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These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 12 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 13 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2015

    If you like Sci-Fi then you'll love this.

    I loved the characters in this book and how they developed so well with the story. I'll admit there was some twist and turns that I DID NOT SEE COMING but it was worth the read. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    My initial thoughts when I saw this book made me think of Acros

    My initial thoughts when I saw this book made me think of Across the Universe. I'm not big on space and sci-fi, so I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one. So I kind of forgot about. I took a second look after a few positive reviews came in and decided maybe it might be something I would like. I'm glad I did because this turned out to be one of the better books I read in 2013!

    Lilac and Tarver are about as different as can be. I liked them both immensely. I think that I might not have liked Lilac if we only had Tarver's point of view. She comes across exactly how one might think the daughter of the richest man in the universe would. But in all honesty she's behaving how society and the world expects her to behave. Deep down she's smart and wants to be recognized for something other that her father. Tarver is young and being recognized for a military feet that most soldiers never obtain. But, he's still a little green when it comes to how to behave with upper society. When you throw these two together on a deserted planet, you can bet sparks are going to fly.

    I admired how Lilac tries to keep up with Tarver. She doesn't want to be the rich girl in a gown and high heels traipsing through unfamiliar terrain. She wants Traver to see her as she sees herself. Throughout their journey to the wreckage of the Icarus and then to an abandoned outpost building, she proves herself over and over again. She's more than just her daddy's girl. Tarver was harder for me to pin down. He's all business. It's been trained into him and he doesn't seem to have time for the girly and snobbery that he believes radiate off of Lilac.

    There's more than enough actions to go along with the romance in this story. There's the voices only Lilac can hear. Is she going crazy? Or is there truly something on this seemingly deserted planet. Tarver ends up in a delirious and semi-conscious state that Lilac has to figure out how to nurse him out of. And what exactly is behind the locked door at the outpost building? The biggest shocker of them all happens here. I really could not believe that it did. I was ready to put the book down at that point.

    I ended up being completely impressed with this book. With how the events unfolded, I have no idea were this story can go next. I wonder how Lilac and Tarver proceed?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Tarver Merendsen would be quite happy to be anywhere but on boar

    Tarver Merendsen would be quite happy to be anywhere but on board the Icarus. Being on the luxury spaceliner is certainly easy with finely appointed public areas and beautiful people everywhere. But it is also claustrophobic with cameras and gossips everywhere eager for a sighting of the famously young and heroic Major Merendsen. If Tarver had known his actions on Avon would lead to this kind of attention he might have made very different decisions while dealing with the rebels on the terraformed planet.

    As the daughter of the richest man in the universe, Lilac LaRoux knows all about terraforming new planets and the unrest that sometimes come with colonization. She knows more about space travel and technology than is seemly for a girl of her station. She also knows that it would be very, very unwise to have anything to do with an upstart military man like Tarver. So Lilac does what she always does and pushes him away.

    Unfortunately that doesn't matter much when the Icarus is pulled out of hyperspace and crashes.

    Suddenly Lilac and Tarver are thrown together on a seemingly abandoned planet.

    With no one but each other, this unlikely pair builds a grudging respect and even friendship. As their relationship turns into something more than either could have imagined, Lilac and Tarver's dreams of a life together are derailed by the strange mysteries on the planet and the impending threat of rescue in These Broken Stars (2013) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

    These Broken Stars is the first book in Kaufman and Spooner's Starbound trilogy (which functions as a set of companion books each featuring different narrators).

    This book is written in alternating first person narrations as Tarver and Lilac tell their story.

    The dual narration structure is used to excellent effect here to highlight Tarver and Lilac's changing opinions of each other as well as to examine key plot points from multiple views. Although Tarver and Lilac's voices are not always as distinct as they should be, the narrative is done so well that it is a minor problem at best.

    The bond between the characters builds organically to create a romance with an extremely solid foundation based on mutual respect as well as affection. Unfortunately despite these stellar protagonists and a strong plot, the latter part of the novel does drag in places. Ultimately, however, the story does build to a stunning conclusion that will leave readers eager to see more of the world Kaufman and Spooner have created.

    These Broken Stars is an atmospheric sci-fi story with hints of mystery and romance. Tarver and Lilac are both self-aware characters with as much agency as spunk. Lilac, a tech-smart girl, is a particularly satisfying character to watch as she comes into her own after the crash of the Icarus. An excellent and action-packed novel for science fiction fans.

    Possible Pairings: Avalon by Mindee Arnett, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Alienated by Melissa Landers, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

    *A copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2013*

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  • Posted August 2, 2014

    By page 20, I was hooked. This book is like Titanic mixed with A

    By page 20, I was hooked. This book is like Titanic mixed with Across the Universe mixed with Firefly/Serenity mixed with Article 5 mixed with Halo AND Aliens mixed with every survival story ever. And yet, although it shares elements and plot points with all these stories, it manages to stand by itself as something unique and interesting. See, first, we're on the Icarus (SO ill-named, a fact that Lilac discusses at one point) rubbing elbows with the fancy first-class, but then the ship is evacuated. By the magic of book luck and plot manipulation, Tarver and Lilac end up alone in an escape pod. They manage to detach from the ship and land on a nearby planet–that they've never heard of before. Enter survival mode. How is this unique? you ask. Well, there's also an absolutely insane paranormal-y twist that I didn't expect at all. It's so subtle that I was questioning Lilac and Tarver's sanity right along with them.

    First person dual pov is such a blessing because we can hear BOTH main characters' thoughts. I knew immediately that Lilac was no princess, that there was a lot more to her. She's so smart, so calculating, but not necessarily in a cruel way, except when necessary. She's strong and passionate and utterly likeable. Likewise, Tarver isn't the big dumb soldier that he pretends to be around others. He's also smart and he's considerate, but he also makes the tough decision occasionally to be momentarily less kind in a life-or-death situation. While in those moments he seems like a jerk, Tarver is totally the kind of guy who would sacrifice anything to keep someone else safe, even the girl who publicly humiliated him, especially the girl who publicly humiliated him, and that's a testament to just how good of a person he is.

    Amie and Meagan did a great job creating these two characters that I loved very early on. I sympathized with every rough moment, every harrowing near-miss, every injury. I cheered every obstacle cleared. I was completely engrossed in this slow-building romance that reminded me of embers that are slow to ignite, but when they finally catch, they blaze with such heat and light that you have to step away. The romance, when it happened...just WOW. And the thing is, it wasn't insta-love. When two characters go through such hardships, it's no wonder that they grow close, but it wasn't just that. It's apparent in their first meeting that Tarver and Lilac have a deeper connection.

    I loved every aspect of this book. I feel like everything was addressed properly and in good time. I absolutely loved that Tarver's investigation co-incided with the novel. Those chapter breaks gave me something to look forward to when things dragged OR got too intense. It was like listening in to Tarver's side of the story, but getting the full thing since we know he's being selective with his answers. The breaks also gave good insight to a snarkier, slightly resentful Tarver, which was definitely fun to watch.

    Why didn't I give this novel 5 stars? I can't really say. I think I'm giving it some growing room. I was sucked in by page 20, but by page 120, I wanted a break. I didn't have to read it all in one sitting. I always wanted to finish, but I didn't absolutely HAVE TO FINISH IT RIGHT NOW. But by the end of the novel, when I woke up at 2 AM and couldn't get back to sleep immediately, I wanted to finish. The drama increases and the stakes rise exponentially in a mad conclusion.

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Calling all intergalactic/Titanic fans...this book is for you!

    Calling all intergalactic/Titanic fans...this book is for you!

    When it comes to science fiction, I don't think I've read anything quite like this. I loved the story! I slipped into the world as easily as walking out my front door. The best part was that I never really left that world; I kept living in it even when I wasn't reading. The characters were rich and dynamic, believable. I loved their connection and how they learned to lean on each other in order to survive.

    It was kind of like Titanic in the beginning with the unsinkable ship going down and the spoiled rich girl falling for the handsome man below her rank. There are breathtaking scenes of action, and some beautiful moments of bliss. It was a gorgeous story set amongst the stars.

    There were only a couple of things I didn't like about the book. The first is that the characters were unnecessarily mean to each other in the beginning, especially considering their situation. The other thing was their relationship pace. Throughout the book, they steadily grew together, but then, only hours after their first kiss, they suddenly hop in the sack together. It just seemed weird to go from nothing to sex in a matter of hours, especially considering the strict moral code Lilac adhered to previously.

    It was an intense book of survival and love. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would, and I can't wait for the next book to come out. I'm really interested to see what else these authors have in store for us!

    Content: Some language (no f-words) and non-descriptive sex. I would recommend this only for ages 14 and up for those reasons.

    Cover: Gorgeous! I love this cover. It's beautiful. The way Lilac and Tarver's hands reach for each other reminds me of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. The cover hooked me and ultimately made my decision to read the book. I'm a sucker for a pretty cover!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Loved it!

    This was addicting

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  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Can't wait for the companion book to be released. I actually cri

    Can't wait for the companion book to be released. I actually cried at the end on this one.

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  • Posted January 13, 2014

    This book is perfect part sci-fi and romance. There were points

    This book is perfect part sci-fi and romance. There were points where my heart broke, I cried, and I laughed. There is second book coming soon (and possibly third) and I can't wait. Great characters and story line. Can't wait for this series to be complete!

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  • Posted December 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** These Broken

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
    Book One of the Starbound trilogy
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Publication Date: December 10, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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.

    What I Liked:

    I literally just finished this book and ahh, I don't know how to review it! I know I really enjoyed this book, and I know that there were some things that I wasn't quite sure about, but for some reason, the write words are not coming to me, to write this review. So, um, if this review seems scattered in any way, I apologize! I really just don't know how to review this book - I'm at a loss for words! In a good way, I believe.

    Tarver and Lilac meet once, twice, before everything goes to naught. Tarver doesn't realize until after the second encounter, when Lilac is a complete b**** to him, that Lilac is the spoiled daughter of the richest man in the universe, Monsieur LaRoux. Nobody goes near Lilac LaRoux because of her father and the LaRoux reputation - untouchable. But none of that matters when the Icarus is torn from hyperspace and crashes onto a planet. Lilac and Tarver surprise by safely entering an escape pod before the ship breaks apart and crash lands.

    Lilac and Tarver also crash land on the planet. It seems to be terra-formed, but Tarver's military knowledge keeps him cautious of this unknown planet. Lilac, on the other hand, has a horrible time adjusting to this new change. She's used to being pampered and waited on, and when she realizes it's just her and Tarver, her attitude turns nastier and more selfish than before.

    Most of this book deals with Tarver and Lilac exploring the planet and trying to survive. Kaufman and Spooner did an EXCELLENT job of keeping this realistic. Survival was not easy for either character, but especially not for Lilac. Princess couldn't even handle walking - her impractical shoes prevented her from keeping up with Tarver many times.

    In this sense, Kaufman and Spooner characterized Lilac and Tarver VERY well. Lilac is nothing but a spoiled Daddy's girl, used to the REALLY good life. I hated her at first, bu I came to realize that it wasn't easy being her (despite living the privileged life), that she didn't necessarily ask for that life (though yes, she never really complained), and in reality, she changed quite a bit, from beginning to end. Lilac's transformation was very appealing - it made me really like her, by the end of the book. Her strength of character really shined by the time we got to the interrogation. 

    And Tarver. I love Tarver so so so much. He is easily my favorite character of the book (granted, there aren't that many, but still). His strength of character impressed me more than Lilac's. Tarver is a decorated war hero for good reason, and he uses his experience to survive on the mystery planet. He also has a great deal of patience, to not punch Lilac in the face or leave her with the pod or something. Honestly, I might have done one of those things, in the beginning.

    Or all of them.

    But anyway. Yay Tarver! He's awesome. He really made this story interesting. I like that Kaufman and Spooner integrated both characters' points of view in this novel. It helped me understand (and like) Lilac more, and I just loved reading Tarver's scenes. He's a pretty great guy!

    The plot of this novel is slow, in my opinion. It's all about survival, and explaining how Tarver and Lilac survived takes time. Also, building up to what the heck is going on with the planet takes time. A lot of time. Almost the whole darn novel. Yawn. I'll talk about that later.

    Romance - great. The progression of Tarver and Lilac's relationship is slow but realistic. In a difficult and hopeless time, they still fall in love with each other. SOMEHOW, Tarver deals with Lilac's snootiness in the beginning, and in the end, for good reason.

    The end... well, you'll just have to read this one to know what I'm thinking! But it was pretty... crazy.

    What I Did Not Like:

    As I mentioned before, this novel's plot is kind of slow. I put this one down several times, because it wasn't interesting at that point, or because I was bored and wanted something DYNAMIC to happen. Not many dynamic things happen in this book. Ship breaks apart. Boy and girl survive, explore planet. Girl is ridiculous, boy is amazing. They find out things. The end happens. I mean, that's basically it. 

    And honestly, I really don't understand what's wrong with the planet, and the illusions, or whatever. It doesn't make sense to me, with the energy and whatnot. You'll have to read the book to know and understand what I'm talking about (no spoilers from me!), and I hope you do, because I really didn't understand everything. I feel like the explanation part, or the climax, is a bit rushed, and things aren't very well explained. Like, all of a sudden, Tarver and Lilac know exactly what is happening, and they totally understand each other and everything, but we as readers are still kind of in the dark. 

    It could just be me, but I doubt it. I'm usually pretty astute with these things.

    Would I Recommend It:

    I would definitely recommend this book to just about anyone! I have a deep love for science fiction, as well as a good romance, and this book/the authors did a great job of delivering both of those. I really did enjoy this book, despite a few things I didn't understand or like.


    4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars.This book is definitely going down as one of my favorite reads of 2013!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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