Series: Starbound Trilogy #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 374 •Format: Paperback •Source: Purchased
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets to the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder - would they be better off staying in this place forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it. The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
Book Buddies is a discussion style review I participate in every other month with my friend Lauren who runs the blog Bookmarklit. We choose a themed book for the month, read it, and the have a discussion where we both discuss themes and aspects that really stood out to us.Book Buddy Reviews are posted during the last week of the month.You can see our review in a Q&A format with half posted here, and half on Lauren’s blog!
*This discussion contains some spoilers.
1) The premise of These Broken Stars relies on an often overused romance trope of a working class male and a rich, upper class female. Do you think the novel portrayed this trope as a cliché or did the romance feel believable to you?
2) The ship was named the Icarus, after the Greek myth of the man with engineered wings who flew too close to the sun despite being warned not to, causing him to fall into the sea. What did you think of this foreshadowing? Did it seem too obvious to you? Do you think it served to depict how truly arrogant LaRoux is?
3) Before every chapter, a fragment of an interview with Tarver is transcribed that usually foreshadows what is about to happen in the chapter. What did you think about this writing technique?
4) Colonialism and imperialism are large underlying themes in this story, with LaRoux industries terraforming new planets and oppressing the existing beings that already reside there. Do you feel as if the characters learned from their experience with colonialism and the native beings? Do you feel the book satisfactorily explored how imperialism imprisons the imperial entity?
5) Death and resurrection is a huge theme in this book, and the rules are different on this strange planet that Tarver and Lilac find themselves stranded on. Humans can be brought back to life by harnessing energy from powerful sources (in this case, the non-physical beings native to the planet) and this is witnessed through a major character death and resurrection. How did you feel about this non-traditional approach to a human life cycle? Did you see the themes of death and resurrection play out in less obvious ways throughout the novel?
C: I was sort of skeptical of these beings being able to resurrect humans, and I still am. I mean, does that mean the characters are really still “human” if there DNA has been altered? Will they have special powers? Does it make them immortal? It raised a lot of questions that I hope are explained and not supposed to be taken at face value. I think the themes of death and resurrection are seen throughout the book in other ways too. The old Lilac and Tarver both “die” metaphorically on the strange planet and are reborn into newer, stronger people by the time they’re rescued. There’s the death of Lilac’s snobbish, obedient self at the end of the novel when she stands up to her father. There’s the death of innocence (and ignorance) when Lilac discovers just what her father’s company is capable of doing, and she’s reborn as a jaded but wiser character. Tarver also makes several references to how being in the military changed him from the time he enrolled to a year later when he became a war hero, so Tarver has gone through an emotional death and resurrection prior to the novel’s beginning. In addition to all these personal deaths and resurrections Tarver and Lilac experience, the visions they have on the planet often manifest as resurrected images of those who have died.
L: I am definitely skeptical. Maybe this stems from my lack of knowledge on sci-fi literature (another thing to be discussed over on my blog!), but the death/resurrection piece of the novel confused me a little. It also kind of creeped me out. I watched the first season of Resurrection on TV, where dead people from the town come back to life, and it was pretty similar to this. Lots of people were scared or nervous around them – are they still the same person that they once were? Are people able to pick up where they left off? I love everything you say here about the themes of resurrection too, aside from the obvious literal death and resurrection. People have the ability to change throughout their lifetime (especially after major life events like this), and the characters certainly grew by the end of the book. Lilac finally was strong enough to stand up for herself to her father; Tarver was able to open himself up to her.
Continue reading the second half of our discussion on Lauren’s blog HERE!
These Broken Stars pleasantly surprised me, as I’m usually not drawn to the sci-fi genre. However, this book had fantastic and believable character development with a lot of eerie undertones and themes of colonialism and imperialism, and I love when there’s more than meets the eye to novels. I am so glad Lauren and I read this one together because there was so much to discuss, and I’d really love to explore more aspects of this fantasy world in the next book! Also, Tarver may be my newest book boyfriend 🙂
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge