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.
Last month I had the pleasure of buddy reading These Broken Stars with the gorgeous Jen from Nen and Jen – this book sounded like it was exactly my cup of tea. Star-crossed love? A hunky war hero? The promise of angst?
You may have noticed I referred to my potential enjoyment of the book in past tense. I wanted to love this book so badly and while it wasn’t terrible, it definitely wasn’t remotely as exciting as I was hoping.
Let’s start with the positives though, here are the things Jen and I enjoyed:
- Tarver was an actual gem. He tolerated Lilac stubbornly limping through a foreign planet in a ball gown and high heels with grace. I also loved how unapologetically confident he was – I was expecting a really shy, ‘I am not worthy of your time’ character so I think Jen and I were both pleasantly surprised by how upfront he was with his feelings and how he was never ashamed of his lower class background
- Lilac also went through some decent character development – she started off purposely acting the part of the spoiled, rich brat but she turns out to be a lot smarter than she initially lets on (and she eventually forgoes the ridiculous dress she’s wearing on the cover, thank goodness)
- For fans of Illuminae, you’ll appreciate the transcripts at the beginning of each chapter – seemingly from an interrogation Tarver is subjected to in the future. It definitely helps build the suspense (unfortunately it’s pretty much the only thing building suspense in this book)
Now for the tea…
- The crash that’s mentioned in the synopsis happens very early in the book, so I was expecting maximum action. But…but then almost nothing happens for about 200 pages. It’s just scene after scene of Tarver and Lilac trekking across this barren planet with a few ‘fighting for survival’ moments that were too brief to be truly satisfying
- And the dialogue between the two main characters was drier than the Sahara desert. Seriously. I’ve had more stimulating conversations with my cat. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Tarver and Lilac at all – and it didn’t seem like they were either, because they were still referring to each other by their formal names – i.e. ‘Major Merendsen’ and ‘Miss LaRoux’ halfway through the book, and not even ironically, either
- I usually love a book with multiple POVs but I felt that sometimes, the switching happened too fast and didn’t really contribute anything to the plot development so that we’d end up having a few pages of Lilac whining about the taste of ration bars and then switch to Tarver again. One of my biggest pet peeves are filler scenes – a few here and there are fine but when large chunks of the book are full of content that serve no purpose…
- All of the action was squished into the last 70-100 pages of the book and the resolution happened way too quickly for my liking. Jen and I both agreed that there were political elements that should have been explored further and were brushed off, and the conflict between Lilac and her father was so easily handled after the BIGGEST buildup that it was almost laughable.
I know These Broken Stars and the Starbound trilogy are VERY popular, so if you’ve read this book or have heard anything about it, I’d be really interested to hear your opinions!
Once again, thank you to the lovely Jen for buddy reading this book with me – I had the best time (and it was also one of the most chill buddy reads I’ve ever done, so thank you!)