May 21, 2015

Book Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

The first time I laid my eyes on These Broken Stars' cover, I was instantly in love with it. Scratch that. I AM SO FREAKING CRAZY IN LOVE WITH IT. The cover was so darn beautiful and intriguing and amazing and made me want to wear it as a top every day...
I then dived in the book with a hope to find some amazing story inside. Um, I gotta be honest; I seriously don't know what to feel about this book. This book falls into sci-fi category and God knows how much my love for sci-fi grew even stronger since my last encounter with amazing sci-fi trilogy months ago. That trilogy was the picture perfect of what kind of sci-fi I'd no doubt love with all my heart (i.e. strong sci-fi with good mixed amounts of everything). But this book lacked of parts where sci-fi usually focused on. What does it even mean? Come read more below ;)
Lilac Laroux was always famous. The beautiful, breathtaking, untouchable Miss Laroux. She was the only heiress to the LaRoux Industries empire. Not only she was known as the richest girl in the galaxy, Lilac was also known as the most off-limit girl ever existed. Her father made sure everyone see the fact. It left Lilac with a personal guard and an overprotective friend to accompany her everywhere. That way, a lot of guys knew better than made a move to her. 

Tarver Merendsen was just recently being famous. The war hero, best soldier, precise in every action Major Merendsen. His heroic acts during the war earned him Medal of Honor that brought his image from lowborn boy to respectable hero. But still some people didn't bother to point his background out for others to see. After all, he was just a teacher's son who made it all the way to the top by working hard under the help of scholarship. 

The first time they met, they made a little effort to pretend that everything was normal between them. Tarver saw her the first time as a girl covered in gracefulness who had a tolerant heart. Lilac saw him the first time as a man of action who wore confidences fitly on his sleeves. Little did they know that Tarver knew nothing about Lilac's true self at the time. And for a brief time there, Lilac was happy to be able to interact with someone who saw her for who she was, not for whose kid she was; knowing it was a very wrong thing to do.
The second time they met, Lilac finally did one thing that she was supposed to do from the beginning: to steer clear of Major Merendsen. But something died a little inside her when she did that common act she used to perform every time someone showed interests for her. Because he was unlike any other guys she'd ever known. Because he was so sincere it reflected in his eyes. Because she felt very comfortable around him. Because she knew what her father could do to someone like him. Because... she cared for him. 
But it was funny how everything could happen in a span of a day. One minute she disdained him with a quite hurtful words, the next one she found herself huddling together with him on the same survival pod to save their lives from the accident happened with Icarus, the ship they were on at the moment. From there on ward, they took turns saving each other's life after their pod crashed into a nowhere planet that hid mystery on its every corner. When they finally learned heart-slicing truth of their landing on strange planet, they were faced with countless hurdles and unexpected turn of events to survive there physically and how to keep their insanities intact. When they thought what they went through was already bad, they met worse things, and even the worst hadn't all come out. On that strange planet where Tarver and Lilac learned a lot of things: loss, survival, loyalty, trust, love, betrayal, sacrifices, and most important, nothing was ever as it seemed.

For the truth, this book didn’t strike me as intriguing on the first chapter. I didn’t read the blurb at all so I wasn’t sure of what I’d expect from the book anyway. On chapter two I officially disliked Lilac. From chapter three onward, I took turns disliking Lilac and Tarver until their survival pod crashed into nowhere planet. They were attracted to each other since the beginning; it’s obvious. But one rejection led them into childish words fights every time they’re having conversations. Well, yes it’s quite mean on Lilac’s part but if only Tarver was gentle enough in reacting to that… Somewhere in the middle of their journey to reach the shipwreck though, when their first twist of their stay at the strange planet happened, I started to like them. They started to respond rationally to each other as the only survivors on some never land. Then somewhere around 50%, I was truly in awe with Lilac. It’s amazing how the authors did the characterization with such progress; that Ms. Kaufman and Ms. Spooner could make hard-to-like characters to slowly become lovable by making use of the situations to help shaping their characteristics.
These Broken Stars didn’t actually have a fresh plot but it had a real interesting way of telling. Mystery and suspenseful were the keywords for These Broken Stars. I must admit that when it came to the thrilling part, it was freaking intense and the authors did an awesome job building the suspenseful feeling. They successfully made me shiver in the middle of the night all alone in my dimly lit bedroom with the only light was from my e-reader (yes, I know, I had a real bad reading habit). I had a hard time keeping control over my mind to wreck somewhere in the middle of the book. The tension was built very well and I found myself gasping for air of reality to hit my breathless lungs that was drained by mind-boggling fantasy. So where did my complaint about the lacking lie?
It lied on the place setting.
So, their unexpected journey began with a sci-fi-y Titanic famous scene (read: wrecked ship and all) which still took place on space. After it crashed into a strange mysterious planet somehow I felt that the place setting wasn’t quite concerned the authors any longer. They went on and on exploring the mystery and thrilling parts while they simply put description of the planet as simple as it could be. I was expecting more mind-blowing place setting than just forest, plain, and mountain. This is a sci-fi after all where extraterrestrial things happened in some mind-boggling places outside the Earth. I wanted more description of outer space and foreign planets vividly. It’s sad that even the planet they lived in were not even described at all even though Lilac mentioned once in the beginning; something about brightest light called Corinth. I wanted to know more of these parts. It would actually complete the point of great sci-fi read for me.
My other complaint (this is even worse, I guess) was the ending.
Dearest God. Why such mind-boggling story should ended up like that???
It was so abrupt and left too much unanswered questions in the back of my mind. I actually thought the second book would be the continuation of Lilac and Tarver’s future where things would be completely resolved. But no, people, the second book was a whole different story and there would be NO perfect wrap-up whatsoever for Lilac and Tarver’s story (I haven’t read the book but this is what I get from its blurb). It seriously made me want to cry in frustration. This book should’ve ended in much better ending, seriously. Oh why…
I wanted so damn bad to give this book five stars. I even agreed to come to terms with my complaint about lack of place setting. But I couldn’t come to terms with the ending. So, after contemplating about the rating of These Broken Stars real hard…

Oh hell, 4.5 stars just earned!

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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