My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I am not generally a science fiction fan, but a survival love story set in space? For me, “These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Tarver Merendsen is a decorated war hero from humble origins, thrust into a spotlight he doesn’t want. Lilac LaRoux is already used to the spotlight, but as the daughter of the richest man in the universe, she hasn’t had to work for anything in her life. When the luxury space liner they’re traveling on crash lands on a foreign planet, Tarver and Lilac must rely on each other if they’re going to get home alive.
Can I gush about the character development before I get to the romance? Because it was grand. I don’t care that there are only two characters in almost the entire story. Doesn’t matter. When you can read a whole novel almost entirely devoted to the same couple and still be disappointed that book two doesn’t focus on them some more, you’re looking at good writing. Both protagonists were so clearly influenced by their histories, even after they’d been separated from everything they knew. And though I may be in the minority here, I respected the decision not to add in too many random other people throughout the book. Much more realistic given the survival story premise.
The take on alien races within “These Broken Stars” was another thing I loved. Aliens is only an appropriate term here because this group is foreign and other to Tarver and Lilac, but I still appreciated that neither side was an aggressor. There isn’t much I can say without risking spoilers, but I thought the conflict between what these aliens wanted and how they had to get it was refreshingly handled.
And, because I can’t–read, don’t want to–skip the romance, let me just say I loved that too. This is definitely a slow burn sort of book, but dear God, the ending. I read the last 75-100 pages with my heart in my throat. As a final teaser, I’ll also say that the last chapter made me want to cheer. Sadly, day jobs tend to frown on hollering, fist-pumping employees.
If you like your sci-fi light but well-developed, give “These Broken Stars” a read. Different characters or not, I know I’m eager for the sequel.