Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Posted May 30, 2015 by Lola in My To-Be Read List, Review, Romance, Sci-Fi / 36 Comments


My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Because Reading is Better Than Real Life where at the beginning of the month visitors can choose which book I’ll be reading this month. On the first saturday of a month the poll will be up, then on the second saturday of the month I’ll announce the book that won and on the last saturday of the month I’ll post my review of the book.

these broken starsThese Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

My Review:
I heard so many good things about this book, which made me excited to finally pick up this book. In some ways this book was like I expected and in other ways completely different. It was a very well written book and I found myself easily turning the pages and getting lost on this book. It’s a weird mixture of genres, seeming sci-fi at first sight, but also containing survival, romance and even some horror elements. A big space ship crashes and Lilac and Tarver survive the crash and have to survive on the planet. That’s where the survival story starts. The story was slow paced at first and it is a mainly character driven book, there is also a strong plot, but it moves more slowly and I found the focus was on the characters.

There is a sense of wrongness that seems persistent through the book, it’s obvious something is wrong with the planet. Some mystery that is only revealed towards the very end of the book. The wrongness and mysteriousness almost gave it a creepy feel at times. It made my skin crawl. It was very subtle, but present. There was a twist towards the end that I didn’t like too much as it felt off and didn’t make much sense. I did really like the ending and how it things got wrapped up.

At first I had a hard time with the characters. Lilac was a spoiled brat and that’s putting it nicely. Her father is one of the richest and most powerful people in the universe and she’s his daughter. That fame isn’t all god, but it was hard to feel even remotely sorry for her when she was acting like a spoiled brat while being stubborn and refusing to listen to Tarver who knew what they where dealing with. Then again I also didn’t like Tarver’s attitude towards Lilac, sure she might act stupid and stubborn, but she was used to a life of luxury and now she has to survive on a wild planet. I mean that was obviously so out of her comfort zone I think he could’ve cut her some slack.

Like I mentioned this book is very character driven and it’s all about the characters and while they might start out difficult to like that changes, they change a lot. It goes slowly, but we see how what they go through impacts them, brings them closer together, makes them understand each other. They are forced together through circumstances, but it’s still great to see these go from almost adversaries to lovers. It goes slowly and the romance builds slowly, but it fit the book. And it kept my attention, so I don’t think the slower pace is an issue, although there were a few chapters where I wished things would speed up a little.

It’s hard to see Tarver and Lilac their romance separate from their situation and I still wonder if they would’ve connected without this experience, but then again you can’t see them without it as this experience shapes them and changes them and makes them right for each other. I didn’t really feel the romance at first, but it becomes clear how much they mean to each other and there are a few scenes which really makes it clear. Lilac might change even more than Tarver does and that might be my favourite part of this book, seeing her adapt to this situation and handling it better than i would’ve expected. She’s stubborn and not giving up, she does what is necessary to survive and I really liked her for that.

I really felt like the author put a lot of effort and time into developing this world and it felt like there was a lot of world building behind it all, but we see very little of it at the same time. The story takes place on board of a ship and on the planet where they try to survive. We see very little from the world except for this tiny piece and while I liked it, I also wished to know ore as I was fascinated by this world and wanted to know how everything worked and what more there is to this world. So I am hoping the later books in this series provide some more pieces of world building.

To conclude: These Broken Stars is a character driven slow paced survival story. There is a sense of wrongness that stayed with me most of the book and a mystery which we only understand towards the end of the book. It’s a powerful and well written book, although there were some parts I liked less. There was a twist towards the end that felt off, but also one twist which really intrigued me and appalled me at the same time. Seeing Lilac change was one of my favourite parts of this book and it’s amazing to see her change into a very different person. The romance is also well done, building slow, but eventually bringing them together. The world building felt well done, but we only get a small piece, I hope to see more of that in the next books.


You can add These Broken Stars to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can buy These Broken Stars here:
The Bookdepository

If you have read this book let me know what you think of it and what you thought of the Lilac twist at the end, without spoilers. If you haven’t read it let me know what a good sci-fi book needs to have to grab your attention!


36 responses to “Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

  1. I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while and I’m really eager to read it after that review! Sounds like my perfect kind of book, scifi & romance? Bang on. Plus Marie Lu has endorsed it.Must definitely check it out soon.

    • I think you will enjoy this one :). I’ve had this one on my to-read list for a while as well and am almost happy I waited so long to read it as the wait for the next book is shorter now.

  2. I’ve got this one the pile to read so I was glad to let you check it out for me. πŸ™‚ I’m good with her being a spoiled brat in the beginning as long as I can see some growth. However, I confess that its hard to stick with a story long enough to see that happen if the author waits too long to start the change. The off-ness and the mystery do intrigue and I love survival stories.

    As to Sci-Fi, I am most attracted to it for the world building and the author’s ability to make me feel that I’m in an alien setting. I don’t care if the character themselves are human, but its even better if their are alien races included.

    • I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one. And I agree it’s easier being able to deal with her being a spoiled brat knowing that she will change, but it really got on my nerves at first. The change was subtle at first and it takes some time before you notice the changes, but it’s really worth it.

      If you love survival stories you’ll probably enjoy this one. At times it’s more a survival story than sci-fi. And the authors sure did a great job making me feel like I was in an alien setting, I can’t wait to learn more about the world in the second book.

    • It starts with sci-fi aspects and I have the feeling there is a lot of sci-fi behind it all, but this book is mostly a survival story. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well if you decide to read it!

    • I can imagine how the slow pace and character focus don’t work for anyone and there were certainly parts where I would’ve liked a bit more plot or pace. Some parts where really slow, but it was well written and enjoyable enough for me to continue. I think the slow pace can really fit some books, but it can really annoy me as well.

    • I hope you’ll read it eventually. It was definitely interesting to start off not liking the characters and then they slowly grew on me and changed. I am in awe how the authors wrote that, it was beautifull to see that change. The characters were more complex than I first realizes and as the focus is really on the two of them we learn a lot about them.

    • It depends on my mood, I love both sci-fi and paranormal romance. I only read sci-fi for the last year or so, so I am still finding my way around the genre. A story that keeps you engaged is certainly one of the most important things!

  3. Great review! That cover makes me happy and I do have this one in ebook form. I think for me a scifi book has to also have fantasy elements or really great characters. I am not a strong science person and anything that is technical or where you have to know the science behind the scifi elements usually makes me stop reading the book. This one sounds like it would have interesting characters, so I will have to try it once I get back into a reading groove. Glad you liked it!
    Sarah @ Flood of Books, etc. recently posted…The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniMy Profile

    • That cover was the reason I got this one in paperback, it’s so pretty! The science stuff isn’t too technical and the characters are great so I think you will enjoy this one. I hope you’ll like it once you get around to reading it!
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #128My Profile

  4. You are so right regarding the wrongness! It’s like, it’s just so atmospheric, you know? You can feel the alien-ness of the world in the words themselves, enveloping you and making you on your guard. Reading this really felt like being in a whole new and strange planet. I guess this is the main reason why I loved it because I’m really a fan of books like that.
    Faye M. recently posted…Potato Prints #7: The Wrath and the Dawn & Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaMy Profile

    • yes indeed! It was just so present, very subtle, but always there. The world just felt alien. I always felt slightly on my guard waiting till that alien-ness developed into something more. I think it’s great how it really felt like a different planet and so alien, but in a subtle ever present way and not over the top.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #128My Profile

  5. I am glad you liked this one, too! I loved the slowly pace of this one and I was surprised by how much.

    As for the twist. Well. Honestly, it was odd. It was kind of weird and sad at the same time.
    tonyalee recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up (61)My Profile

    • The slow pace really works for some books like this one was. Although a few parts felt a bit too slow, overal I think the pace fitted the story.
      I agree that the twist was odd and I always ketp wondering if a certain thing would happen again as it didn’t feel completely real.

  6. I love character driven books! Interesting how it seems the main focuses were characters and world building, because I feel like that doesn’t really happen a lot, but I feel as though characters should ALWAYS be a focus. I saw this book featured on somebody’s cover love. …Was it yours? I feel bad for not knowing.
    Danni Mae recently posted…Book to Movie Adaptions- DivergentMy Profile

    • I don’t have a cover love feature, so it was probably on another blog, but I have to say that I really like this cover. I also like character driven books and it’s hard for me to connect to a book when I can’t connect to a character. I like really getting to know the characetrs and understanding them and their behavior. The world building wasn’t as present, but it was clear that there was a lot of world building behind it all.

    • She was pretty annoying at first, but that did make me appreciate her even more later on. And indeed that cover is gorgeous and one of the reaosns I had to have this one in paperback.

  7. Yes yes yes. You know how much I loved this book and you hit the nail on the head with your review. I also felt that skin-crawling wrongness throughout reading this, and that was when I knew I had a really good book on my hand. I love that! The evocation of emotions, when I feel the same kind of hesitation and fear that the characters do. It really was very well-written and the mystery of the planet and the station really kept me turning the pages.

    I also loved the transformation of Lilac in this story, though I felt a lot more sympathy for her from the beginning. Sure she is pampered, but I also got the feeling that she didn’t like her position so much. She didn’t like being watched all the time or having to dismiss Tarver. She was interested in him, but her father’s overwhelming presence with all the security and the fact that men or women who interfere with her would just go missing, led her to be super cautious. You could tell that she was being mean to Tarver and pushing him away because if she showed any attention to him, her father would make him disappear. Tarver didn’t know that, though, so it led to a whole bunch of mixed signals until they were alone together.

    I cried in that plot twist near the end. I totally did. I wasn’t expecting it and it knocked me over the head, so I’m okay with that. Lol. This book hits all of my favorite notes, slow-building, character-based, scifi. It was my favorite book of 2014!
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Full Moon Report – June 2015My Profile

    • The skin crawling wrongness was done so well, so subtle and present at the same time. I am really amazed at how the authors wrote that, although it was a bit creepy as well. I hadn’t expected so much mystery and survival mixed in and there was less sci-fi than I expected, but it worked.

      I agree that Lilac liked Tarver and dind’t want to push him awya, but it was necessary. But then after they landed on the planet she was still nasty to him and Tarver towards her and I just didn’t like them very much until they warmed up towards each other a bit.

      I am not really sure what to think of that plot twist as it almost make Lilac feel fake, even though it got established she wans’t. The slow pace of this book reminded me a bit of the Nogiku series as both are books where the slow pace works really well.
      Lola recently posted…Cover reveal: When Faults Collide by Claire GrangerMy Profile

  8. Oh Lola, I am even more eager to dive into this one now! Character-driven stories are my favorite and seems like the author did a fine job of taking time to build up to, well, everything. πŸ™‚ That creepy element really appeals to me. πŸ˜‰ I’m glad you enjoyed your time in this world.
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Teaser Tuesdays #68My Profile

    • Oh if you love character driven stories you probably will love this book. The character driven aspect was very well done, the story was a bit slower at times, but there was enough going on to keep me interested and the build-up worked nicely. The creepy element was really done well.
      I can’t wait to visit this world again in the sequel!
      Lola recently posted…Review: Pursued by the Rich Rancher by Catherine MannMy Profile

    • It’s good to remember there is a lot of character development. It certainly helped me when I didn’t like the characetrs at first as I knew they would change. I hope you get a chance to read it soon, it was a great story. And as you mentioned you love twists, creepy and slow by solid romance, I think you will appreciate those aspects in this book as well. I am looking forward to hear what you think of this book!
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: A moodreader participating in reading challengesMy Profile

  9. I still haven’t read this one, and I’m not sure if it’s one for me based on mixed reviews for you. For me a good sci-fi book has to actually make sense. If there is science in it, it has to be believable. I’ve read a few dystopia books where the author clearly didn’t know what she was talking about, and you could tell.
    Deanna recently posted…Review: #ScandalMy Profile

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