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BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

| 28 November 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Allen & Unwin
November 2013
Paperback, $18.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



These Broken Stars is book 1 in The Starbound Trilogy. 

The Icarus; decadent, luxury spaceliner. Unsinkable.

Even the air here smells filtered and fake. The candles in the sconces do flicker, but they’re powered by a steady source. Hover trays weave among the guests, like invisible waiters are carrying drinks. The string quartet is only a hologram – perfect and infallible, and exactly the same at every performance.

Major Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux are just two of fifty-thousand aboard this ship – a ship so big it had to be assembled in space lest it collapse under its own weight – when something goes wrong and it is wrenched out of hyperspace.

There are specific procedures to be followed when exiting hyperspace; steps that will stop the ship from tearing itself apart. Steps that they’ve had no time to implement.

The Icarus is falling. She’s like a great beast up in the sky, and I imagine her groaning as she wallows and turns, some part of her still fighting, engines still firing in an attempt to escape gravity. For a few moments she seems to hang there, eclipsing one of the planet’s moons, pale in the afternoon sky. But what comes next is inevitable, and I find myself reaching out to put an arm around the girl beside me as the ship dies, pieces still peeling away as she makes her final descent.

And Lilac and Tarver may be the only survivors.

Lilac: spoilt rich girl, apple of her daddy’s eye, daughter of the richest man in the galaxy.

I hate the rain and I hate this planet and I hate the cold and I hate my stupid, stupid dress. And I hate Tarver, for the way he strides ahead without a care, as if there isn’t water falling from the sky, as if he doesn’t even notice. I hate the way he offers me his jacket exactly when I’ve gotten so cold that I can’t refuse. Just once I’d like to look like I’ve got myself together.

Tarver: farm boy, son of a poet, Army Major.

It’s the same white, pinched, blank face I’ve seen in the field. Two years ago, I was a brand new recruit myself. A year ago, I was hitting the field for the first time. That was me, freezing up until my sergeant grabbed my arm and hauled me down behind half a brick wall. A laser burned a hole right through where my head had been a moment before.

And, as happens when stuck with only someone from outside your world to keep you company, to keep you sane, they have their issues.

She considers the question, then nods, reaching up to tuck her hair back where it belongs. “Where will I sit?”
Sit? Why on this comfortable chaise lounge I’ve carried here for you in my pocket, Your Highness, so glad you asked.

And then they begin to grow closer, almost without realising it.

“Major, to what extent did you act upon your feelings for Miss LaRoux?”
“Excuse me?”
“How am I supposed to answer that question?”

But as they draw closer to their destination, Lilac starts to hear things – indecipherable whispers from nearby – and they both start to see things.

The hair on the back of my neck lifts, and I scan the plains behind me. There’s no sign of anyone, and yet as I stand there, heart pounding and ears straining, I hear another murmur. It isn’t Tarver’s voice, after all – it’s not quite as deep. It carries some emotion I can’t identify, and I can’t understand at all what it’s saying.

Are they losing their minds, or is there something to the whispers? And can they make it to the crash site in time to be rescued?


These Broken Stars is, at its heart, a romance. It’s about two people from very different circles finding themselves stranded in a situation in which they have to work together, in which circumstances they are forced to expose who they really are, and come to care for each other. This is not a tale of instalove.

The story is written in a good, clear voice, with enough humour and emotion thrown in, not to mention details on spaceships and planet colonisation, to have the reader glued to the pages.

While the plot in the first two thirds of the book is not particularly unique, following routes that are at times reasonably predictable, the solid writing keeps the reader engrossed. Once the final third is reached,  things begin to deviate and move into less predictable and more intriguing territory, and the layout of their society becomes a whole lot clearer.

This book can be read without fear of cliffhangers, as each novel in this series is a companion piece, rather than a direct follow on from the same story. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to dive straight into the second book (which you can totally do; this trilogy is now complete as of November 2015!), which may be what this reviewer did…

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but this one is gorgeous inside and out!






Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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