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Just about everyone I know has been gushing about this for ages. Between the romance, the feels, the swoons, the "Titanic in space" pitch, and everything else, it sounded great. What I got? Not as great as expected. These Broken Stars is a likable enough story with strongly written characters and equally well-written sci-fi elements, but
Please go back to all the phrases/words I brought up when describing the hype. If you're sharper than me, you can figure out they sounds like they're all related to a romance. You're right! You'll also find what disappointed me so much because the romance is far from what it's cracked up to be. Though I love Tarver and Lilac as individual characters and Lilac especially as she finds herself after the crash releases her from her father's iron-fisted rule over her, the two of them together and in love does not work. They hate each other and yet are secretly swooning and then all of a sudden, it's like someone flipped a switch and they can't keep their hands off each other. It's odd.
What makes up the majority of the novel is a survival story. For over 200 pages, Tarver and Lilac crawl through the forests and over mountains to get to the crash site of the Icarus so rescuers can find them more easily. Though my galley's odd formatting (double-paged, which made it easier to read on my laptop than my Nook) and major college commitments contributed to why it took me so long to read this book, the number-one reason is how dreadfully boring those 200 pages of repetitive traveling and developing romance were. The first 50 pages and the last 100 pages are the only points of major action.
Intersped with our narrators' chapters are quotes from Tarver's interrogation. The quotes' main job is to characterize Tarver and foreshadow through his lies how much changes between him and Lilac--and how he has changed in general--but they made me so angry I nearly DNFed the book at many points. There I am, slogging through a book where the burgeoning romance bores me and nothing has happened for hundreds of pages and like spoilers from the future, the quotes come to tell me they get rescued eventually but I have to keep suffering for now. The quotes laughed at me. THEY LAUGHED AT ME.
Breathe in, breathe out... Sorry about that. Being teased by books in such a way really grinds my gears.
Going back to the sci-fi elements, I don't know or understand the science behind them (I rarely do with sci-fi novels, honestly), but it sounds fine enough and nothing sticks out to my non-science-y self as pure bull, so it passes my very easy test. Special mention goes to the thoroughly interesting ideas and explanation related to what Tarver and Lilac discover late in the novel. Seriously, more about that, please. Drown me in that science!
Readers who have been looking for a good YA sci-fi romance are surely going to find it here, but anyone reading for something other than that might encounter some disappointment. Tarver and Lilac's story is finished; the second book will star a new set of characters set in the same world. Depending on how it sounds once more information comes around, I might stick around for it, but for the moment, it looks unlikely.