These Broken Stars: review

November 8, 2013 4.5 star books, amie kaufman, ghosts, Kate, meagan spooner, romance, sci fi or futuristic 80 ★★★★½

These Broken Stars: reviewThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10, 2013
Genres: science fiction
Pages: 374
Format: eARC
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.

I’ve heard this book described as Titanic in space, and while I suppose that is technically pretty accurate, it really only applies to the first 10% of the story, at which point the crash occurs.  From then on, it’s about two brilliant young people from opposite backgrounds who have to learn to work together to survive alone, marooned on a strange planet that seems to be haunted by the ghosts of their ship’s dead.

Lilac is the only child of the wealthiest man in the universe (Which is, by the way, an amount of money that has no comparison in our world.  She’s not Paris Hilton-level rich; her father runs a corporation that essentially controls what goes on on almost every planet.  And he’s single.)  The two of them have been extremely close (not in a creepy way) since the death of her mother, and he’s taught her a great deal about computer programming and how to, like, touch wires to different wires and make them do things. The downside is that she is not allowed to date or even interact casually with men, and the one time she did her father had her lover shipped out to the frontlines of a war.  She has several female bodyguards who act like her silly entourage publicly, but actually protect her and, of course, spy on her for her dad.  Her life pretty much sucks, but at least she has awesome clothes (I love that she’s wearing Keira Knightley’s Atonement dress on the cover).

Tarver, in contrast, grew up poor, in an artistic family, but has recently become a military hero.  At eighteen years old, he’s been considered an adult for two years (Legal adulthood hits at sixteen in the world of this series.  Even for boys.  I know, it sounds like a disaster.), and his celebrity status has recently forced him to attend super fancy parties where he must rub elbows with super fancy people who make him uncomfortable.  It is at one such party that he meets Lilac.  He likes her, they get along, and then she is horrible to him (he doesn’t know who she is initially, even though she’s super-fancy-famous because he’s a hick, which is awesome, and she knows nothing can happen between because her father will have him killed–as I read this, it sounds insane, but it all makes sense in context), so they are on decidedly terrible terms when they end up in a lifeboat together.  And then stranded on a planet crawling with big scary things and ghosts.  I love it.

I adored nearly everything about this book.  It has strong feminist bones that really hold up throughout the story (Although the mindset about plastic surgery vs. natural beauty was a bit troublesome; it’s silly to have Tarver comment on how (naturally, obvs) pretty Lilac is in the same chapter where the proliferation of  plastic surgery among the upper classes is treated like a bad thing.  I mean, is being attractive important or not?  If a woman is born ugly, why shouldn’t she make changes to her appearance if it will help her get ahead in the world?  The naturally beautiful Lilac has no reason to get work done; had she been born with a huge nose rather than one that is slightly snub she would absolutely have done something to it.), from Lilac’s bodyguards’ competence to her own ability to go toe-to-toe with Tarver, and her leadership skills and ability to fend for herself in no way reduce his masculine hotness.  The two of them are perfectly suited to each other because they have opposite strengths.  Together they can do absolutely anything, but if they split up they’d be screwed.

Oh, and the romance is perfect. The authors really make the characters work for it every step of the way, so it all feels like it has been earned (Does that make sense?).  Lilac (whose name I keep typing as “Violet,” because purple) and Tarver are, being teenagers, definitely instantly attracted to each other, but their love grows out of  shared experiences and a need to trust one another absolutely.

There’s a very sad thing that happens toward the end of the book, and I felt kind of weirdly emotionally detached from it, but my detachment didn’t make me dislike the story at all.  In fact, when I finished it, I smiled, snuggled into my pillow, and fell fast asleep with a sort of sweet, glow-y feeling.  I cannot wait to read the rest of this series; the world that Spooner and Kaufman have created here is rich and warm, and I want to dive into it and never come out.


An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Here’s Wendy’s review for this book, too!


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These Broken Stars Tour

Check back in with us on Monday, when we’re kicking off the official These Broken Stars Tour!  There will be lots of exclusive material, giveaways, and interviews with the authors.  You guys, this book is really, really good.  I’m so excited for all of you to read it.

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80 Responses to “These Broken Stars: review”

  1. Kelly

    This book was all kinds of awesome, I adored it as well. I was surprised to hear that each book in the series will follow a different couple, all surrounding a similar storyline. Reminds me a little of what Katie McGarry did with the Dare To You series. These Broken Stars is going to be a hard act to follow though. Awesome review.
    Kelly recently posted…It’s Spamtastic: Monthly Wrap Up

  2. Amber

    I actually heard about this book sitting in the Allie Condie and Marie Lu panel at YallFest. They were talking about how envious they were about two friends being able to co-write a novel together, and how they would love to accomplish that someday.
    Amber recently posted…Catching Fire Fever: Team Peeta

  3. A Canadian Girl

    Lol, I love that you keep calling Lilac as Violet. When typing my review, I kept calling her Lila :)

    I felt emotionally detached from the sad thing at the end of the book too. Also very confused as to why it happened.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…It’s Been Quiet Here …

    • Kate Bond

      That’s the problem with slightly odd names for me–My brain automatically turns them into a brain that makes sense to it.

      My assumption, confusion-wise, was that the thing that happened ties into the arc of the series somehow, but felt a little bit off because we’re still learning the rules of this world.
      Kate Bond recently posted…Yallfest, Y’all! event recap + giveaway

  4. Ashfa

    I’ve heard lots of things about the sad ending bit.. makes me really want to try this book. Sounds stunning and that is one killer cover!

  5. Kaylee L

    Great review! I’m so excited for this book. The cover is beyond gorgeous ♡

  6. Sunny

    GREAT review! I only skimmed it because I read this as well and went against my rule of not reading another’s review because I really wanted to know what you thought. I loved basically everything you mentioned. The feminist part, the earned romance, it was all just great. Dual authors for a win!

  7. Katy H

    Thank you for the review! Definitely adding this one to my never-ending “to-read” list!

  8. Vivien

    I absolutely loved this one as well. I was so lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an ARC. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was co-authored. It really didn’t feel like it at all. Very seamless. This was my second time reading Spooner (Skylark). While I did enjoy Skylark, this book really struck a chord with me. The characters were so strong in this book. Really looking forward to the next one from this duo.

    • Kate Bond

      I read both Skylark and Shadowlark, and while I was glad to feel Spooner’s voice here (I really enjoy her writing style), this novel has a lot of the pieces I felt to be lacking in the Lark novels. It’s a much more grown-up story, too.

      I wonder if giving the two characters such distinctive voices was easier because there were two people writing. You know? They was just so distinctly different.

  9. ToryAnn Stutts

    This book looks so interesting! Thanks for the review! I love how you all give such wonderful details of the story without giving away all the spoilers! It’s very very helpful!

  10. Fatma Shahin

    This sounds like such a fantastic book! EVERYONE has been so excited for it, myself included :3

    • Kate Bond

      I know. It’s one of the big fancies of the year, and it really deserves all the attention.

  11. Melliane

    Oh I’m curious about this one, the cover is awesome! And if it’s the story is like that too, it must be awesome!

    • Kate Bond

      I loved the cover so much, and it made me absolutely positive that the book was going to be terrible. I’ve been burned too many times before by those pesky pretty dresses! But boy, was I ever wrong.

  12. Melanie

    YESYESYES! The romance was more than perfect, loved it so much. The writing was pretty unique as well, it had a really different tone/vibe to it. Also…post twinzies! I just reviewed this as well.

    Fab review, Kate! <33

  13. Tirta

    Such a lovely cover! There have been lots of positive reviews about These Broken Stars but I think yours is the one that really convinced me to read it soon. I just have to finish these two books I’m currently reading right now……

    Love this review, Kate! Putting the book on my priority-read now! :)

    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! I’m so glad you’re planning to read it–I want EVERYONE to do so as soon as it’s released!

      And the cover is so pretty I expected the book to be terrible, you know?

    • Kate Bond

      It really is very, very good. It’s fun when there are books about which all the bloggers seem to have reached a consensus.

  14. Ina M.

    Oooh, I have an e-ARC of this and after reading your review I might just have to push it to the top of my to-be-read file ^_^ It sounds like a very good read to relax with in the evenings after work, snuggled into my bed :)

    • Kate Bond

      I had this on my Kindle for about a month before I read it, and I felt so, so stupid when I finally got around to it. It is an EXCELLENT snuggle book.

  15. Pili

    I am so so impatient to read this book! I preordered my HC quite a while back and every glowing review that I read about it makes me very happy and more impatient!

    I’m still crossing my fingers so I can get to read it early, even if only by a few days! I know that no matter how busy with review copies I’ll be by the time my copy arrives, I’ll leave everything aside and read this one!

    Great review!

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! It’s just so…good. It’s nice that it’s coming out around the holidays, when you’ll have an excuse to take a slight break from review copies to read something just for pleasure.

      I can’t wait to get my HC. I want to see that cover in person!

  16. Danielle

    I’m reading this now and *loving* it (and nice shout-out to the stunning ‘Atonement’ dress!). Totally agree about the good feminist lead, and the interesting romance.

    Great review, as always ;)

  17. Wendy Darling

    I cannot wait for the second book, either. Did I tell you that last night I was reading the synopsis for THIS SHATTERED WORLD and I emailed Amie saying, “heeeey, that synopsis is pretty cryptic–did you write a m/m romance?!” But alas, the book is not going in that direction, although I’m sure the romance will be swoony anyway.

    I love this review, especially the ending. It gave me glowy feelings just reading it.

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you!

      And a m/m romance would fit SO WELL into this world. How many books are planned? I am holding out hope for AT LEAST 27.

  18. Kara_Malinczak

    Completely agree, Kate. I loved this book although the ending disappointed me and underwhelmed me a bit. I hadn’t really thought about the plastic surgery in the book the way you did because it never even crossed my mind. BUT, I completely agree when you put it like that. Plastic surgery is seen so negatively in some circles, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all if someone needs it. Like all things, you can go overboard, but it shouldn’t be looked down upon. For some it truly makes sense.

    • Kate Bond

      Ah. See, I have a dog in this fight: Last year I got a nose job to make my nose larger and more symmetrical so it looks better on camera, as my appearance on camera is kind of important, and most actresses I know have had similar minor work done, and I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And the idea that being NATURALLY beautiful or thin or whatever is somehow superior to the alternative is the same as valuing natural intelligence over hard work. In my opinion, anyway.

  19. Karen

    I can’t wait to read this book! Wendy has told me all about Tarver but the whole story sounds fabulous!

  20. Sam (Realm of Fiction)

    I am so looking forward to picking this up soon! It’s been on my schedule for a while and I can’t wait to finally get around to it. I like the premise, and it’s great to see that the romance seems to be working for most people too. I’m a little worried about this very sad thing at the end, but I am hoping I’ll be just as impressed with this book as everyone else seems to be. Great review, Kate! :)

    • Kate Bond

      So not fret about the VERY SAD THING! It is manageable! And I really cannot say enough about how well the romance worked for me. It felt really epic.

  21. Keertana

    I have to agree – I loved this and particularly the pacing of the romance and development of both feminist and class themes. I think the ending threw me off a little too as I couldn’t wholly fathom how everything came to be, but the book as a whole was so good I couldn’t complain. Lovely review, Kate!

    • Kate Bond

      It feels like the class things that were laid in will really pay off in the series’ upcoming books. The ending was a little odd–or really, I guess, the stuff leading up to the ending–but I enjoyed the very end a good bit, and the lack of a cliffhanger made me so happy.

  22. Kim

    I was already so eager to read this one. Definitely my #2 most anticipated release this year behind World After. Then, you say it has strong feminist bones? Be still my heart!

    There’s little more I love than a pitch perfect romance about people from opposite sides of the tracks. And I just love when they have to work for it. I so enjoy watching characters interact as they slowly fall for each other and build their relationship. Sigh, sigh, sigh….

    Ugh, cannot wait. I want to partake of the sweet, glow-y warmth!

    • Kate Bond

      Oh, you’re going to love it, then.

      And I’m really excited for the new Penryn, too. I love that such a good series is so INEXPENSIVE, you know? I wish more books had an inexpensive paperback option right out of the gate.

  23. Carina Olsen

    Great review :D I’m glad you loved it! And that the romance is perfect. <3 Sigh. I am still dying to read it, but my god. I have had my arc for MONTHS.. I'm just worried that I will not enjoy it :\ but giving it another try pretty soon :)

    • Kate Bond

      I need to look through your goodreads or whatever before I can completely recommend it (I’m on my phone right now, so I can’t really bounce around a bunch of websites), but the love story builds naturally, the futuristic world is built well, and the prose is fantastic. And no cliff hanger!

      Have you started it at all yet?

  24. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Wow. Your review is amazing, Kate! I was unsure if I should read this book, but now I know I definitely want to read it. I love feeling at peace after a magnificent book. Love the way you described that feeling.

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! It’s so rare to feel that way at the end of the first book in a series especially, I think–there are so frequently big cliffhangers and such. The ending here was just a delight.

    • Kate Bond

      I’ve ordered a hardback copy myself for re-reading purposes. I know a few people have mocked the cover, but I think it’s just beautiful, and I can’t wait to get it in my hands and pet it. So shiny!