Sunday, November 10, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner -- ESSENTIAL

Kaufman, Amie and Meagan Spooner These Broken Stars (Starbound #1), 384 pgs. Disney-Hyperion, December 10, 2013. $17.99. Language - PG-13 (40 swears; no 'f'); Sexual Content - PG-13; Violence - PG-13.

It seems like a typical night of traveling through hyperspace, but suddenly the giant ship Icarus and its 50,000 passengers are yanked from the sky. Before they crash, Tarver, a decorated soldier and simple country boy, escapes with Lilac, daughter of the richest and most powerful man in the universe. Now stranded on a strange planet, these two very opposite people must learn to survive until they can be rescued. But things go from challenging to downright chilling when ghostly voices and images begin appearing on the seemingly deserted landscape.

Lost meets Across the Universe in this mystery/horror set in space and, true to both, These Broken Stars is full of suspenseful twists and chilling revelations -- not to mention plenty of romance and several truly sad moments that had me wiping away tears. Tarver and Lilac are both admirable characters, especially once they come into their own. Their growth is authentic, and the romance happens naturally. While their eventual intimacy is strongly implied, it is never outright stated, and everything happens off the page. This is labeled as the first in a trilogy, though the authors have stated that the next two books are companion stories that simply happen after the events in this one. Indeed, These Broken Stars wraps up quite nicely, something I appreciated considering it will be a while until the next book comes out. That gorgeous cover, coupled with good book-talking by enthusiastic librarians -- and there will be many -- will help this one fly off the shelves. Highly recommended.

HS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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