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These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

These Broken Stars is one of those books that seemingly every blogger I know has read and loved. This kind of praise sometimes makes me approach a book more critically. The story didn’t bring out a major flood of emotions in me as it seemed to do with a lot of other readers, but I still found it greatly enjoyable.

Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux are an unlikely pair to be stranded together on an uninhabited planet after their spacecraft falls out of the sky. Lilac’s the daughter of a man of great wealth and power. Tarver is one of the youngest Majors in the military, and while he is respected, his low-born status prevents him from mixing with the likes of Lilac. That’s fine by Tarver, because he has no patience for the shallowness and pettiness exhibited by Lilac and her friends.

But when the spacecraft is catastrophically damaged, Tarver and Lilac find themselves alone in an escape pod. Fifty thousand people were living onboard the Icarus, and it’s possible that everyone but Tarver and Lilac died. They crash land on a strange planet, and any reservations the two had about each other must be set aside as they attempt to find food, survive the cold, and search for other survivors. Tarver’s military training has provided him with survival skills, and he also makes it his duty to help keep Lilac alive. But Lilac, with her pampered life, might not be as helpless as she seems. She begins to hear voices and see visions, and while Tarver initially chalks it up to the stress of the situation, it soon becomes clear that there is something (or someone) behind the voices and visions. Are they human? Are they alien? Are they trying to help or hurt? When this part of the mystery was solved, it was so moving and heart-breaking, and not at all what I expected.

The relationship between Tarver and Lilac grows slowly, even though they experienced a little burst of mutual attraction aboard the Icarus. Tarver will eventually learn that Lilac wears her personality like a shield, and Lilac will learn that Tarver is much more than a robotic soldier.

Each chapter alternates with a scene depicting Tarver in the midst of a tense interrogation about the events that occurred on the planet. So, it’s no mystery that he will be rescued, but the tone of these scenes, along with the defensiveness exhibited by Tarver, makes it clear that something extraordinary happened.

Before I finished These Borken Stars, I learned that the next books in the series would be companion novels, rather than sequels. I’m glad I knew this before reaching the end, because it allowed me to more fully appreciate the beauty of Lilac’s and Tarver’s story.