt real because of the way it unfolds, it is gradual and organic. They were always going to end up together but the way it happened here was nice. There was also a little twist at the end and while I didn’t see it coming, it didn’t feel contrived.

There were some secondary characters like Lilac’s entourage and her father, but the former don’t feature long enough to truly register as characters and therefore don’t make much of an impression. In that sense, their loss didn’t feel as devastating as it should have. The latter on the other hand, for a majority of the book, we see him through Lilac’s eyes, someone who simultaneously makes her feel safe and trapped. But again, he didn’t feature enough to make any sort of a lasting impression.

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