Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)


These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)Authors: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound, #1
Published: December 10th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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.

These Broken Stars, first in a new series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, offers something we’ve been trained not to expect from YA: awe-inspiring originality. Author collaborations are rarely successful, in my humble opinion, unless the authors involved are somehow closely connected. I am always hesitant to read such books, but these two have successfully proven me wrong. (This does not happen often, I tell you.) The story they came up with is not only beautifully written and entirely original, it is also stunningly complex.

At any given moment, my feelings for Lilac and Tarver perfectly reflected their feelings for each other at that point in the story. When they liked each other, I had warm feelings towards them both; when they felt nothing but contempt towards each other, I genuinely disliked them and resented them for how they treated each other. Needless to say I grew to love them both in time, just like they grew to love each other. This in itself is pretty impressive – a clear sign that Kaufman and Spooner are extremely competent authors who manipulate their readers’ feelings with ease. What makes it even more impressive is that they managed to portray a relationship that progresses slowly and naturally. Lilac and Tarver’s feelings for each other are always affected by their circumstances. This is not an empty, unbelievable, formulaic love story. It’s as real as it gets.

I find it interesting that a great number of authors who envision a futuristic society of any kind see us going back to old, almost Victorian values. It’s almost like they see that as a natural progression of our cultural and societal development, or better yet, something that occurs after the society reaches a breaking point. No matter how it comes about, it seems that the stiff Victorian societal rules are still considered to be superior to ours, which is, to say the least, fascinating. There is a certain Victorian prudishness in Lilac’s behavior, as well as that of her friends. Although they were certainly forced upon her, mostly by her father, Lilac often used these rules and ideas of what is proper as a shield.

The sci-fi elements were incorporated seamlessly. A lot happens in These Broken Stars and there’s a lot of information to take in, but Kaufman and Spooner found the right balance between worldbuilding, plot and character development. Their idea was brilliant, yes, but we see many great ideas utterly ruined every day. What matters is that they didn’t take a single wrong step in their execution, making These Broken Stars a read to remember.

The next book in this series will be more a companion novel, with different protagonists. Although Lilac and Tarver’s story has a nice, well-rounded ending, I still see so much potential and I hope the authors will go back to them at some point. I am quite fond of them both and I’m finding it extremely hard to let go.

A copy of this book was kindly provided yby the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.



27 comments:

  1. Wow. I feel so bad saying that this book didn't work for me. It seems like everyone loved it. The sci-fi part and space setting wasn't my thing, but I have to say that the writing and storytelling was brilliant. I couldn't even tell it was written by 2 authors. I'll definitely be on a lookout for more books by these author. I'm glad it worked out for you, Maja. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Yes, like you, I had such a hard time letting go of these characters! I loved their journey, their growth, and their romance left me so emotionally charged and spent simultaneously. It really is such a fantastic little book, isn't it? I'm so glad you enjoyed it just as I did, Maja - beautiful review!

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  3. I really feel like the black sheep when it comes to this book, I so wanted to love and it started off really brilliantly for me too, but I think I was just forcing myself through the second half :( But I'm glad to see that this story left such a great impression with you Maja! Fab review! :)

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  4. Wow, to be completely honest I expected you to hate this book! The mere fact that it defied even your expectations of a flawed book means I really must read it. I'm been a bit wary from all the reviews but I guess I have to take the plunge.

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  5. I was so worried this would be too sci fi for me but with all the great reviews I really want to read it now. :)

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  6. YEAH MAJA!!!! We're review twins today and gave this one the exact same rating! WOO HOO! So glad you loved this one as much as I did, and I agree completely with your thoughts on Lilac and Tarver. They were tricky to like at times (though Lilac far more than Tarver for me), but they both grew so much and I just loved how slowly their relationship evolved. I need book two immediately! Gorgeous review!

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  7. Yay for SciFi! It's so good to see it surging through the young adult book community. I highly enjoyed this story -- the characters had amazing voices. And, even though the ending was...odd, it was odd in a good way. Good to hear the next story's more of a companion, considering I felt that this one tied things up well, though there was potential there.

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  8. It does sound really really cool

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  9. (good collaboration book--> Dash & Lily's Book of Dares it's christmasy too :D)
    Honestly, I HATE the idea that we go back to 'our victorian traditions' in the future. It doesn't seem to make sense to me. After coming so far along, I don't want our future to go back into that place. :/

    But honestly, I haven't made up my mind about reading this book, so many people loved it and so many people didn't so I am just confused. To read or not to read, that is the question.

    Great review Maja! :)

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  10. Wonderful review Maja, my ecopy was horrible with sentences out of order and paragraphs broken up so I didn't get to review it, but this is going on my wishlist. I am glad it delivered!

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  11. I in NO way expected to enjoy this one but I'm so glad friends persuaded me to read it.
    I was expecting that Tarver would be swoony but I really loved Lilac as well. You're right - they weren't always likable and I liked how they evolved their views as the story was told.
    These Broken Stars was a big surprise for me. So original and fun!

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  12. everyone seems to love this one and now I think I should have taken it lol. And I agree with you it's always interesting to see the ideas of the author for this kind of worlds.

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  13. I love that the authors Kaufman and Spooner were able to find the right balance between character development, world-building, and the plot! I can't wait to dig into my copy. Everyone loves this one, glad you did too!

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  14. I loved it, too. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about the ending, though of course I'll say no more here for fear of spoiling it for someone.

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  15. Lovely review, dahling... I have my review for this up tomorrow and I, like you, was utterly blown away by the characters, world building and the sci-fi elements. I totally agree with your review. I hadn't thought about the whole Victorian angle but you are so right. I thought this was going to be just another lovely cover over a mediocre book, but I am so glad that it turned out to be so awesome!

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  16. It seems like you liked this book just a tad bit more than I did, Maja! You're totally right when you say that co-authored books normally don't work too well- the voice just manages to seem too different from each author- but these two pulled it off absolutely seamlessly. I really liked the unique sci-fi elements in here, but I thought that some of the other elements (especially the romance) were far too reminiscent of other books and that slightly bothered me. Also, the characters, especially Lilac, really grew on me by the end, and I just loved watching both Tarver and Lilac grow so much, both as individual people, but as a couple too.

    I didn't even realize that with futuristic societies, many authors tend to pull out Victorian ideals. But now that I think about it, that's totally true. So interesting. Must have to do with something about history repeating itself.

    Lovely review, Maja! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one so much! =)

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  17. I love how these characters took you on an emotional ride. Oh I've wanted this book since I saw the title. Such a great title and I'm glad it's insides seem to match. Oh and I love how the worldbuilding matches the characterization. Oh I'm so adding this to my huge wishlist! MINE! It should be mine! :)

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  18. I'm reading this one right now, so I've tried to just skim your review, but then got sucked in and just read it anyway. :-) I agree, this idea is brilliant, and so far the execution is wonderful for me, and very balanced. I'm not a huge fan of author collabs either, but I'm amazed at how well they pulled it off. I'm glad to hear that you feel that way at the end, and that you rate it so highly! Can't wait to finish it tonight. Wonderful review!

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  19. I like the sound of Lilac and Tarver

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  20. Lovely review, Maja! And after reading your thoughts on this, I'm willing to admit that perhaps the hype is justified for this one. I'm also wary of coauthors (although it's not like I've read many coauthored books; the idea of two people working on the same story just seems like it wouldn't work), but I'm glad to hear it works in this case.

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  21. Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Maja! I thought the authors did a great job collaborating and slowly making the reader fall in love with the characters. I had no idea that the second in the book in the series was a companion novel rather than a sequel. That's always good to know :)

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  22. I'm SO excited to pick this one up! I got it at the right time because all the glowing reviews have me wanting to drop everything and read it. I'm so glad it delivered!

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  23. I'm so so happy to hear you loved this one so much!! This one has turned into my most awaited book of the year and I'm still waiting for my preorder to arrive!!

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  24. Great review. Been meaning to pick this one up :)

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  25. I enjoyed this one too! Great review :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  26. I think it's the third review I seen of this today, I should stop looking at it heh. I want it, but will be a little while yet.

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  27. Great review! Just added this book to my Goodreads shelf :P I would always enjoy a smooth and gradual building love story especially mixed in fantasy world. Can't wait to start!

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