With this review, I’m just going to dive right in with my feelings.
Normally, I’m down for a good love-hate relationship. Good example: Bea and Ben from Much Ado. Unfortunately, I could probably use Lilac and Tarver as my bad example. In the first chapter, I thought all was well. They were both instantly attracted to each other, and I was looking forward to a no-nonsense romance. The next chapter was just full of social prejudice and judgements based on class, I couldn’t handle it. Neither character could admit to liking one another because they either thought they weren’t good enough, or it would be unacceptable in their social circle. Gah, I just could NOT put up with it. If they’d communicated their internal issues, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Having to read half a book with sentences like ‘I wanted to slap her. I wanted to kiss her,’ and ‘I know what we could do in one bed’, made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
Then, in the last third of the book, the romance BLEW UP into to ‘I can’t live without you’ intensity. It was like the two different ends of the spectrum with nothing in between to balance out the absurdity of it all. It’s compared to Romeo and Juliet, but at least they admitted love for each other in about ten pages.
At the beginning of the book, like a scene straight out of ‘Doctor Who’, a spaceship crashes into an unknown planet, with only the two protagonists surviving. Tarver and Lilac were then stranded for A MONTH before something came for them. For a book about surviving as a pair, they sure didn’t do a lot of survival-y things. About 3/4 of the month was spent sleeping, I swear. Conveniently they had enough ‘ration bars’ to last the whole time. (Just when they ran out and it was about to get tense, they found some more, yippee!) What do ‘ration bars’ contain? Is it just protein? Is it healthy to live off them for a month? I don’t know. The survival element of the story was the weakest link of the book.
I really liked the twists this book was taking with explaining the ‘terraformed’ planet. From where the book ends to where it begins, you’re in a completely different place. The variation of settings kept the book moving, and provided progress for Tarver and Lilac’s journey.
I wasn’t completely convinced with the supernatural elements of the book, although the plot twist completely changed the story for me, and set it on a more enjoyable path. I thought for a book of nearly 400 pages, not a lot of the world is explained. There’s limited world building, and although both characters have backstories, they’re not delved into much in the course of the story. How did Lilac get her reputation? How did Tarver earn his prestige? I don’t know, and that let the book down for me.
Because the next book in the series isn’t about Tarver and Lilac, I wonder if I’ll ever get the information I seek. I know there’s a sort-of-prequel novella, which I plan to read soon, in hope of some answers, but generally I wasn’t satisfied. I will continue with the series, though I’m skeptical of the blurb that reads ‘a new pair of star-crossed lovers’. Surely, it would be better to write something new? Overall, I give ‘These Broken Stars’ 2.5 stars. A perfectly average book, where the good bits try to balance out the bits I didn’t like. Moral of the story? Beautiful covers don’t necessarily mean beautiful books.