Mini Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars
Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Disney Hyperion
Released December 10, 2013
374 pages
YA / Scifi / Romance

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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.

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 here 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.

I readily admit that I judge books by their covers. These Broken Stars was supposed to be amazing because it has a gorgeous eye-catching cover. It didn’t even bother me that it sounded like Titanic in space because it could still be a gorgeous and amazing version of Titanic in space. Unfortunately what it was a lot of meandering without much in the way of payout.

Lilac and Tarver are on the opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. Lilac is the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the galaxy, traveling in high class finery, while Tarver is a recently decorated soldier from lesser means. He’s being forced to fraternize with the upper class due to some unmentioned act of bravery that got him a higher ranking and a bit of fame, but he doesn’t belong there.

After a couple of encounters, the two find themselves escaping from the hulking ship Icarus (probably not the best name for a spaceship) as it falls out of hyperspace. Once they land on the foreign planet where they spend the rest of the book, the rest of the story is trekking through dangerous, unfamiliar terrain with the occasional spooky mystical thing happening.

Both Lilac and Tarver spent a good portion of the book putting up a front to push the other away, making it difficult to truly get to know or feel involved with either character. The bulk of the plot is traveling until the very end, where things started to get twisty, but even then, the slow pacing kept me from truly latching on to the story. Something significant was missing for me and I’m not entire sure what it was. Perhaps I need more action besides man against nature or the not-so-supernatural elements should have started congealing into a plot earlier.

Whatever it was, I felt very disconnected from These Broken Stars. While I can’t say I disliked it, I never felt swept away by the story or felt any sense of empathy for the characters. It’s like the book held me at arm’s length and refused to let me in. Perhaps I just had too high of expectations with this being one of the prettiest covers of a sci-fi book that I’ve seen in years, but These Broken Stars was generally a disappointment for me.