This book is a YA sci-fi romance – with a BIG emphasis on the romance. Tbh I’m not a huge fan of romance but this book did it well – and I think I would have read and re-read this book a hundred times had I read it as a teen.
‘These Broken Stars’ takes the question ‘what if we were the last two people left on earth?’ to the ultimate extreme – instead of earth it’s a strange, unknown planet, and the reason Lilac (16 y.o. daughter of richest man in the universe) and Tarver (18 y.o. soldier and unlikely war hero) are there is because their giant space cruiser crashed and the other 50,000 people died on impact. What ensues is a bleak survival story – how to find food, shelter, avoid weird predators, work out what the weird whispery voices they can hear are, and – most importantly – fall in love and get it on in a remote mountain cave.
Like I said, the focus was definitely the romance. I got kind of sick of it toward the end, but the writing style is very good and I cared a lot about the characters, so I read till the end I will definitely read the next two books in the trilogy.
The plot was clearly subservient to the love story, which is fine because this story is clearly meant to be a romance. The sci-fi fan in me just wanted more sci-fi and less ruminating on the other person’s body, heart, mind, loving caresses, etc. For example: I felt the world building could have been stronger. I mean, this book is nearly 400 pages with pretty small font, and the actual plot was pretty light on. We were thown lots of interesting tid bits that weren’t fleshed out, such as Tarver being a war hero (we never really learn how or why). We also never learn how Lilac’s dad become so rich, or why people left earth, or why no-one came to rescue them… There are lots of things we never learn about the planet: it has predators which Tarver knows shouldn’t be there, but we never learn why they actually were introduced, we never really know the details around why it was colonised in the first place, though I guess we could find out later in the series. The weird whispers were explained but not in a hugely satisfying way – I thought more detail was needed to really engage with that part of the story. Again, though, if you like the romance enough, these things probably won’t bother you.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed this a lot. Lilac is a princess-cum-badass, and Tarver a diamond in the rough, and I care about them enough to continue with the series (though I’ll probably just skim read the lovey-dovey sections).