I finished this book some time ago and never got around to writing a proper review, so I’m relying on the notes I took to do a brief one now. You know those books that you read that you just loved, even though there was nothing groundbreaking about the plot or the characters? With the amount that I read, I have high expectations for these sorts of things when I pick up something new. If it’s been done before, that’s fine, I’ll finish the book, but it to be something outstanding, I feel like I need to be completely blown away by something I’ve never seen done before.
These Broken Stars by Kaufman and Spooner was not this sort of book. I thought that many of the elements of the story were predictable, and the narrative followed an established arc, and yet… I really loved it. I think it’s going to be hard to pinpoint why, but here’s the blurb.
Lilac La Roux is the only daughter of a wealthy intergalactic businessman who takes great care to keep his precious girl safe. Of course she’s beautiful and intelligent and has a bit of a wild streak. Enter Tarver, a celebrated hero who might just be the only person in the universe who doesn’t know Lilac on sight. There’s obviously something between them, but when the ship they’re on suddenly malfunctions and they’re forced to abandon ship and crash-land on a nearby planet, they are both thrust into unfamiliar circumstances. In an attempt to find other survivors, they head off towards the wreck of the ship and into the unknown. Romance, adventure, and danger ensue, and for anyone at all familiar with the science fiction genre, the involvement of a trapped alien species won’t come as a shock.
Despite this, I thought the writing was really well done, especially for a Young Adult novel (sorry YA genre, but it’s true). It was lyrical and dramatic, and the alternating points-of-view was a really smart decision. I read in an author interview that they split the writing based on these two main characters, but then are both heavily involved in the revision work, and I have to say as an outsider looking in, that’s really impressive. I never felt like I was reading two different authors trying to tell the same story. The characters are very different, and easily identifiable, but there’s a cohesion that keeps the entire book moving in the same direction. Oh, and did I mention that they live on opposites sides of the world?
These Broken Stars is Book 1 of the Starbound Series, which has been optioned for television by Disney-Hyperion. I’m always torn when it comes to screen adaptations, but I think we’ve seen that they can be done really well, so I’m keeping an open mind. Regardless, I cannot wait for Book 2, This Shattered World, which is an expected 2014 release. The book will follow a different couple (as will Book 3), which has some fans a little put-off after having invested in Lilac and Tarver. If all 3 books can be well underway before the television show airs, it might make it possible to tell all three stories at the same time, and who doesn’t love a good space opera. Let’s not forget what Battlestar Galactica was able to accomplish with intimate stories set against the vastness of space. Either way, I’m excited for more from these authors and their adventures in this universe, though I still can’t quite put my finger on why.