These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

4.06 of 5 stars 34 ratings • 21 reviews • 57 shelved
Book cover for These Broken Stars

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These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

4.06 of 5 stars 34 ratings • 21 reviews • 57 shelved

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 to the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder - would they be better off staying in this place forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

  • ISBN10 1423171020
  • ISBN13 9781423171027
  • Publish Date 23 January 2014 (first published 10 December 2013)
  • Publish Status Unknown
  • Publish Country US
  • Imprint Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 382
  • Language English


Avatar for theliteraryphoenix

I never expected to like this as much as I did.

These Broken Stars is a book with a pretty cover and the promise of a lost-in-space adventure, so naturally I assumed it would be cliche and cheesy. It was, a little, but it was a lot more than that. This book has such strong worldbuilding and a well-driven plot that I was almost able to forgive it the silly romantic tryst. Almost.

The way the setting has been written is so captivating. There's moment here and there that pulled me in tightly and took my breath away. For me, the plot and world is what kept me reading, because I found the characters particularly annoying. I don't particularly enjoy the 16-year-old military commander/major/general trope because I have a difficult time believing it, and Lilac herself was whiny and dull. Without liking either of the characters, it was difficult to get into the romance.

But the worldbuilding was so good that not only did I keep reading, but I added the next book to my TBR. I think this book has a definite audience, and I'm impressed enough with the writing style that I'll be reading more from both of these authors, who were new to me with These Broken Stars!

Plot - four stars
Characters - one & a half stars
Writing - three stars
Pacing - five stars
Setting - five stars
Narrator - three stars
Personal Enjoyment - four stars
Overall - three & a half stars

Avatar for nightingalereads

I couldn't get into this at all. The writing wasn't terrible, and it may just be not my kind of storyline. But I thought the characters were flat and stereotypical, and the dynamic between the book's two main protagonists felt really one-dimensional. DNF'd.

Avatar for pagingserenity

I thought that These Broken Stars started off as a typical YA romantic fantasy novel but proved to be more than that with its unique plot and plot twists and strong character development.

To read my full review visit Paging Serenity. :)

Avatar for kozbisa

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I. Loved. This. Book. I was all in right from chapter one. The characters were interesting, the pacing was great and the romance was legit. I loved that both our characters went through an evolution -- especially Lilac. Watch out, I was crying at about 74%, don't say I didn't warn you. I also have to mention how I loved the narrative being interspersed with the interrogation. It kept me wondering and trying to guess what was going on the whole time.

Avatar for cornerfolds

cornerfolds 5 of 5 stars

A few days ago I was sitting on my couch and realizing that everything I'd read recently was really kind of... dark. When did I stop reading good old fashion love stories? Oh yeah, that's right. I don't really care much for those. But I did want to read something a little happier than normal. I looked through a few options and ended up settling on These Broken Stars. I mean, the cover is so gorgeous, how could I not be drawn to it?) So I ran out to Barnes & Noble (under the pretense of gift shopping) and promptly purchased a copy for myself!

I'm honestly not one for sci-fi, which might come as a shock since I love dystopian novels! When this first started on board a huge spaceliner, I wasn't really positive how I'd feel about it. But then the action started and I had a really, REALLY hard time putting it down! I've seen mixed opinions on the world building in These Broken Stars, but I have to say that I was totally enchanted by what the authors have done with this future universe. The Icarus itself (seriously, who thought that name was a good idea?) was really amazing. Each separate part of the ship was described perfectly! And the planet they land on is equally well-done - maybe even better. The terrain seemed believable, if a little odd. The sign of a well written book, in my opinion, is whether or not I can fully picture it in my head, and I could picture myself on this planet as the characters made their journey.

Oh, the characters... I wasn't sure about Lilac from the beginning. While I sympathized with her situation, I still felt that she was being a little ridiculous in the way she handled herself. Maybe even a little bratty. But as the book progressed I came to really like her and her spunk! Tarver, well there's a no-brainer. He was a fantastic character! I always feel like I'm able to identify with characters who have been to war and back and that was no different here. I was able to see where he was coming from in many of his actions and even his fears. And the romance between Lilac and Tarver seemed natural! It's about time that I got another YA book without the instalove that everyone seems to enjoy so much. The struggle between them and ultimate acceptance of their situation and each other made me love them even more.

The story itself was creative and original and I loved it. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the main premise behind the planet itself is absolutely nothing like your average dystopian. And then there was that thing that happens that everyone but me seems to already be aware of... My heart stopped. I thought I was going to lose it right there. But I pushed on and breathed a sigh of relief and, as you can see from the rating, I loved the way These Broken Stars was wrapped up in the end.

My only complaint about this book is that it isn't a series. When I saw book two before even starting this one, I just assumed it was going to be a trilogy. Well, apparently it is, but they're completely separate stories. So, while I loved this one, I was really hoping to read more about Lilac and Tarver! But I suppose I'll be alright and I will definitely be picking up book two soon!

Avatar for nitzan_schwarz

To read this review and more check out my blog Afterwords!

I've originally read THESE BROKEN STARS in 2014 and loved it. But as I did with many of the series I read back then (and now, too, but let's pretend this illness has gotten better, okay?) I just kind of let the series dangle with no conscious intention to do so.

But 2018 is the year for change, or at the very least the year to make myself feel slightly better about the abysmal state of my series reading, and that starts right here, right now, with the Starbound trilogy.

Now, I'm going to do something slightly different with this review. Mostly because, as I was reading it a second time, I couldn't stop this feeling that THESE BROKEN STARS will lend itself beautifully to a cinematic adaptation. Maybe by throwing this fact out there the gods of Hollywood will hear me and make it happen.

Now, as books and movies definitely move in different rhythms, the pace will have to be adjusted. The book illustrates the difficulty to survive, stranded on a deserted planet with no means of communication, by emphasizing the long journey. The inherent tension of the travel as well as the tension between our characters. On how it stretches them thin and threatens to destroy them mentally, more than physically.

The movie, being a movie, will add more mortal peril to the whole experience because while the book has just enough of that to be perfect, the movie will just need more. So I'm certain we will see more of the strange wild-life the planet has to offer, perhaps more danger with the Whispers and certainly more injuries will be sustained (eek!)

I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that because the movie wouldn't need to change much else.

Like, take our main characters Lilac and Tarver for example; who wouldn't watch a movie about the haughty, beautiful society girl who's just too afraid to let anyone too close (for good reason), and the ragged, kind-hearted, handsome young soldier and war hero who get stranded together after a horrid spaceship crash à la the Titanic?

Space is all the rage right now, Titanic has been a smashing box office success for a reason, Survivor is on its 36th season, and we all enjoy watching good looking faces on big screens. A recipe for success!

Then let's talk dialogues. You could keep them almost entirely intact (although let's be real they won't. Studios love changing dialogue. Sigh). They're fun, they're banty, they're occasionally flirty and it's so great when they are. And the delicious and thinly veiled sexual tension throughout the whole thing is definitely something Hollywood would love.

And let's not forget the contained and limited cast that allows you to explore two characters and their growing relationship, as well as the environment and the toll of isolation. Now, sure, Hollywood does love having huge ensemble casts where each audience member can find a character to connect to, so that may deter them a little bit, but it's also cheaper to have a very limited amount of actors for 75% of the movie! lol

Now, the setting is another thing that I think movie execs would love to pounce on. First of all, there is a wonderful duality of beauty and cruelty in the setting, as well as two opposite backdrops that somehow blend seamlessly. And holy hell would they be absolutely stunning on the big screen.

First, we have the Icarus, an advanced spaceship traveling in hyperspace on a luxury cruise. Imagine our heroes traveling the deck, with the windows outside showing the smudged lights of the stars as the ship passes them by. Here and there floating trays will offer food and drinks, screens and holograms will tell of news and sales. And between all that technological advances, there are the upper floors of the rich and famous, where they gallivant in Victorian dresses and corsets, pretending to be something they have only read of in history books. Already extremely compelling, right?

But then it all comes crashing down, in what would be an epic sequence of mayhem and horrifying destruction, and all the slick and manufactured perfection will give space to a land abandoned by men, where nature grows wild and creatures that shouldn't exist walk around. Where the sky breaks open and showers rain and snow. And death. All equally beautiful, yet equally repelling.

Admit it, I'm selling you over here.

And then, on top of all these great things, on top of a story of survival and love, bravery and redemption, of real versus fake, of people having more than one side to them, of right and wrong, there is a mystery.

Because the Icarus should have been indestructible - what was its iceberg? Why is no one coming to save them? Why is the planet abandoned, when it shows clear signs of human interference. And if Lilac And Tarver aren't going mad... what is the source of those visions, of those... whispers?

You're completely sold on the movie?? Wonderful. It doesn't exist. Go read the book instead, it's better than the movie (could be) anyways ;)

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Original Thoughts

I think, out of a lot of books I've read, this one would lend itself beautifully to a cinematic adaptation. Just throwing this thought out there. Maybe someone will hear me.

I mean, sure. The pace would change a little; books and movies move to different rhythms, and while the book relies more on the long, tension hardships of travel to illustrate the trouble of surviving, the movie would have to up the ante on actual mortal peril. Although just to clarify, the book has exactly the right amount of it imo.

but other than that, you could keep most things a lot like in the book.

First, the characters. You've got a great setup for some great mains. You want to tell me you wouldn't watch a movie about the haughty, beautiful society girl who's just too afraid to let anyone close and the ragged, kind-hearted soldier who gets stranded with her on an abandoned planet after her dad's ship pulls a Titanic and goes down when it shouldn't be possible for it to?

Yes, you would.

Then, you could keep the conversations almost entirely intact. At least, I hope they would. They're fun. They're banty. They're occasionally flirty. And they definitely don't lack for some delicious sexual tension (and Hollywood execs LOVE thinly veiled sexual tension).

Then, you've got a contained cast that allows you to explore two characters and their growing relationship really well, and it's an explosive relationship for sure, and a setting that is both beautiful and harsh.

The setting really does have a really interesting duality to it.

First, you have the original backdrop of the Icarus. A ship so advanced it travels in Hyperspace, the stars just a smudge of lights outside its windows, with floating drink trays, screens and holograms everywhere, and yet the rich and famous gallivant about the upper floors in Victorian dresses and corsets.

Then, that beautiful sparkling world shatters into a land almost untouched by men, where nature grows wild and creatures that shouldn't exist walk around. And then you're left to face the real world; real planetary, and real rain, and real snow, and real death. Sometimes entirely beautiful, and sometimes entirely repelling.

And in the background; a mystery. Why did the ship crash? Where are the rescue ships? Where are the inhabitants of this planet, that clearly shows signs of human tempering? And if they aren't truly going mad... where do those whispers and visions come from, and why?

Did I sell you on the movie already? Great! It doesn't exist. Go read the book instead, it's better (or will be) than the movie anyhow.

I can't wait to see these characters again the the sequels, although from other characters' eyes!

Avatar for reveriesociety_

I might have gotten too excited the first time I read it. It's an entertaining story, very much-romance focused, which I had no problem with. I needed that at this time so it was perfect. I just don't think it's quite up there in 5 stars tier.

Avatar for simplyadrift

Jordon 5 of 5 stars
Review originally posted at Simply Adrift.

These Broken Stars was nothing I expected yet everything I wanted. I really enjoyed reading this book, it's ended up being one of my favourites.

First off, that cover! I love the cover, I love the font and the way it takes up most of the picture and is displayed over the main picture. I also love the spacey look, I always love covers that look more like space art than book covers though.

These Broken Stars did start off a little slowly in my opinion, the first thing I thought of was the movie Titanic. The different status’ between Tarver and Lilac, the way the higher status treated the lower status, located on a ship even if it was travelling through space, the ship wreck. However as the story progressed it was nothing like Titanic and became it’s own story. The first few chapters introduce the characters, their circumstances and how different they are from each other. I found myself wishing it would hurry up so something different would happen, luckily for me the book didn’t dwell too long on the beginning and life on board the Icarus.

These Broken Stars is a love story, when I had heard that about this book I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I was wrong. I loved this. This love story isn’t insta-love, the characters don’t pine after each other, they don’t think stupid things like how ‘intoxicating’ they smell to each other or how much they want to take each others clothes off. I mean I’m sure they do think that but we don’t read it as it’s not important pertaining to their survival. This love story is raw, heart warming and also heart wrenching.

Lilac and Tarver somehow manage to  escape the Icarus as it’s somehow pulled out of hyperspace too early. Their escape-pod crash lands on a planet that they realize has been terraformed by one of the large companies, yet they seem to be alone which is puzzling and perhaps worrying. Tarver takes immediate action and works to keep himself and Lilac alive, even if he can’t stand the woman and she criticizes everything he does.

I ended up really liking both Lilac and Tarver, I was glad we got to see each of their points of view in the story. The romance builds up and sneaks up on them without them even realizing which I loved. It felt believable despite their differences and status’. I mean I may have even cried at one point which never happens, I’m never moved or invested enough in a story to really feel it as much. But These Broken Stars ‘gave me all the feels’ as everyone puts it. I was very invested in this story and these characters, I was even invested in this world and the planet. These Broken Stars was just brilliant.

Overall These Broken Stars was a compelling read. It was intense getting to see how Tarver and Lilac had to work together to survive, it was addicting to read, the world was rich, the characters were rounded, and the universe that this series is set in is scary. I loved it. I completely adored this book.


This review was originally posted on Simply Adrift