Wednesday, December 25, 2013

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars
By: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

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.

Wow. Oh wow. What a ride in this book! I've heard nothing but rave reviews of this book since the ARCs first started coming out. Now I get why! The characters are delightful, the world was interesting, and the writing was really great.
Let's talk about the characters first:
Lilac: I loved her. Her story arc was terrific and her development, both mentally and behaviorally was through the roof (which I love to see, especially for characters that only get one book from their perspective). I loved that her strength was something other than physical power or even brain power (although she had fair amounts of both by the end). Her power was in turning tables, dissecting conversations. Her power lay in very social situation; she could read people. So it was interesting seeing her thrust so thoroughly outside of the world she was used to, but then seeing her use her strengths from that world throughout her development.
"If my father were here...He'd tell me to find the power in this situation and get it back."
I also appreciate that despite her slightly vapid behavior and her shallow beginning, she truly is good a the core of her. It was just letting that part of her show that was the issue.
Tarver: I really liked him. I think his character was well developed. He was exactly what this story needed, moral, hard-working, and a bit too sure of himself sometimes. I think all of his flaws perfectly contrasted his attributes. That being said, sometimes I felt like something was missing when reading his chapters. I'm not sure what it is, so I don't know if that still counts as a viable critique, but I did feel something missing. But I did enjoy his character. I especially loved his and Lilac's bantering and it was cool how it kept them motivated in the beginning. I loved all of his comebacks.
“Major, to what extent did you act upon your feelings for Miss LaRoux?"
"Excuse me?"
WOAH. As wonderful as the characters were, I think the plot is where this book really shone for me. It was engaging, enthralling and it kept you guessing. It was very well-thought out and very, very well-written. Along with the plot of the story, the pacing matched the plot fantastically. It wasn't too quick, leaving time for the proper character development, but it wasn't slow either. There were rises and falls before the ultimate climax.
The tone of this book was also one of its strongest points. It was so clearly sci-fi, in the best possible way. I feel like sometimes sci-fi tries to hide behind other things, like it's afraid to be so openly science fiction. But this book didn't feel ashamed of all of its science-fiction (it's a word if I say it's a word) goodness. The scale of the adventure managed to work its way into epic territory, while the relational aspect remained intimate. It felt like both a large story and a quaint one simultaneously, which makes for a very good mix.
"You don't mention death when it's hovering near someone you love. You don't want to attract the reaper's attention."
"I nearly killed it when I fell of the roof and landed in the middle of it, but it was tougher than it looked. Kind of like another Lilac I know."
“And there it is, against all hope, like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. The smallest hint of a smile.”  

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