The Sunday Review: THESE BROKEN STARS - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) 

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.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
  - Goodreads


If you're an avid book blog reader like I am, you've heard about this book. You've probably heard gushing and exclaiming and squeeeeeeing and all kinds of shipping (or, as Gillian Berry from Writer of Wrongs so cleverly put it, spaceshipping). So it's not like I went into this without expectations. I was prepared to be carried away on a river of stardust into an unknown universe full of magical storytelling, romance and FEELS.

This book... I'm just really confused. So I'm going to try out a new review style - I'm going to give you my impressions halfway through the book, then at the end of it, because I can't figure out how to reconcile them into one cohesive (and coherent) review. 

Here were my impressions at the halfway point:

At about halfway through the book I began to feel a little discouraged. But I held on, because I trust my blogging mentors and they all loved it. Plus, I really didn't want to be the ONE blogger in all the world who did not croon on at length about the wonderfulness that is this book.Or, you know, finish it.

I'd heard this described as sorta, kinda like Titanic in space, but I wasn't prepared for it to literally be Titanic in space. I mean, the plot is different, but the characters and basic premise? Waaaaay too familiar. Which, for lots of swoony gals is probably a wonderful thing, but unfortunately I was never a really big fan of Titanic to begin with.

Then there's this mixed up time period thing. They act like they're from Victorian times (or some other very prim, proper, long-dressed, bygone era - I'm not hip to historical periods) but plunked down sometime way in the future. So they talk like they're in an Austen novel while discussing holograms, terraformed planets and using some sort of stun gun... in space. It's all very muddley.

But the biggest thing for me was that I didn't really connect to either of the characters from the get-go. Mainly Lilac. Oh man, is she ever annoying. I just can't with this girl.

My impressions by the end of the book:

I'm now officially pretty much the only book person on the whole of the internet who didn't go crazy for this book. I was relatively unaffected by it. I didn't once feel the need to use the hashtag #TheseBrokenFeels, for example. (At least, not in the same way as everyone else - though it did seem eerily appropriate for my conclusion that my feels actually were broken - because I didn't have any).

I've spent the past two weeks since finishing this book trying to figure out what on earth (or off it... get it?) is going on with me and this book. Because I need to give you guys more than just "I didn't dig it." I think the main thing that I reacted badly to was the way the characters are presented. I didn't like that Rose (sorry, Lilac) not only acted like a bitch, but that since we were in her head, we got to hear her manipulative game playing first-hand and unequivocally. This meant that when the authors tried to make her a more sympathetic and worthwhile character later in the book, it just fell flat for me. Maybe I just have very little patience with high maintenance chicks. But I kept thinking, it's only been two weeks on this planet, and I find it hard to believe that all of a sudden she's this wonderful, selfless, useful, self-reliant person.

Fine, but that doesn't make you Kaylee. Or a good person.

And Tarver... well, I had no problem with him initially. He was one of those salt of the earth, hard-working, humble dudes who just wants people to stop staring at him and stop being fake and fancy. I get it; that's pretty much how I'd feel on that ship. But then he goes totally gaga when he sees a pretty girl even after she's a complete bitch to him. I have no respect for that. Just go into your corner of shallowness and be shallow and leave me out of it.

So both of these characters made their respective genders look bad, and I hated them for that.

Maybe it just wasn't my bag - neither was Titanic, if I'm being perfectly honest. Maybe it was just so hyped that I had astronomically high and unrealistic expectations for it that almost no book that wasn't written by Rainbow Rowell could live up to. Maybe my feels really are just on the fritz. But by the end of this book I hadn't changed my opinion much from when I started it. Which is to say I found it mildly entertaining, and I didn't entirely hate the characters. At least, not all the time.
I didn't hate this book, but I didn't go nuts over it. Which probably just mean there's something wrong with me. I'm sure you'll love it.


Book Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Edition: Hardcover
Published By: Disney Hyperion
Released: December 10, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Date Read: February 17-22, 2014
Rating: 5/10


  1. Aw it sucks you didn't enjoy this as much! I've heard so many good stuff about it too but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I will still check it out though just to see what the hype is all about. Great review and love the gifs! :)

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

    1. I'd say check it out, because so many bloggers loved it. I'm the outlier :) I think mostly I just had way too high expectations, and the characters and Titanic similarity just weren't for me. I can see how other people would be more into it, so don't pass it up on my account! Just hopefully you'll go in with slightly lower expectations and be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. *hands up* I'm a swoony girl who thought it was wonderful, shameful but there's no point in trying to deny, less even when it will show up in my review haha

    I never actually thought about the Victorian times theme before your review, yes it knew that they were all prim and proper but it never crossed my mind, but then again I was probably blinded by my own love for the book (p.s love the Maggie Smith, I don't watch Downton Abbey yet myself, but from what my mother has said she play one hell of a character.)

    Lilac was annoying from time to time and even though I wouldn't say that I felt myself connecting with her, I would be lying if I said I didn't like her.

    I would be someone that used #TheseBrokenFeels on twitter, I am guilty of being that sad. Plus when I'm lying in bed at 12 oclock, kindle in hand, crying my eyes out at a certain chapter it would be hard for me not to use it. I did feel my heart break haha.

    there is nothing wrong with you, you're as sane as the rest of us haha Like I've already said to you, it really is ok to not like the popular books :)

    even though its a shame you didn't like it as much, still a good review as always :)

    1. You know what really did it for me? I just thought of this - but I think it was anticipating crying over the book in the early hours of the morning. I knew about #TheseBrokenFeels before I started the book. I read everyone's reviews talking about how it broke their hearts and tore them out of their chests and pulverized them. I think I went into it trying not to get attached because I KNEW what was coming.

      So in addition to having very high expectations of the story that it just couldn't ever really live up to, there was also this kind of self defense aspect of not wanting to let myself get attached. That probably really affected how I felt about it as well.

    2. that makes a lot of sense. No matter how much you try to shy away from reviews of hyped books though it is hard.

      Like I said I never knew anything about it before hand so I didn't know what was coming and just couldn't handle the way the character was taking it (do you know what I'm talking about? not sure how to do spoiler alerts on comments or if you can at all haha) so when it happened, although I didn't feel much for what had happened, I felt myself breaking inside to the reaction of it and how lost they were.

      Like I said, its hard to stay away from reviews and even more so when a book is as anticipated as These Broken Stars was, but hopefully you will find yourself less affected by them. Or you could just do what I do, normally wait a year for the hype to die down then read it without anyone else's expectations clouding your mind :P (TBS was an exception, the cover was just to pretty to not have haha)


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