Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meghan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Source: School Library Journal Summer Virtual Conference
I can’t tell if I’m mood reviewing or not because I feel like I’ve been writing so many negative reviews in the past couple weeks, but I just haven’t liked that many things I’ve been reading lately. These Broken Stars is another book that didn’t do anything for me, except make me feel mildly irritated.
I think my problem with this book was more with the characters than the plot. The idea of a space ship crashing on a strange planet where the characters start hearing mysterious whispers and seeing things sounding like an entertaining read, but Tarver and Lilac totally killed it for me.
I know that from Tarver’s perspective Lilac is supposed to be annoying, but I didn’t like her in her own chapters either. Besides being kind of whiny, she bored me even when she started hallucinating. I think my dislike of her stems from my growing vexation with the poor little rich/suburban/valedictorian/goodie-two-shoes girls that seem to be exploding in YA. I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for her though her father was obviously an evil bastard because I didn’t connect to her at all. Her one saving grace was her intelligence, which proved useful throughout the book and she wasn’t afraid to show in front of Tarver, even when she realized she was falling for him.
Tarver didn’t appeal to me in the least. To me, he seemed even more judgmental of Lilac than Lilac was of him. They spend the majority of the book making ridiculous assumptions about each other that just seemed really silly to me. I liked Tarver a lot better when he talked about his family and his cottage, because he seemed more realistic to me in a way Lilac simply wasn’t. I also wished I had gotten to know more about his experiences at war, since he had his whole rags-to-war-hero image. There was a little bit of that, but to me that was one of the most interesting parts of the story aside from the voices.
For me, it was just really hard to get past not only one, but two protagonists who I didn’t like to enjoy the story. Sci-fi isn’t usually my thing, particularly space books, but I liked learning the politics of all the planets and about colonization in space (although that might be because I just finished a course in post-colonial literature, haha) and was certainly intrigued by what was going on on Lilac and Tarver’s planet.
Basically, These Broken Stars failed to live up to the immense hype it’s been getting. I think the authors had a lot of cool plot ideas and great world building, but I needed the story to be told by different characters.
P. S. as a side note, I will say I was very happy to see a girl-in-a-dress cover that was actually relevant to the story.