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.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
*I received a free ARC of These Broken Stars from Disney Hyperion via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
These Broken Stars is a beautifully written young adult novel set in a more or less distant future, when space travel is quite common, and several planets are colonized, but there is still war and those who hold power want to hold on to that. Many things seem very different from the way we live now, but at the core, human beings are still the same, with their hopes and dreams. They still love and hate, fear and show courage. The differences are in the science and the way people can travel. Tarver is on the Icarus only because he has received several medals for his courage, if not, a lowly soldier like him would not be able to travel with such style. When he first sees Lilac, she seems familiar, but he brushes that away and tries to save her when he thinks she is in danger.
When the Icarus is folding in on itself, Tarver first saves Lilac from falling to her death, then she turns right back and saves him by hot wiring a small hub to get them off the space ship before it implodes. And that is when I fell in love with the story! A girl who doesn’t lose her capabilities when she’s in danger is certainly high up on my list of heroines I enjoy reading about. And Tarver was able to compliment her once they were away from the space ship and seemed to drift towards safety. Only they might not be safe at all – the planet they end up on has been set up as a colony, but there is no sign of human life, and the plants are a little different from what Tarver expects.
From there on, These Broken Stars take both the characters and the readers on an incredible adventure, trekking through the forest and across a mountain, with dangers lurking everywhere, they are both tested to the limit of their ability and survival instincts. At first, they can hardly get along at all! Lilac shows her rich-girl attitude and thinks her father will sweep in and save them both. Tarver has his survival training to fall back on, but he isn’t impressed with Lilac who squirms at every little thing, traipses around with her beautiful dress and heels, and who won’t listen to him when he tries to explain to her just how dire their situation is – they are basically stranded on a deserted planet, with no way to contact anyone, and they have no idea if search parties will even know where to look.
These Broken Stars goes from one danger to another, and it is a fast-paced story that brings a lot of mystery as well as an amazing character development for both Tarver and Lilac. And I was thrilled to realize the whole story gave me the same kind of feeling I had when I was watching the TV show Lost in the first few seasons of the show. The mystery, the need to find out, the way the characters had to move to survive, whispers, hallucinations… Only, the story in These Broken Stars is so much more compelling than Lost turned out to be! There is an explanation for the strange thing that happen, and both Tarver and Lilac need to step up their game when the situation becomes even worse than it was in the beginning.
The writing is excellent, the character development awesome, the setting is breath-taking and the whole universe in These Broken Stars drew me straight in and made me want more on each page! And even in such a dire situation, Tarver and Lilac both manage to find humor to lighten things up – sometimes it’s self-depreciating, other times it’s teasing the other to move on. If you are looking for storytelling that shows you what is happening in such a way you feel as if you are walking alongside the characters, feeling their fears and hopes and experiencing all their challenges, you should definitely pick up These Broken Stars, make sure you won’t be disturbed by anyone and just sit back in your favorite reading chair and enjoy the ride!
That’s when I realize, standing there in the middle of this disaster, aching all over from being jerked back and forth against my restraints, but grinning like an idiot – I kind of like this. After weeks trussed up on board the ship, chest covered in medals and days taken up by people who don’t like their war too real, I feel like I’m home.
“Only a little further, Miss LaRoux. You’re doing well.” I’m not doing much at all. I might as well be a rag doll. Comes complete with matching shoes. Spine sold separately.
I listen to his footsteps moving away, my eyes on the stones I’ve gathered and placed. Always, my ears are tuned for the sounds of engines, the whine of a flyover jet, the hum of a hovercraft. But they never come. It’s always this silence. A world of quiet broken only by my footsteps and Tarver’s, and the whispering of the woods.
I don’t want to highlight to her how strange it is that I don’t recognize these plants – terraforming flora and fauna are completely standard.