An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my thoughts in any way.
These Broken Stars may just be one of those books that are hard to describe and review about. I’m not even sure if I could write a decent introductory paragraph, but let’s just put it this way: when I was young, I loved playing Role Playing Games (RPGs) on the Playstation. Final Fantasy, Tales of, Suikoden… you name it. However, there was this one game series that I loved above all: Star Ocean. Sure, it has that hack and slash, leveling up, fighting monsters, and other mumbo jumbo from other similar games, but what made it different was its premise. All Star Ocean games have this thing in common: it’s about humans who suddenly find themselves in an alien planet (due to warping, technical glitches in their spacecraft, accidents in some machine that blinks you to somewhere else, etc.) and they have to fight for their lives surviving and finding a way to get back home. I loved how it blended science fiction and fantasy into one, giving me a chance to explore new worlds, other civilizations, while also making my imagination run wild of the endless possibilities of space travel. These Broken Stars reminded me of that game, of my fondness for the secrets of the universe, of my curiosity of unknown worlds in deep space… and I loved every minute of it.
There’re a lot to love in this book, but what captivated me the most was the narration/prose. Oh my goodness, it was gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. I loved how it gave me chills and that looming feeling of loneliness and bleakness. Like the two main characters, I also felt some sort of distress in being alone in a new, unknown world, where just a few miles away are the hundreds of bodies of people I’ve been hanging out with a few hours ago but are now lifeless corpses. The scene with the huge ship falling from the sky in flames was perfect and melancholic and… I don’t know! It was beautiful in its way, and I *felt* I was there with them as they watched everyone die. During that scene, I felt a lump forming in my throat, and I’m sorry to say, but not many authors are as effective as this. So, bravo!
Also, It’s kind of hard to find a Young Adult science fiction book that is rich in detail (the descriptions of the alien surroundings were beautiful. It wasn’t hard to imagine them at all) while also abundant in character development and build up. It was so fulfilling to be able to connect with Lilac and Tarver as their thoughts and frustrations were efficiently and stunningly sent across from the pages to the reader. Even the dialogue was well done! At the beginning, when they kept on bantering, I couldn’t help but giggle here and there.
Here’s an example:
“Would you like a rest?
“She considers the question, then nods, reaching up to tuck her hair back where it belongs. “Where will I sit?”
Sit? Why, on this comfortable chaise lounge I’ve carried for you in my pocket, Your Highness. So glad you asked.
The characters were also really well-rounded. There were a lot of character development that I couldn’t get enough of. At first there was some insta-love (okay, maaaybe insta-attraction) and it made me see some spots of red, but it was after their ship went down in flames did their personalities really take off in flying colours. I didn’t like Lilac in the beginning because she really acted like a spoilt brat, but she eventually grew on me once she started growing some balls. Her past, her journey, her survival – it made me really see how her growth changed her as a person. We may have started in the wrong foot, but we definitely hit it off after a while. And Tarver? Ohh lala! After reading this book, I kept on
praying wishing that I meet one like him in real life. Practical, realistic, hard-working, efficient, and last but not the least, handsome… what more could a girl possibly ask for? It was swoon swoon *-* all the way, baby. There weren’t much character development from him, but I really liked how he was a crucial part in Lilac’s. Now if only Disney make Tarver figurines, I’d buy aplenty…
One thing that did throw me off was the paranormal aspect of it, or at least it seemed paranormal at first. Hearing voices in your sleep, seeing ghosts, etc. etc. I thought it seemed out of place in such a futuristic world. It makes kind of sense later on, but that doesn’t change the fact that for a few moments in the book where these events were taking place, it felt absolutely random.
Overall, this is a spectacular book. I especially recommend it to readers who don’t read Science Fiction but would love to try it out. These Broken Stars would transition you well, as it has enough Sci-Fi and Romance and Adventure to go along with it. There are a lot to love and look forward to with this book. I also recommend listening to RADIO GAIA on iTunes (Ambient section) while reading. It totally made me feel like I was walking on an alien planet!
Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5 stars!