Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 5484
Shipwrecked... IN SPACE
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
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.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

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

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Take Me Home: Forests of the World
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Bite-sized facts about forests from around the globe, pointing out...
Hurricane Summer
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the...
All Kinds of Other
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one who...
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
At the Midnight Ball, leave your inhibitions at the...
The Forest of Stolen Girls
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani's family has never been the...
Go the Distance
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if Meg had to become a god? After...
In Deeper Waters
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger...
These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates...
Take Me Home: Waters of the World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bite-sized facts about bodies of water from around the globe,...
This Is My America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching...
Colors in Nature
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magnificent, hand-painted illustrations by a rising star of Czech watercolor...
Welcome to Arizona
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Arizona! We're glad you're here! Introducing a new...
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
It's Mouse's first day of school. It's Dinosaur's first day...
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact...
Counting Down with You
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this sparkling and romantic YA debut, a reserved Bangladeshi...
There's No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore About Our Favorite Foods
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From hot dogs and hamburgers to ice cream and pizza,...

Latest Member Reviews

I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
"I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL features Dinosaur and Mouse, who are both scared of their first day of..."
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
"‘The Mother of Monsters’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, tells the story of Ntombi, the chief's daughter. She..."
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
"‘Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is great for younger elementary readers and anyone who..."
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
"BASEBALL BABY is a delightful board book about baseball. The book begins with heading to the park to play baseball..."
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
"I AM NOT A PENGUIN is a silly picture book that manages to teach young readers about pangolins. A pangolin..."
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
"SAM CAN'T SLEEP is a fun picture book read that introduces the concept of nocturnal animals. It's nighttime, and all..."
Welcome to California
 
4.0
"WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA is a fun picture book of facts about the state. It covers topics from the state capitol..."
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
"ZOOM: DINOSAUR ADVENTURE takes the reader on a journey to the time of the dinosaurs. Jamie and Jasmine are going..."
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
"LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION is a delightful peek-through board book about firefighters. The book features pictures of children, firetrucks, and..."
Rosa Loves Dinosaurs / A Rosa Le Encantan Los Dinosaurios
 
3.5
"ROSA LOVES DINOSAURS/ A ROSA LE ENCANTAN LOS DINOSAURIOS is a fun bilingual board book about a love of dinosaurs...."
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
 
5.0
"Eva Evergreen is a young witch about to embark on her Novice Quest. As the daughter of one of the..."
Homer on the Case
 
4.5
"HOMER ON THE CASE is a delightful middle grade mystery, featuring unlikely detectives. Homer, a homing pigeon, and Lulu, a..."
The Thingity-Jig
 
5.0
"THE THINGITY-JIG is a fun picture book read about invention and friendship. Although all his friends are asleep, Bear feels..."
Bridge of Souls (City of Ghosts #3)
 
4.0
"What worked: This is a satisfying conclusion to City of Ghosts series. Engaging characters, fast-paced plot, and spooky magic woven..."
This is Your World
 
5.0
"THIS IS YOUR WORLD is a lovely picture book that introduces the world and the importance of taking care of..."
Mermaid Life: The Joy of Making Waves
 
5.0
"MERMAID LIFE is a fun collection of artwork themed around mermaids. With a few fun facts, silly moments, and inspirational..."
Yawn
 
4.5
"YAWN is a cute book about the contagious nature of yawns. A little boy begins a yawn that carries through..."
The Bear in the Boat
 
4.5
"THE BEAR IN THE BOAT is a sweet story of kindness and helping your neighbors. A storm is arriving, and..."
It's Bath Time! (Indestructibles)
 
4.5
"IT'S BATH TIME! is an adorable installment in the Indestructibles series. The book features baby animals and baby who have..."
I Really, Really Need to Pee!
 
4.0
"I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO PEE! is a silly picture book about a bush baby that is out and about..."