Review: These Broken Stars

3.25 out of 5 stars

Crashing space ships and intergalactic conspiracies? Don’t mind if I do. These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (Starbound #1)

IMG-4891Lilac LaRue, deubtante of the galaxy and heiress to the fortune of her father’s deep space tech company, is not the cossetted twit we expect. Well, she is when These Broken Stars starts. (With a name like Lilac LaRue, she’s bound to.) But when the state of the art flagship of her father’s intergalactic fleet is ripped out of hyperspace, crushed by the gravity of an unknown planet and kills 49,998 people aboard, Lilac survives. She even saves someone else: regular-guy-turned-celebrity war hero, Tarver Merenson.

Lilac and Tarver use their skills to traverse the planet, hoping for rescue. Lilac’s skills are electronics, beauty, and complaining. Tarver’s skills are everything else.* As they make their way across the terraformed but abandoned landscape, it becomes evident they’re not the only ones trapped there. Not the only ones hoping for rescue.

*He’s hot too, though. Obviously.

I could have used more science and less romance, honestly, but that’s for Amie Kaufman to write with Jay Kristoff. (Hat tip to The Illuminae Files.) Writing here with Meagan IMG-4890Spooner, the female duo gives us a space story with more feminine frills – and more emotional depth. Lilac comes into her own with realistic breakdowns, allowing the reader to come to like her at the right pace. Both authors were in love with Tarver from the first line, so we are too.

Ultimately, the twist is pretty wild: zagging one way, then the other, and you’re wondering how so many pages can possibly remain when the story is so very over – but it’s not. The ending is it’s greatest strength: revealing plot and character in one, taking a setting as grand as the universe and expanding it farther still. The backbone Lilac grows is admirable, and ends up carrying equal weight in These Broken Stars.

There are three books in the Starbound series, and several novellas by Kaufman alone. Away I go to the library….

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