Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Shipwrecked... IN SPACE

I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to pick this one up. First of all, it sounded a bit like Titanic: In Space!, (and to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a fan of how the movie ended. *sniffle*) Secondly, Illuminae was my first exposure to Amie Kaufman’s work (albeit in a different co-author form), and its recycled mishmash of sci-fi tropes sadly didn’t do anything for me. But several friends have spoken well of These Broken Stars, so I finally gave it a go.
I’m glad I did.

Told in alternating first-person from the POVs of Tarver and Lilac, the story gives the account of an unlikely pair of starship crash survivors. Lilac’s version is straightforward recall, while Tarver proves more of an unreliable narrator—as he is evidently in the midst of a debriefing, which gradually begins to sound more and more like an interrogation. The style of retelling is particularly effective in that we can be assured of Tarver’s survival and eventual rescue from the get-go… but not of Lilac’s. And there is the increasingly ominous sense that “rescue” is a loose term.

While this book does belong in the sci-fi genre, readers should go into it expecting more of a survival story with heavy romantic elements and a dose of mystery. What we do get of the worldbuilding is sensible and well-structured, but the emphasis is on the relational and personal growth obtained over the course of the hero and heroine’s trek across an enigmatic and seemingly uninhabited planet. Disgruntled far-flung colonies, greedy/unethical corporations, recycled Victorian fashion sense, starships named from ironic Greek mythology… Nothing particularly original going on, but for what it is, it's well executed.

I loved Tarver like I rarely love a protagonist male. He was believable from the start—believably masculine in thought and action, and believably a soldier in discipline and mindset. We’re given enough background not only to buy his exceptionally young “war hero” status (a fluke of mere survival, by his account), but to also accept why he entered military service in the first place (in misguided honor of his older brother.) He’s exceedingly mature, competent, sarcastic, and unassumingly noble. While I wish readers were privileged to more of the poet side of this warrior, he still came across as satisfyingly complex.

Lilac, on the other hand, was a harder sell. You get in the beginning that she’s more than just a pampered rich girl, living under the oppressive shadow of her nearly all-powerful father. But once the story shifts to the crash-landing and the survival/journey theme that makes up the vast majority of the plot, she persists in her wildly impractical ways. (i.e. she stubbornly continues wearing her high-heeled shoes on their day-long hikes through rough terrain until foot injury and infection risk set in, while also insisting on wearing a BALL GOWN even after a suitable jumpsuit alternative is found.) I was patient with her up until this point, where her pride overruled the basics of common sense and pragmatism.

Lilac does eventually wise up. But this reader had largely given up on liking her by that point, and so the romance was more of a biological inevitability than something I could staunchly root for. (Although I very much appreciated the slow-burn progression. Always nice to see a YA where insta-attraction does not even remotely equate to insta-“love.”)

I did get pulled out of the story a bit toward the end—which may be the result of an editing oversight. As it’s something of a spoiler, I’m designating it clearly. (view spoiler on Goodreads) Granted, I haven’t seen this bother any other reviewers as of yet. So perhaps it is not as glaring an oversight as my mind registered it.

Content Note: Minimal harsh language, within a reasonable context. There is sex, though not graphically described. (But despite the direness of the circumstances, there’s no mention or concern for contraceptive use.)

A few qualms aside, I enjoyed the experience. Looking forward to picking up the next book in the series. If sci-fi tends to intimidate you, I’d encourage giving this one a try.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Game Change
Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway is happy to work in his...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Wilder Legacy
The life of a Guardian is a dangerous one,...
 
4.8
 
5.0 (1)
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Keeper - Matefinder Next Generation Book 1
Anya has inherited her mother's gift. Born in a...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Spies Like Me
Can she bring these girls together? When she discovers...
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
Royal Bastards
Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father,...
 
4.0
 
4.0 (2)
Before I Let Go
Days before Corey is to return home to the...
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
From psychologist and children's friendships expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sword and Scion 01: Into the Dark Mountains
How lost one feels when his own character remains a...
 
0.0
 
4.9 (2)
The Pirates of Brisa (Wyrms of Pasandir #2)
When young Eskandar leaves his ship with the tough broomrider...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Building a Trade Empire (Wyrms of Pasandir #4)
Trade had been Shaw’s life, her dream, her future –...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journeys: Young Readers’ Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives
Books can change lives — and here are more than...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
In The Moonlight Meeting, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark, a...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Hidden Kingdom: The Nocturnals Book 4
A group of veiled creatures--a chameleon, stick bugs and assorted...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Sight of Stars
Seventeen-year-old Klee’s father was the center of his life. He...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Bokkaners of the North (Wyrms of Pasandir #3)
Against all odds, Eskandar and his bunch of ragtag youngsters...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
 
4.0
"Utilizing plain language and a kid-friendly presentation, Growing Friendships examines and addresses a wide range of socially detrimental issues such..."
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
 
4.7
"Honestly, I loved everything about this book. It’s filled to the brim with facts and numbers about the universe we..."
The Ultimate Guide to Gardening (Craft It Yourself)
 
5.0
"Don’t let the name intimidate you—this guide is as extensive as it is accessible. The book features 111 pleasingly..."
KLUTZ Circuit Clay Science Kit
 
5.0
"Hours of step-by-step projects--endless sculpting and light-up possibilities. This electrical sculpture kit contains four colors of conducting clay (purple,..."
 
4.5
"An eye-catching activity book that teaches the nuances of font topography—for the young aspiring graphic artist in your home. ..."
Heroes For My Daughter
 
3.7
"3.5 Stars A compelling concept with a lot of heart behind it. The book presents as a sort..."
Heroes for My Son
 
3.3
"True-to-life heroes--real people who've accomplished attainable yet noteworthy things. This book holds a timeless and intriguing premise. (Particularly in a..."
Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition
 
4.3
"This narrative nonfiction title follows the lives of several women who worked at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in..."
Lost in the Pacific, 1942 (Lost #1)
 
4.5
"A true and moving account of a WWII B-17 Bomber crew in 1942. I have to admit, while I..."
Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and its Pride on the Liuwa Plains
 
4.7
"From the point of view of one lioness, whom researchers called Lady, the devastation of an African habitat and its..."
The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes, and Ferrets!
 
4.3
"This brightly colored, comic book style is "told" to us by Arthur Inkblot, scribe of Queen Elizabeth's court, and his..."
Factastic: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World (LEGO Nonfiction)
 
4.0
"An entertaining encyclopedic primer, ideal for knowledge-thirsty LEGO fans. Coming in at 175 pages, FACTASTIC is a sizeable,..."
Famous Fails!: Mighty Mistakes,Mega Mishaps & How A Mess Can Lead to Success!
 
4.7
"What worked: This is a fun, quirky look at so-called mistakes, failures and what we can learn from them. ..."
LEGO POP-UP
 
5.0
"A masterpiece of folded paper engineering, loaded with a wealth of interesting LEGO history and facts. From its..."
LEGO Knights & Castles
 
4.0
"LEGO continues its tried and true tactic of combining real world pictures and period art with their cell-shaded cartoon figures,..."
LEGO Planets: A LEGO Adventure In The Real World
 
4.0
"In this informative introductory guide, LEGO borrows heavily from NASA images and taps a comic-style to walk kids through our..."
Science Experiments You Can Eat
 
3.3
"Disclaimer: Unfortunately I was issued only a one-chapter sample of the book (15 pages) rather than the book in its..."
Guinness World of Records:  Amazing Body Records!
 
4.7
"What worked: This is the perfect book for Guinness World of Records fans. This book goes over amazing body..."
Guinness World Records: Wacky Wheels (I Can Read Level 2)
 
4.0
"This 32 page book introduces readers to a variety of customized vehicles. Each picture, from the longest golf carts and..."
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
 
4.0
"This book is essentially a 40 page illustrated biography, suitable for children ages 6 and up. Offering a bit of..."