Starships Are Meant to Fly (So It Sucks When They Come Crashing Down)

June 24, 2015 books, reviews 14

These Broken Stars cover on Reviews and Cake

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

Okay, confession time: I know everyone loves this cover – and I like it too – BUT it does look slightly cheesy. I don’t remember why I bought this book initially, but despite the good ratings I expected it to be a lot soppier than it was. There IS a lot of romance, but it develops slowly and there’s bickering and banter, and it’s basically perfect. That’s not all though! I wanted sci-fi, and I was not disappointed. I don’t think the book is very heavy on technical explanations and – due to the fact that most of the book is set on an abandoned planet – there isn’t TONS of worldbuilding, but the stuff there was I liked. I do think that people who aren’t really into sci-fi would enjoy it too.

The Characters

Meet Lilac and Tarver. Lilac is the richest girl in the known universe and comes with an overly strict father, intimacy issues, and unexpected skills. Tarver is a war hero, known for his daring leadership, but not much else. Like every good romance hero, he has a soft side he hides in a little black notebook. These two are attracted to each other pretty much from the start, but after their first encounter, they don’t like each other much at all. How unfortunate for them that they are the sole survivors of a spaceship crash and have to spend the next couple of weeks with no company but each other – oh, and a couple of wild beasts, mysterious forces and random natural disasters. I enjoyed the slow burn of their relationship, the constant bickering, and the fact that they keep saving each other. Tarver is the one who’s most at home in this situation due to his military training, but Lilac is determined to hold her own, and you (as well as Tarver) can’t help but respect her. She also has kickass mechanic skills, which is always a big, fat plus in my book.

The World

The book is set in a sort of Firefly scenario – humanity has colonized the universe and travel between planets is a common occurrence. We meet the characters as they are aboard the Icarus, a spaceship which travels faster than light. As you might have guessed from the name (seriously, foreshadowing much?), the ship crashes and the rest of the story plays out on a terraformed planet, which seems to have been abandoned. I would have loved to find out more about the galaxy and all its inhabited planets, but as it is, we only get to hear about it via the characters’ memories. I think there might be more about this in the second book though, so I’ll probably be reading that!

What Could Have Been Better

The book dragged a tiiiiny little bit in the middle. I don’t really mind a story that takes its time, but I could see some people having an issue with this. Think Fragments by Dan Wells, but with more dialogue and romance. Speaking of, I enjoyed the romance, but I thought it was a bit much towards the end. Between every chapter there’s a transcript of an interrogation, and while I think that’s a pretty neat idea, it did take a lot of the suspense out of the story. The chapters are told in alternating point of views, and y’all know what I think of that. It’s not done badly or anything, but I did mix up POVs at least twice. The ending also felt a bit open to me, and I’m not sure it was meant to be? Though it might all be resolved in future books, who knows.

The Good Stuff

Did I mention I loved the sci-fi? I almost wish there’d been a little more, but it was good as it was too. There was a twist that I really didn’t see coming and VERY MUCH enjoyed, but I would have liked a little more explanation as to how it all happened. Also, more mechanics skills! The overall writing was very neat, and I was really surprised to see the book is co-written by two authors, because it all felt very coherent.

The Verdict

This was a great read, and I can only recommend it! Four stars. Cupcakes, actually, but to keep with the theme of the book, I’ll let it stand.


14 Responses to “Starships Are Meant to Fly (So It Sucks When They Come Crashing Down)”

  1. Jillian @ Jillian's Books

    I’ve always wanted to read this book, but I’m slightly doubtful to buy it myself because I’ve sort of been seeing mixed reviews everywhere. Anyway, I like the science-fictional aspect of the book, but I’m sad to see it sort of dragged in the middle. :/ Despite some parts in the book, hopefully I get a chance to find this in the store and read it for myself. And hopefully I end up enjoying it as much as you did ^_^ Thanks for the lovely review!
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  2. Alyssa

    The cover looks really pretty from afar, but once you see the hand-holding thing it is rather cheesy, I agree. And I only just noticed that the liner’s name is Icarus. WHY WOULD YOU CURSE YOUR SHIP LIKE THAT. WHYYYY.

    Anyways! I’m really unsure about this one — romance, not-so-heavy worldbuilding, and slower middles have all been deal-breakers for me before, so I might stay off the bandwagon for now. But at the same time the characters sound so good and I really love alternating PoVs and transcripts? *indecision*
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  3. Romi

    Oh nice review, Vlora- this was particularly fantastic. And I didn’t even get through this book, so it just goes to show.
    I used to love the covers for this series but… I liked this one less upon having a physical copy and in general aren’t fond of the others, though I loveeee the night sky-universe-stars thing that they all carry along. That imagry always gets me, so I was bound to like this to begin with.
    I’m glad you liked it so much! I’m not sure how much I got through, but the characters annoyed me a lot and I just didn’t enjoy it, so preferred to give up, although I did spend about 45 minutes, at least, skimming the whole thing. It did seem like there were some unusual twists towards the end! xx
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    • Vlora


      It takes a while to get into, but I really started to respect Lilac when I kept reading. :) Glad you enjoyed it too!
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  4. Jackie

    I too thought the middle dragged a little bit, but I kept reading because I really liked Tarver and (especially) Lilac– she’s a female heroine that can hold her own without sacrificing femininity (kind of like Princess Raisa in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williamd Chima), which I really appreciate. Plus, I really, really wanted to find out why the planet was abandoned. Spoooooky.
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    • Vlora


      That was one of the things I liked about her too – she’s tough, but the author doesn’t feel the need to completely obliterate any trace of femininity. I’m feeling lukewarm about Tarver, but Lilac was pretty rad! Oh yeah, the planet was super eerie. :D
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  5. Sydney

    I’m so in love with the covers of these books even though they are a bit cheesy. I got an ARC of this at ALA last year but never got around to reading it (thanks, Epic Reading Slump of 2014), but now I really want to dive back into this series. I heard This Shattered World is even better than These Broken Stars!

    Truthfully, this story wasn’t too memorable for me. The middle dragged, the romance was good but not great, and I felt there were quite a few cliches. I’m really hoping for better from its sequels.

    I do know the endings are left a bit open because the sequels sort of pick up with new characters, but don’t quote me on that. :P I just think that’s how the series works since each book has new characters.

    Great review!
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    • Vlora


      I can’t decide whether I want to read This Shattered World! I know it’s all new characters and I’m not sure about the blurb, but I might give it a try anyway. Yeah, some things are definitely unresolved because of that, but I felt like Tarver and Lilac’s story wasn’t really tied up too nicely and from what I gather they won’t play a huge role in the sequels? Anyways, glad you liked the review, thanks for stopping by. :)
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