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.The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of a very rich, very powerful man. He wants her safe, so safe Lilac will be safe. From others, from herself, and (sometimes, but not always) from the truth. She puts on the mask of a socialite to hide her depths, and carries on proud and untouchable. That is, until she meets Tarver Merendsen, a young soldier from a different class and a different life. Their paths shouldn't have crossed. They can't have anything in common, until they do - they're both survivors of a spacewreck. Fighting for their lives on an uninhabited planet brings Lilac and Tarver together - to face the darkest truths of all.
I've heard These Broken Stars described as Titanic in space, and I agree, to a point. The catalyst of the story is, after all, an enormous shipwreck. It just happens to be in space, rather than the Atlantic Ocean. But beyond that, Kaufman and Spooner have started an adventure on an epic scale. This is not just a wreck. It's about the crash, about the journey, about devastating discoveries, about falling a little bit (or a lot!) in love with the only person left in your world, and about the aftermath of something terrible happening to one of the most important people in the universe. And no, it's not over after one book. I, of rampant series fatigue, can honestly say I can't wait to read the next book.
The story is emotional and pulse-pounding, and part of that is in the nature of the book itself - dual narration split between the two main characters. Lilac's voice was strongest, but both narrators contributed to convincing pacing and tension. The star-crossed/impossible future thing was intense, though it wasn't clear to me whether that was the result of forced proximity or true love. I suppose only the future will tell. Also left up to future books: a web of secrecy, power and politics that I believe will elevate this series into full space opera grandiosity.
Overall, These Broken Stars is a can't-put-it-down read, with a satisfying romantic element (no love triangles here!) and mystery. It wasn't startlingly original, but the execution impressed me. Will definitely appeal to both fans of young adult AND fans of sci-fi.
Recommended for: those who enjoy YA science fiction, fans of Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor, and those who appreciate a star-crossed lovers theme crossed with a dark mystery.
These Broken Stars will be released by Disney-Hyperion on December 10, 2013.
Fine print: I read an ARC of These Broken Stars courtesy of a Books and Sensibility ARC Tour. I did not receive any compensation for posting this review.