“Lilac Rose LaRoux. Untouchable. Toxic. I should’ve been named Ivy, or Foxglove, or Belladonna.”
-These Broken Stars
For about two years now I have been following BookTuber Christine Riccio (youtube username: polandsbananasbooks). She was the one who introduced me to not only BookTubers but also most of the books I have come to love. When I need a book to read I simply scroll through her video archives and pick a random book. I have never been disappointed. Awhile ago, she and a few other BookTubers founded Booksplosion; the idea is pretty simple, they choose a book each month and at the end of the month do a liveshow discussing their opinions on it. It’s basically an online book club (don’t you just love this generation?). Up until now I’ve never actually read the book of the month, due to time constraints or other books I was currently reading. However, I had seen this cover multiple times before and thought “why not?”
I am so glad I chose this month to finally participate.
These Broken Stars, co-written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, is hands down one of the best YA books I have ever read. At it’s bare bones, it’s the story of the Titanic, except it takes place in outer space. However, the story is so much more than that. The world-building was amazingly detailed, the picture these writers painted was flawless, and the characters were individual and unique. The thing that stood out the most to me, however, was the dual POV. This is most definitely the best dual POV story I have ever read. Other stories that come to mind are Allegiant, by Veronica Roth, the last few books of the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. While I love each of these stories and believe that they were written by incredibly talented authors, they can’t hold a candle to These Broken Stars when it comes to dual POV. Each character had a very distinct voice, and I was never confused about whose POV I was reading. Tarver is a decorated military hero, who is aboard the Icarus for publicity. Lilac is the daughter of the galaxy’s wealthiest man, and seems to live aboard the Icarus. When the Icarus hits an unknown object and plummets to the nearest planet, Tarver and Lilac narrowly survive in an escape pod. The initial part is what makes it so similar to the famous story of the Titanic, however that is where the similarities end. They are then forced to survive on an alien planet, completely isolated from all living things, until help comes. I would try to come up with a more detailed plot summary, but the story contained in these 374 pages is so complex and detailed that I couldn’t possibly do it justice.
The buildup of tension and suspense in this book is very artfully crafted, and because of that this was one of the very few books that I finished in one sitting. I simply couldn’t put it down. While Lilac may initially seem like a bratty heiress, and Tarver like a soldier who thinks he’s both better than and unworthy of a girl like Lilac, the character development is incredible. I was immediately sucked in by their voices and unique characters. Another thing that helped keep my attention throughout the book was the details of the galactic world they lived in. Instead of rambling on and on about hoverboards and holograms and flying cars like my science fiction stories do, Kaufman and Spooner incorporated details about how hyperspace travel works, and different astronomical details that a layman may not know. While we learn about Earth’s ecosystems in school, Lilac learned about black holes and speed of light travel, something I found fascinating. The authors were also very educated on different survival skills, and that was reflected in Tarver’s character. Lilac says many times that she would die without him, in the literal sense, and she is right. They both have their own valuable knowledge, and it comes into play at different times in the novel.
The chemistry between Tarver and Lilac is undeniable, however this is not a gooey romance story from the get-go. Their initial meeting is filled with sparks, but once he realizes who she is, he develops an instance prejudice against her, and she writes him off as an arrogant war hero. Naturally, fate intervenes, and they are the only living beings on a foreign planet. However, it still takes them quite awhile to overcome their prejudices and admit their feelings for each other. It’s not a matter of it, but when ,essentially.
The only criticism I have is the very ending. It seemed rather hurried and thrown together compared to the rest of the book, and it had a very open-ending (which we all know I don’t particularly like), but it wasn’t one of those books that ends in a major-character death (I’m looking at you, Allegiant) so really how bad could it be?
I’d give this book a 4.5/5 stars. It was a completely original idea, beautifully written, and has one of the most gorgeous and eye-catching covers I have ever seen. I absolutely cannot wait to read the second book in the series (I may or may not have already ordered it on Amazon). So props to Christine Riccio for once again not letting me down, and I definitely intend to start participating in Booksplosion (and so should you)! For now though, go grab a copy of this incredible book!