by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Published by Hyperion on December 10, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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Oh, what a lovely book. That was my first thought as I finished These Broken Stars, a science fiction epic by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.
The book is a mix of old and new: a luxury spaceliner on her maiden voyage and the nouveau-Victorian guests within who dress in top hats and ball gowns; future technology and basic survival. A lot of the initial set-up, including rebel colonists and terraformed outer planets, reminded me a bit of Firefly. There are shades of Robinson Crusoe and even Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead, but despite all these inspirations that I saw in the book, These Broken Stars stands on its own.
Also standing on their own are the wonderful characters Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen. Each is damaged in their own way, but they both have a resilience that I admired. They surprised me, which is always nice. I absolutely loved the way authors Kaufman and Spooner show these two slowly growing and challenging themselves as they face the unknown. Whether that’s Lilac learning how to hike—in heels!—through a decidedly non-virtual forest (a first for the coddled girl) or Tarver learning to accept help and lower his defenses. It’s a wonderful journey.
These Broken Stars isn’t quite what I expected. It’s not action-packed, but it is tense. It’s mysterious, but not a mystery. It’s ephemeral and raw at the same time. It makes the book hard to pin down, but also kind of hard to forget. And even better—I found it completely satisfying. This is the first in what is going to be a trilogy of companion novels (so, not quite sequels), but as far as Lilac and Tarver’s story is concerned, I loved where we left it.