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These Broken Stars

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Sometimes it happens that I get bitten by the hype monster. Once

Sometimes it happens that I get bitten by the hype monster. Once in a while the hype monster disappoints (case in point, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”), but most of the time, it leads me to a book I love so much, I want to shout from the highest mountains for everyone to ...
Sometimes it happens that I get bitten by the hype monster. Once in a while the hype monster disappoints (case in point, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”), but most of the time, it leads me to a book I love so much, I want to shout from the highest mountains for everyone to read it! Yes, my friends, today I want to shout from the mountains that These Broken Stars is the one book you just have to add to the top of your reading list…like in yesterday already!

The first time I saw this book, I was won over by the gorgeous cover, but the synopsis indicating that this is a love story in space, made me go “meh”. I’m not one for romance, okay? Much less romance in space. But following all my favorite blogs via email, I noticed one after the other five-star review for this book and I thought to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Then I also thought that if my favorite reviewers enjoy it, it can’t be that bad. So I set out to get myself a copy of this much-talked-about book and I jumped right in. And you know what? All those five-star reviews? They were spot-on. I was completely blown away by this romance and now I want you, yes YOU, to read it. No, no, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care if you like romance or sci-fi or not. You HAVE to read this book! You’ll never be able to tell it was written by two authors on complete opposite sides of the world. Folks, this book is simply phenomenal.

One reviewer compared this book to Titanic. Wait, before you roll your eyes. I’ll agree that in some ways it did remind me of the Titanic movie, but it’s also a completely original and extraordinary story all on its own. You’ll just love Lilac and Tarver! I did.

~The bandages look clean. “Did you wrap my hand up?”
“Mmm. You didn’t like it much. You have the foulest mouth I’ve ever encountered, Major. I didn’t even recognize half the languages you can swear in. I’m glad I’m not one of your soldiers. Still, it was rather educational.”~

Lilac took a while longer to grow on me than Tarver did, but once she showed me what she was made of, this girl turned out to be precisely the type of female lead I wish to see more of in YA and romance novels. She’s tough, but gracefully and femininely so.  

~Crash-landed on an unknown planet, a black eye on the way, and the contents of her stomach now in the underseat storage locker, and she still feels the need to act like she’s above it all.~

At first it was easy to believe that Lilac is a spoilt, naïve heiress. But once disaster strikes and the Icarus is headed for certain doom (and I don’t say this lightly), we get to see that Lilac is nothing like what we’ve seen of her so far. And as the story progresses, so much more of her character is revealed and I liked her more and more. I pretty much fell in love with Tarver right from the start. He’s a gentleman and war hero who hasn’t let fame gone to his head. Lilac and Tarver are literally from different worlds and different backgrounds, and like Romeo and Juliet they can never be together. But then tragedy strikes and they both end up being the only survivors on an abandoned planet. Or, at least, they think they’re the only ones on the planet. So, now you have this spoiled socialite and an experienced soldier - two people who can’t stand each other - stranded on a strange planet with only each other for company, and who have to rely on each other for their survival. You can only imagine the laughs that could possibly ensue with the pairing of two such different characters.

~It’s only through an exhausting combination of frequent rests and liberal insults that we make it through the next few hours. I could tell myself that I’m doing it because she’ll get back to her feet just to spite me-but the truth is, I really just want to piss her off.~

After they crash-landed, these two hardly get along. And because this is quite a lengthy read, we get to spend some time with Lilac and Tarver in their quest for survival trying to make it to the fallen Icarus in hopes of finding other survivors. And as the days pass, we get to know them more and more.

~This stupid, arrogant boy. How old is he? He can’t be more than a couple of years older than me, yet he acts like he’s got a lifetime of experience just because he liberated one tiny outpost once. A one-trick pony with a chest full of medals.~

Layers are being peeled away as Major Merendsen and Ms LaRoux gradually fall in love. And that was the selling point for me: the gradual romance. There were no pages and chapters going on and on about how these two lust after each other or how hot the one thinks the other one is. No. They delve deeper into each others’ characters, and that’s how they eventually fall in love.

But simply a love-story this is not. This is a balanced, superbly plotted, well-rounded tale of survival, discovery, tragedy, compassion, and mystery with a hefty amount of heartwarming feels at its core. It’s not just Tarver and Lilac falling in love, but the reader falling for and rooting for these two beautiful, wonderful, far-from-perfect characters. Don’t go telling me that sci-fi is not your genre of choice. There is no Star Trek-ish or Scotty-beam-me-up elements in this novel. It’s just two people trying to survive in a world somewhat different to our own. And geez, are they put through the mill! For those readers who appreciate a few good twists and a memorable tearjerker, I can assure you there are a couple of mammoth twists and a good gut-wrenching-sobs cry hiding behind this stunning cover. Oh, and another few tears right at the end for good measure.

After finishing These Broken Stars I understood without a smidgen of doubt why others are writing such lengthy gushing reviews for this book. I just feel like going on and on and on about this masterpiece! Honestly, I finished it in one day. I read until my vision blurred and still I couldn’t put it down. No mushy romance, no content that needs an age restriction. Just a slow developing breathtaking tale of love and endurance in a time far into the future, but with none of the alien elements that would alienate (see what I did there?) non sci-fi readers such as myself from reading this amazing book. Just do me a favor…no, do yourself a favor and add These Broken Stars to your reading list asap!

posted by Books4Tomorrow on January 4, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

I'd like to know why the nook version is $18!?! It's on kindle f

I'd like to know why the nook version is $18!?! It's on kindle for $10 and even the hardcover is only $12... seems ridiculous to overpay by so much.

posted by Lindsey_Nicole127 on December 18, 2013

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  • Posted July 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyed, but Plot Dragged

    These Broken Stars seems to be a book that people either really loved or really hated. My feelings on this book fell somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed parts of the book, but other parts really lagged for me. This is one book I’m glad I got out of the library to read.

    The premise of this book was more promising than its execution. I loved the idea of the spaceship crash that throws together two very different people in an unfamiliar environment. However, the plot dragged throughout the whole middle, and a book that really only has two characters faces its fare amount of challenges in holding the readers attention.

    The beginning and end of this book are the parts I really enjoyed. The story had such potential in the beginning. I loved Lilac and Tarver’s interactions while onboard the Icarus. They both had strong characteristics and good backstories. The crash of the Icarus was heartbreakingly beautiful — in many ways it reminded me of the sinking of the Titanic. I had high hopes with seeing how Tarver and Lilac dealt with being ship wrecked, hoping that it would making them stronger characters.

    However, the whole middle dragged. I did not like how the characters acted. Lilac became very weak and whiny. Even when forced to fend for herself, she still felt like she need Tarvers there to prop her up and support her. Her character during the middle of the book at times really annoyed me. Tarvers was the stronger of the two characters and the one I had a stronger connection with. I wanted to see what happened to his character more than Lilac. There were many times during the middle of the book that I wanted to put the book down because NOTHING was happening. The ending slightly redeemed the middle and was not what I expected.

    The romance between Tarver and Lilac fizzled. In the beginning, I could see the spark and the potential. But, as the story went on, it felt like the romance was their because it had to be there. They were the only two people on the planet, so of course that’s what had to happen. I wish that the same spark from the beginning was able to carry through the whole book.

    I did really like that their were snippets of Tarver’s interrogation from present day before chapters and eventually the storyline of the plot and interrogation overlapped. It was a nice structural device that was really interested to read. I think I liked the interrogation transcript more than the actual plot sometimes.

    Despite this book being written by two people, the two authors voices blend very well. It’s really hard to tell who is writing what parts. There were some really beautifully written scenes, including the ship crash, that I really enjoyed reading. I’m always intrigued by books written by two authors to see how well the two authors blend, and Spooner and Kaufman do an excellent job of that.

    Overall, These Broken Stars just didn’t cut it for me. I enjoyed parts of it, but a dragging plot really pulls the story down. I’m interested in the companion sequel This Shattered World because we will get new characters facing a new set of challenge. I still have some doubts about it, but I do plan on checking it out when it's released.

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  • Posted June 19, 2014

    There was a point when I thought I wasn't going to finish These

    There was a point when I thought I wasn't going to finish These Broken Stars. It was about 75% of the way through. Is that odd? That I was so close to finishing, yet wanted to just walk away... I thought it was ridiculous; what happened towards the end. To me, the direction the story was going was fantastic. I needed more. I read the middle like it was nothing-it took me a few hours. I was completely engrossed. Then, the big event happened... and it wasn't even a big moment. I couldn't believe it, I didn't even know that it did happen. I felt it was so glossed over and inconsequential that it was downright upsetting.

    The ending was utterly disappointing. I thought the authors were brilliant. I thought they had a good thing going. Every other chapter was told from Lilac and Tarver's point of view, the science fiction elements were a backdrop to the story and romance... and it was totally impressive. But, with the addition of those elements to that ending, I felt it was a total departure from what they could have done. This series will be three books. It looks like each book will be about different events with different main characters fighting "the [same] good fight". This would be fine if all of their stories were tied altogether in one final epic showdown, but I don't think that's what's planned. Instead, we have a universe that I feel will be incomplete. Maybe that is unfair to judge before it's finished, but I don't see how the unfortunate holes can be redeemed.

    These Broken Stars begins with Tarver's point of view of the moment he sees the most beautiful girl in the universe, Lilac. There were inconsequential details scattered throughout the chapter that I did not enjoy. It felt pieced together and too odd for an introduction. Lilac's chapter, however, saved it for me. Every other chapter was a saving grace. Somewhere the tide turned and I felt myself liking Tarver's voice better... and then once again, Lilac's.

    I probably would have given up if it weren't for the Lilac & Tarver relationship. Does that make me a sucker?

    I totally loved Lilac and Tarver's relationship. Virtually the entire book was a build-up of their blooming romance. I found it exciting. There were parts that I had to get through in the beginning that made me wonder if it was going to be worth all these pages, but it worked out for the most part. The ending, however, was not okay for me. It was too quick, too cheesy, and definitely NOT believable. I was angry that I was so gullible to believe in half of the story! Lilac's father was basically the leader of the universe, yet he turned out to be a literary villain-in-disguise. He did bad things, we were supposed to hate him... then we leave him alone to just float around and continue on.

    I am hoping the next book in the series covers more of him in the universe at large. I hope it isn't just another young love-fest. Wait... yes I do! I hope we get a better version of Lilac and Tarver, and I hope we get to build on what they gave us to further our knowledge of their messy universe.

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