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4.6 out of 5 stars
These Broken Stars (Unabridged)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
So when you look at how long people had been waiting for this book I guess you could say I found out about it pretty late on the grand scheme of things. I think that's because of the time I had to take out of blogging, which also meaning avoiding the blogs because that just what I did. Anyway when I first heard about this book I wont lie, the summary sounded good but it was the cover that had me interested, it is so friggin pretty that if I was giving the chance, I really would frame it and hang it in my house (I'm not sure how much my OH would like that, book he would just have to put up with it haha)

This book is a dual POV book and it works so well (I may be biased because I love books from different point of vies). The first character we have Tarver Merendsen, a solider who who is seemingly nothing more important than that, not coming from a wealthy family his status in the army is what gets him noticed. And he's ok with that. Then we have Lilac LaRoux, a socialite and the one and only child of Roderick LaRoux, one of the most powerful men in the galaxy. From the start both characters play the people the passers by's persevere them as. Lilac a spoilt little rich girl and Tarver the war hero. Until their paths cross on Icarus one of LaRoux Industries ships, and a prestige one at that. Tarver has no idea who Lilac is, or he wouldn't be chatting her up, Lilac on the other hand knows who he is but plays innocent. After all it is only a harmless conversation with someone she'll never see again, or so she thought.

In a freak accident, the ship is being violently ripped through hyperspace causing Lilac and Tarver to share an escape pod, and when Lilac is forced to tinker with the pod in order for it to detach itself from the ship, Tarver is realising there is more to her than meets the eye. When they are marooned together on an unknown planet the surprises keep on coming. Strange things are happening all around them and despite what they thought at the beginning, they might not actually be alone on this planet. With the need of survival and trust, they two slowly but surely become closer and build a friendship.

What I liked about this book is how the relationship between both characters is slow building, as the time goes on and they are faced with more hardship they become closer. They aren't just instantly together (friendship or other wise) from the start. I really do hate books where the relationship seems so false and fake because its rushed, thankfully it wasn't a problem with this one. Both of the character were well written, both with in depth back stories. Yes, it was like Titanic, and normally that would put me off but I found it odd how this was something that I absolutely loved about the book.

I couldn't put it down. I wanted so badly to read it faster than I did but find it difficult to read more ad more lately (a mothers work is never done haha) Anyway, like I said, this book was really good. I know a lot of people had its issues with book, but for me they weren't there. I wanted so bad to like this book before I started reading it and instead of just liking it found myself reading till all hours of the night in bed crying sometimes haha.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
These Broken Stars was a highly anticipated read of mine, and I'm sure a lot of other bloggers and readers felt the same, so I was delighted to receive it for review. A sci-fi is just what I needed, and on top of that there was a hate-to-love (kind of) relationship, and survival stuff.

I looooove survival novels! LOVE THEM. And to have Tarver and Lilac trek across an unknown planet was just the perfect book for me. I always loved seeing them face off various dangers, cuddle up for warmth, and discover the answers to this new planet's mysteries.

These Broken Stars was unexpectedly creepy! I was reading it with Judith, and we both reached the creepy parts at about the same time. These parts gave me goosebumps, and I texted Judith and was like... is this happening? Lilac starts to hear voices on the new planet, and you know what? Voices are the creepiest thing in all of Creepdom. Especially when there is no apparent face or body or person to match up with these voices. NOPE.

One of my favourite aspects of These Broken Stars was Lilac's character growth. It was pretty awesome. I loved reading about the difficulties that she went through, and it was great how she went from rather snobby and depressed about her life to pretty freakin' badass. I also loved how she kept saving the day, because Tarver was okay at this survival stuff, but Lilac was the brains and the hero of the operation.

Lilac's father's presence in These Broken Stars was also very well done. We hear a lot about him throughout the novel, yet we don't meet him until the very end. However, that doesn't mean that his presence isn't felt. Lilac's father is everywhere you turn, from having built the ship that crashes, to having a remarkable effect on Lilac's life and choices.

I was very worried that this was going to have instalove because the first couple of chapters were very "I saw her and I loved her" and "His eyes are the colour of the forest which means we're meant to be", but no. I needn't have worried. Sure, there was attraction that was pretty instant, but the two characters definitely didn't fall in love easily. The romance progressed a little too quickly for my liking, but I am a fan of the slow burn, so I could have waited two more books for them to get together.

The ending was a little bit weird, and that's the reason this book didn't get the highest of points with me. It reminded me of the ending of Feedback by Robison Wells, and we all know how I felt about that ending. There was a tiny bit more closure, yes, but it was still very weird and slightly confusing. The explanation could have been better.

I also would have preferred the ending if more brutal choices had been made, but what can you do?

I'm very much looking forward to reading the companion novels in this series, because I think that Kaufman and Spooner work well together, and also because I just really love books set in space. I'm a little disappointed that the second book in this series doesn't feature two male MC's, because the synopsis made it seem like there was a lot of potential there. But whatever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2015
You may well be looking at this book because of it's cover art. I know that's one of the things that drew me in. This book is beautiful inside and out. It has excellent world building that allows you to visualise the planet they're on but also to understand a little about the wider universe they live in without overwhelming you with information. For most of the book there are only two characters, Lilac and Tarver so I think the fact that I didn't get bored of reading about them and their evolving relationship really tells you how well these characters are written. Their relationship isn't easy to begin with and you find yourself siding with both of them on different issues especially as the chapter point of view alternates between the two of them.
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on 21 February 2015
This February I joined in the Booksplosion Readathon, book of the month, These Broken Stars, Starbound#1, moderated by book tuber Jesse (JesseTheReader) on Goodreads.

My review:

Major Tarver Merendsen war hero, is stationed on the Icarus, the "Newest, fanciest ship to come out of orbital dock." Tarver approaches Lilac, a girl who he's attracted to, but his well-intentioned attentions to Lilac LaRoux are rebuffed, in a very nasty manner. Tarver doesn't know who Lilac La Roux is, to him she's just an attractive young woman that he'd like to date. Later Tarver finds out why. Lilac happens to be the spoilt brat daughter of the wealthiest man in the universe. Lilac expects everyone to recognise her, and everyone normally does, no exceptions. Even though Tarver is a war hero, he is not someone who Lilac would socialise with. Her friend Anna warns her: " Who cares how many medals the major managed to wrangle in the field? He's still just a teacher's son."

When the Icarus suddenly develops problems with its hyperspace engines, Tarver is all too aware of the danger. Even though Lilac treated him appallingly Tarver can't help but be a soldier hero. He jumps after her to help her escape the riot of panicking crowds. He escorts Lilac to an escape pod.

Tarver expects to sit beside her on that pod whether she likes it or not. Who can deny him this? Stuck up Lilac isn't too keen on the idea of Tarver frequenting the same pod as her, but Tarver isn't about to listen to her: "The soldier lifts both eyebrows. Miss LaRoux, there are five seats in that pod, and I mean to use one of them. We may not have five minutes. It seems like something's pulling the ship out of hyperspace before it's supposed to."

Lilac and Tarver crash-land on a deserted planet. Lilac initially seems more concerned with her, "Two thousand Galactics' worth of shoes," than with anything else, but it turns out that Lilac isn't just a pretty, empty headed spoilt brat. She knows a lot of technicalities about "interdimensional travel," hot-wiring, and electrical circuitry. They soon realise the shocking truth that they are the sole two survivors stuck on this strange planet. Will Tarver and Lilac be able to stand each others company? Will they survive and make it home?

These Broken Stars is a blend of sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal and romance all in one. The book has a lovely cover that just matches the endearing contents inside. I particularly liked the romance in this book, the characters grow and develop so much as the novel progresses. The romance unfolds slowly, and this makes it all the more heart-warming and believable for the reader.

I love the romance!!!!

Lilac changes from a stuck up spoilt brat daddy's girl, to a young woman who appreciates that life is precious, much more so than her previously prized material possessions. The friendships that she had aboard the Icarus were built on snobbery and hollow values. Those expensive shoes, and dresses may look lovely but are worthless on this planet. She finds out some shocking truths about her dad, reveals a new-found strength of character, and discovers that her father can't manipulate her any more.

Tarver remains pretty solid throughout, there are no massive surprises with this guy, apart from the fact that this soldier has suffered heartbreak in his family life. This human side adds depth to his character. He isn't just the perfectly trained soldier equipped to deal with every crisis, he has emotions, and feelings too. I loved how the book allowed us to see the thoughts of both Tarver and Lilac through dual points of view. These Broken Stars relies heavily on these two characters as we spend practically all of our time with them so Tarver and Lilac have to be engaging and interesting to carry this of.

The Icarus reminded me of the Titanic of the Sci-Fi world. The space ship that should never had crashed but did, killing so many people. "But who names a starship the Icarus? What kind of man possess that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?"

Lilac starts seeing ghostly images, hearing whispers, and simple life forms such as a flower, start resurrecting. There is a touch of the paranormal in this novel which adds another element of interest that readers will enjoy.

Throughout the book, and before the start of each chapter there are transcripts of single page interview sessions being conducted with Tarver after his rescue. I found these an interesting way to break up the chapters but at times I felt that they revealed a little too much about the plot.

The emphasis in These Broken Stars is on the developing romance and growing love, understanding and respect that slowly develops between Lilac and Tarver. That suited me! But possibly Sci Fi fans may be a little disappointed at the lack of detail about the space ship Icarus, and the planet that they crash-land on.

It works well as a standalone novel, as the story comes to a very satisfactory conclusion. I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

I would recommend it for readers of Young Adult, Sci Fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Aliens, Fantasy, and of course Romance.
My blog:
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I'd heard great things about These Broken Stars but even though I had high hopes for the story I had no idea how much I would actually love it. As it turns out I was completely hooked from pretty much the first page and nothing could have got in the way and made me stop reading it! I was captured by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's writing style, I wanted to dive into the world they have created and I fell head over heels for the main characters. This is the kind of book you want to live in, one you'd happily wipe from your memory banks just so you could experience reading it for the first time all over again and I can't wait to carry on reading the series.

Lilac is the daughter of the wealthiest man in the galaxy, she has lived a pampered life and been handed everything she could ever wish for. She is surrounded by people who adore her but she knows that most of them are only there because of her wealth and status so although she looks like she's living the dream she's actually rather lonely. As much as she loves her father she feels suffocated by him and she knows all too well what he will do in the name of protecting her and keeping her safe. Tarver is pretty much her opposite, born to a lower class family he is a soldier who has worked hard for everything he's ever had. As a war hero he now finds himself surrounded by the galaxy's elite travelling on the Icarus but he knows he is there more as an oddity to entertain them than because anyone really has any respect for him and he'd much rather be on the lower decks with his fellow soldiers. Lilac and Tarver aren't from the same social circles and there is no real reason for their paths to cross but fate throws them together when their ship crash lands on an unknown planet. Alone and in hostile conditions they are forced to work together to survive while they wait for rescue.

I don't want to say too much about what happens when they are on the planet but I loved every minute of it, they are fighting for survival while trying to figure out how the Icarus could crash the way it did but for every answer they find they end up with even more questions. Nothing makes sense and there is an even deeper mystery concerning the planet that they now find themselves stranded on. I think what I loved most about this book was the character development and the utterly delightful romance between Lilac and Tarver. I loved seeing their feelings slowly start to grow as they went from disdain for each other through reluctant respect and eventually into friendship and love.

Lilac can come across as quite cold and standoffish towards Tarver in the beginning which makes it really hard for him to get to know her but because we get to see things from both of their points of view readers can understand that she's doing it to protect him from her father. I liked the fact that even though she has been spoiled her whole life she isn't completely useless, she has some skills and even manages to save Tarver's life on more than one occasion. She never complains but instead grits her teeth and gets on with things. Tarver is much more experienced in survival matters but he doesn't pamper Lilac, he expects her to pull her weight but at the same time is happy to teach her what she needs to know. The two of them work really well together and I enjoyed spending time with them both.

These Broken Stars kept me on the edge of my seat, there was one particularly shocking twist that left me trying to pick my jaw off the floor and I'm still shocked by the way things played out but I love it when author's manage to pull on my heartstrings and that's exactly what happened here. I know it's only February but would be very surprised if this book isn't in my top 10 reads of 2015 and I absolutely can't wait to make a start on This Shattered World! If you love stories with rich world building and fantastic characters then you need to pick up this series today.
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on 31 January 2015
I still don't read enough YA sci-fi. I don't really know why, especially when what's out there is as good as this was.

At it's heart, this was a romance between two people who couldn't be together - separated by social standing, personal traumas and misunderstandings. But there were some pretty neat sci-fi concepts decorating the old 'star-crossed lovers' trope.

The concept of the Icarus - a ship that has always existed in the vacuum of space, never coming into any planet's atmosphere - was a clever one, both because it feels realistic and because it allows for the spectacular destruction of the ship when it crashes, making the set up of Lilac and Tarver being the only survivors out of 50,000 passengers feel more plausible too.

In fact, the science throughout is pretty good. I don't know how realistic it is - I'm not a physicist - but it feels plausible, and really for a story that isn't meant to be hard sci-fi, that's all that really matters. It elevates the story, rather than becoming a distraction.

There are some definite horror elements too - which I appreciate, because all the best films about space have some horror element (Alien, Sunshine etc.) Space is a terrifying thing, and it should be a little bit scary at times. The sequence where Lilac starts hearing voices made a bit of a shiver go down my spine - and made me keep turning the pages, because I had to know what was going on.

I really liked Lilac and Tarver as characters too - they were very different, but had enough similarities in their history that the attraction and connection between them felt believable. I love the stuck up rich girl gets tough routine, and Tarver using his soldier techniques to keep her motivated - there was a real journey towards each other that made the eventual romance all the more satisfying.

I've seen that the next book in this trilogy features different characters. While a part of me is a little disappointed that I won't be spending much time with Lilac and Tarver again, I like that the authors have been brave enough to do this. These Broken Stars left the story of Tarver and Lilac at a point where they didn't really have anywhere else to go (not in a bad way) and to spend more time with them would be indulgence rather than plot necessity. I enjoyed this so much, I would be happy to spend more time in the world, and trust the authors to deliver a great story with great characters, even if they aren't the ones I've already grown fond of.

So, if you like YA Sci-fi, definitely pick this one up - it was a brilliant read and kept me up quite late at night as I raced through to the end. Really compulsive and engrossing.

Rating: 4.5/5
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on 13 January 2015
Series: Sleepless Series #1
Publication Date: December 2013

Summary: "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."

This is a beautifully written space opera, with elements of the paranormal. The plot is very much survival-based, and in the course of the novel the relationship between the survivors grows, which makes this book stand out.

The writing is beautiful, the descriptions are exceptionally well done, without any elements of purple prose; it flowed exceedingly well. The romance was well built, and completely believable, although a little overwhelming at times given the environment and the situation.

I wound up liking both of the characters, even if I didn't start off that way. Lilac and Tarver's relationship and its development was the best thing about this book. Lilac's character is a bit annoying in the beginning and, truly, I just wanted to punch her, but in the course of the novel she suffers some major character development.

Even being a great book, I still have reservations about it that, in my opinion, keeps it from being a even greater novel. That includes the slowness of the plot, the unconvincing character of Tarver (even though I love him very much) and the complete lack of world building.

The plot dragged on at times because an overwhelming part of the book is composed of the pair traipsing through an alien planet, trying to survive an unknown environment. The narrative flows well, but Tarver's character isn't as convincing as I would like him to be as the lead male.

Overall, I really, truly enjoyed this book, and it is absolutely in the running for one of my notable reads. Absolutely recommended, and I cannot wait for the next two books in the series.
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on 3 June 2014
I decided to read this book for two reasons. The first was that the story sounded really interesting, and the second it because after reading the Sky Chasers and Across the Universe books, I was looking for a good YA sci-fi book. This one is great. Though for me it doesn't reach the level of either of the aforementioned books, I am intrigued by the world created in this novel, and I'm definitely interested in continuing the series.
Tarver and Lilac were an irresistible couple. The back and forth between them was amazing, and I really liked the pace at which the relationship developed. It didn't feel rushed, or too slow, or forced. It was just natural and brilliant.
They were both such great characters, with interesting and rich backstories that got explored as they got to know each other. I also loved the dual narration in this book. I'm a huge fan of dual narration, and for this book it was perfect. The blending of the two narratives was done really well.
I also loved the insertion of the interrogation of Tarver. I thought that definitely added to the book.
As far as negatives go, what I'll say is that in places, not many, but enough for me to mark it down from a 10, I found the book a little slow. I was hoping for edge of my seat stuff, and there were a lot of moments like that, but for me this isn't the kind of book that kept me flipping pages (or in this case listening). Sometimes I wouldn't even finish a chapter before putting it down again, but when I picked it back up and finished it, I did really enjoy the story. It's just that on a few occasions I found it a little slow.
Overall this is a great book, and I'm looking forward to continuing the series to see where this story will go next.
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on 31 March 2014
I enjoyed 'These Broken Stars', and despite being reminded of the old film, 'Forbidden Planet' throughout the middle section of this book, it felt fresh and new.

The book alternates its chapters between the male and female leads, Tarver and Lilac, with each speaking in the first person. Each pair of chapters is then followed by a brief series of questions that appear to be Tarver being de-briefed by some sort of military types *after* the mission - and hence it's no spoiler to say that we know from the start that Tarver, at least, escapes the planet.

This is a romance in a sci-fi setting, rather than a sci-fi story with lots of romance. It does have action scenes, and some, particularly the initial disaster, are striking. Other dramas get a bit lost because we hear Tarver and Lilac's thoughts in so much detail, that the action is almost in slow-motion. It also means that we see a lot of the romance developing via the contents of Tarver and Lilac's heads, rather than via interaction and dialogue. I didn't realise I'd miss the emergence of a relationship from an observer's perspective so much. Is there such a thing as knowing too much about your characters?

Now I've had chance to digest the book, enjoyable romance aside, I think the most effective part is those brief pages where Tarver is questioned after the event. Some of the questions are downright creepy and some are peculiar; they allow us to guess more more about the hidden characters, such as Lilac's father, and it's impossible not to dread this sinister man. I guess we'll hear more about him in the next two books in the trilogy.

An additional point: this book actually has an ending, unlike so many YA/paranormal trilogies, where there's a huge cliffhanger at the end, and - if you've bought the book hot off the presses - you then have to wait two years to get the end of the tale. I'm REALLY glad this one doesn't do that.
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on 31 January 2014
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Disney Book Group and Netgalley.)
Tarver is a decorated soldier and a war hero. Lilac is daughter of one of the most powerful men in the universe.
They meet on board the Icarus – a giant spaceship capable of holding 50,000 passengers, but not capable of going through a planet’s atmosphere. The Icarus is a space-dwelling vehicle only, made by Lilac’s father’s company.

When the Icarus is unexpectedly pulled out of hyperspace, everybody heads to the escape pods, only for the escape pods to not launch due to a surge or electricity. Suddenly the Icarus is crashing, and the odds of survival are low.

Lilac and Tarver survive due to both of their quick thinking, but now they’re the only living inhabitants of a partly-terraformed planet, and it seems that rescue is not on the way.
Can Lilac and Tarver find a way to survive? Can they find a way to signal help? And can they find a way to live with each other in the mean time?

I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like this, and I really enjoyed it!

Lilac was an interesting character in that even though most would have thought that she lived a charmed life, she had suffered at the hands of her father, and had had to find ways to live with the things she knew. She did come across as a little spoiled at times, and had a bit of a diva attitude at times as well, but was actually remarkably able to adapt to the difficult circumstances she found herself in, and really showed what she was like on the inside rather than the outside.

Tarver was also an interesting character. Firstly because he pushed Lilac to be better, and secondly because he never lost hope that that was possible. He took a difficult situation and somehow made them survive, which was nothing short of remarkable.

I liked the storyline in this book. It was just so unique, and the mysteries and surprises just kept coming and coming. This was not your average dystopian, or survival story, and at times I really didn’t want to put this down.

The pace in this one was quite slow, and the middle did drag a little bit. This didn’t last long though, and the mysteries were enough to keep me interested, and keep me wanting to read. I liked the mysteries, I liked the romance, I liked the suspense and I even liked the occasional creepy moment. This book seemed to have a bit of everything, and I even found myself crying at one particularly sad moment, which very rarely happens to me! So glad I wasn’t on the bus at the 75% mark or I think I would have got some really funny looks!

The ending of this was also surprising, and I liked the way we got snippets of Tarver being questioned at the end of each chapter, so we knew that they would eventually find their way home.

If this book reminded me of anything, I’d suggest it reminded me of the TV show ‘Lost’, with the unexplainable happenings and the inability to know what would happen next. I thought the whole thing was really nicely done though, and it will be interesting to see what the second story in the series has in store.
Overall; a truly unique and enjoyable sci-fi/dystopian/mystery story, with a touch of romance.
9 out of 10.
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