Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This Broken Universe

As you look up at the stars, you can imagine a world where any universe is at your fingertips. Imagine if those universes really could be at your fingertips with the mere thrust of hyperdrive. In These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, the worlds, planets, and universes collide when two star-crossed lovers fall from space. 

Lilac LaRoux's father is the richest man in the universe. To say she is untouchable isn't an understatement. Her father would make any man who dared to look at her too long, ultimately disappear. Tarver Merendsen may be a decorated war hero, but he wasn't born among these people, and they don't hesitate to let him know. He is on the luxury liner, but he doesn't belong there. When he bumps into Lilac, he is drawn to her. He doesn't know who she is, but she is still out of his league. She is equally as interested, but she will never risk putting another man on the wrong side of her father. Not after what happened to her childhood love. 

When the ship starts to pull out of hyperspace, everyone is supposed to run for escape pods. Tarver tries to help people from being trampled, but in the rush, he and Lilac are swept the same way. They find an empty pod and manage to start disengage from the ship, although not all pods make it. In fact, they seem to be the only one that was able to actually disengage from the ship before it plummeted to the nearest planet. Lilac and Tarver have a bumpy landing, but at least they are alive. What they don't expect is a planet that seems to defy all logic. It appears to be terraformed, but there are creatures on the planet that wouldn't exist on a terraformed planet. If that isn't peculiar enough, Lilac keeps hearing voices in the wind. Tarver is convinced they are a result of her shock at the situation, but when they save them from certain death, he begins to realize there is something different about this planet. They had hoped to be rescued by Lilac's father soon, but will anyone find them before they find out the deep, dark secrets that lie in this planet?

This book has gotten a lot of hype and I can see why. It is like Titanic on a luxury spaceliner. And who didn't fall for the love story on Titanic, right?! Well, you will love Tarver and Lilac just as much as you loved Jack and Rose. In fact, this story was captivating. Not only the romantic spark between the two characters, but also the world they find themselves in. It is so unique and interesting, and I can't tell you how much I loved reading about it. I will say I preferred the first 2/3 of the book to the last 1/3, though. By the end it got really trippy and out there, and that is where the true science fiction came in. While this seemed at first like a simple space opera, there was a lot more to it by the end. The deep and confusing back story was interesting, but to be honest, I would have been just as happy following Tarver and Lilac around the planet! That isn't to say I didn't like that last 1/3, I just preferred the beginning of the story more. 

This is a complex story with average to above average language but a clean story that would be appropriate for any age. Given the complexity of the story, I would save this for students of any age as long as they have strong reading and comprehension skills. A student with weaker skills might get lost in the latter portion of the book. I think my favorite part of the story has to be Lilac. Even though she could easily have been a useless, overprivileged brat, she surprised even Tarver when she bit her lip and muscled through the daunting task of surviving on an alien planet. It was an awesome portrayal of a female character, and I loved reading about her! I look forward to seeing where this series goes from here!

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