Sunday, March 15, 2015

A New Age for Sci-Fi: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound #1)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest man in the universe, untouchable even to the galaxy's elite. Tarver Merendsen is a lower class kid turned war hero, out of place rubbing elbows with people who consider social trivialities a matter of life and death. They only thing they have in common is the Icarus, the luxury space liner their both traveling on. But when something goes terribly wrong and the ship plummets into an unknown planet, Tarver and Lilac are all each other has. Will this socialite and this soldier be able to survive the wild terrain and the secrets this mysterious place holds?

I have a long and complex relationship with the science fiction genre. I grew up loving Star Wars and love space adventures, but I'm incredibly picky when it comes to reading it. Books like These Broken Stars remind me how much the genre has to offer, and one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was that it was completely unlike any sci-fi I've read before.

In this first installment in their Starbound series, Kaufman and Spooner unleash a story in a delicious slow burn. That's not to say the story is slowly paced - it's not. Lilac and Tarver are constantly on their toes - their lives depend on it. It's the secrets of this planet and within each of them that are peeled back slowly, the anticipation building until I almost couldn't stand it. In chapters alternating between their points of view, it was captivating how they misinterpreted each other over and over again, then eventually come to understand each other in a way that was completely believable. Even though their circumstances are extraordinary, they way they handled themselves felt authentic. It's a brave choice to write a novel with only two characters for 90% of it, but these ladies pulled it off in stunning fashion.

Since I don't want to spoil anything about this book, I'm being purposely vague. However, I'll leave this thought: I'm completely obsessed with this series now. I enjoyed every page. This was the type of book where I was always looking for a spare moment so I could sneak in another page or two, and yet, I also didn't want it to end because I didn't want the story to be over. Thank goodness for companion novels, such as This Shattered World, available in bookstores and libraries now.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Amie Kaufman's Website
Amie Kaufman on Twitter
Amie Kaufman on Tumblr
Meagan Spooner's Website
Meagan Spooner on Twitter
Meagan Spooner on Tumblr

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