Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Category: Young Adult / Sci-Fi / Romance
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books 2013
Awards: Winner Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, Short-listed for Best Fantasy Aurealis Awards 2013.
My Rating: 4 broken stars
My Review: I was a little nervous about writing this review as I haven’t read a Sci-Fi book in a long time – about 20 years at least, so I am a little light on the specifics that make a good sci-fi novel but I know this – I couldn’t put These Broken Stars down and was totally swept up from the moment I picked it up. *Few spoilers below.
It had a great love story weaving through it which could have been why, but also – it was a fast paced, well structured, cleverly written novel with enough back story about the world to leave me interested and intrigued, but not too much as to bog it down. I had a real sense of the two main characters and their place in the world, and the tension created from their love story and survival was done really well. The growing affection between the two is definitely a page turner, but there was a lot more to it than simply the romance, there was the change and growth in the characters (especially rich-girl Lilac) in what was, in the end, a story about survival on an abandoned planet, a planet that seemed to be in the final stages of terraforming, in preparation to colonise, but for some reason it was deserted of colonies. Later in the book they find out why.
The story is told in two perspectives on alternate chapters.
Lilac La Roux: The daughter of the richest man in the known universe and owner of La Roux Industries, the company that builds space liners and colonise planets. Lilac is heavily guarded, is never allowed to be on her own and the last person Lilac loved was killed (in a round about way) by her father … so she is used to fending people off no matter how much she may like them – it’s not worth their lives to know and love her. She is wealthy and privileged, but she has known loss and loneliness and does not look down upon the lower classes like most.
Tarver Merendson: A young decorated war hero, (and poet) from the colonies. Because of his victories on the field of battle he has earned his place to mingle with the people of high society, who he finds shallow and fake, hence the first line of the novel ‘Nothing in this room is real.’ But then, he spots Lilac La Roux from across the room and senses something different in her when she stands up for a man who has slipped past the guards into the party to warn of problems in the colonies.
The Icarus: The titanic sized space liner that Tarver and Lilac are on board, carrying 50,000 passengers, is cruising through space when something drags it from hyperspace and Tarver and Lilac just manage to escape in a small pod before the ship crashes onto an uninhabited planet. What follows is an arduous journey (for Lilac especially) across an alien planet where food, water and warmth is scarce. They head toward the Icarus crash site, assuming that is where the rescue ships will go, but as they draw closer and closer to the site they begin to realise that perhaps no one is coming because no rescue beacon has been sent.
As the journey continues Lilac is led by eerie voices, a ghostly presence that seems to want to help them – and until Tarver himself experiences the strange effects of this presence he thinks Lilac is imagining it or hallucinating, despite these ‘ghosts’ saving their lives.
When the pair finally reach the crash site of the enormous space liner Lilac truly shows her growth from party girl, daughter of the richest man in the galaxy to a brave, strong woman (both mentally and physically) when she enters the hulking wreckage of the Icarus for supplies when Tarver falls seriously ill. The voices become more mysterious when they reproduce items that have been destroyed, a flower, a water canteen – but when these items are no longer needed, or the reason they were re-created becomes obsolete, they disappear as though they had never been. The ghostly voices draw the couple toward a building in the distance but on arrival they find they are unable to gain access to the observation station and the communications they know are inside.
In the days that follow Lilac and Tarver question whether they want to send the rescue signal , but eventually they decide to break into the building – which leads to such catastrophic events it left me ignoring the family until I’d finished the book.
One last thing – Who loved this book cover? Me! The colours are amazing, its my favourite cover so far this year. I love the combination of red hair, emerald dress and shimmering stars amongst the purple sky. Gorgeous!
The second instalment in the Starbound trilogy, This Shattered World is out in late December with an equally stunning cover. It introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.
Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.
If you can’t wait till December 2014 to read more from co-authors Amie Kaufman and Meaghan Spooner they have special book release soon. The e-short, called This Night So Dark, will be available on all e-reader platforms on October 7, 2014, and it’ll be free for all readers. It’s a bit shorter than novella-length and a bit longer than short-story-length, and it’s both a prequel AND a sequel. How’s that? Read on!
The story will follow Tarver, and the secret behind why he was on the Icarus when the great spaceliner met its epic end. Where’d all those medals come from? Why doesn’t he want to talk about it? And if you’re wondering how it can be a sequel at the same time, you just have to look at the format of These Broken Stars. That story’s told out of order, too.
In addition to Tarver’s story, the e-short will also contain the first two chapters of This Shattered World, a full two months before the book hits the shelves!