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

Nightbooks
A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Intoxic
When Alison Hayes walks into her storm-darkened trailer the afternoon...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
Ranch Hero
Kid lit with a comic book twist! This is a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Black and White Ball
In a lush and bountiful woodland, teeming with magnificent wildlife,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kai's summer changes when she gets a summer internship at...
 
0.0
 
4.3 (1)
Zoe is just your average teenage girl expecting another average,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Frango & Chicken
Some things seem impossible, but with the right attitude and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ruby Lane
Ruby is overexcited again, and her brain is spinning creative...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Girl Gone Ghost
A gripping psychological thriller. Inspired by a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice
A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde
Texas: 1931. It’s the height of the Great Depression, and...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Voyage of the Dogs
SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing. We are...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Flying in a Cage
A song tugs inside me, like a string pulling...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Shorty & Clem Blast Off!
The energetic and zany duo Shorty and Clem are back,...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Bear's Spooky Book of Hidden Things: Halloween Seek-and-Find
If you want to keep kids happily busy for hours...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde
 
4.3
"Bonnie Parker is waiting for Clyde to be released from prison. It's 1931 and she wants him to come..."
Here to Stay
 
4.7
"Bijan Majidi does okay in high school-- he has a good friend, Sean, is on the basketball team, and while..."
Hiding Lies
 
5.0
"HIDING LIES is the second installment in the Eleanor Ames series. It begins with Ellie and Miles saying goodbye since..."
The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3)
 
5.0
"Apollo, now known as a human teenager named Lester, must restore five Oracles that have gone dark in order to..."
The Red Ribbon
 
5.0
"Fourteen-year-old Ella is striped down and treated as subhuman by the Nazis and tries to survive. When she hears of..."
Strange New World
 
4.3
"Dahlia 16 just found out her whole life is a lie and that she's not a clone after all...."
Ascent (A Peak Marcello Adventure #3)
 
5.0
"After their disastrous climb in The Edge, Ethan, Alessia and Peak are looking for some adventure that is a bit..."
Uncle Tom's Cabin
 
5.0
" “Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow is capable of good.” To be..."
Brave New Girl
 
4.0
"All Dahlia 16 knows is that she's just one of five thousand identical girls that's sole purpose is to work..."
The Last Best Story
 
4.7
"'The Last Best Story' by Maggie Lehrman is provocative and intriguing, bringing a shadow of a doubt to the truth-finding..."
Picture Us in the Light
 
2.0
"I tried, but I just could not finish this book. I could only make it to chapter three. It is..."
Little White Lies
 
4.0
"LITTLE WHITE LIES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a novel mashup of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars set in..."
Missing at 17
 
3.0
"When Candice, better known as Candy, discovers that she's adopted, she feels betrayed and angry. These negative emotions make her..."
Let Me List the Ways
 
4.3
"'Let Me List the Ways' by Sarah White is a breezy and engaging look at the relationship between two best..."
LIFEL1K3
 
4.3
"LifeL1k3 is an engaging novel full of incredible writing, violence, action, romance, and strong world-building. Told in third person, and..."
Playing Her Secret Crush
 
4.0
" "Playing Her Secret Crush" follows Katie and Alex as they enter their senior year of high school. Katie has..."
The Year of Living Awkwardly
 
4.7
"Chloe Snow is a high school sophomore who is struggling with the abandonment of her mother. She also is absorbed..."
Six of Crows
 
4.7
" A clever and dark YA fantasy—featuring a well-rounded cast paired to a heist plot that tugs at the mind..."
Three Dark Crowns
 
2.3
"Original Review: literarychaos.com Rating: 2.5 Stars I really wanted to love this book, unfortunately, I just..."
These Rebel Waves
 
4.7
"THESE REBEL WAVES is the first book in a fantasy duology by Sara Raasch. The story is told in third..."