These Broken Stars

TBS-Cover

These Broken Stars is "Titanic in space meets LOST." We've got the upper-class, lower-class love story, the unsinkable luxury liner that sinks (or crashes, in space), the struggle to survive in a seemingly abandoned wilderness, whispers and ghosts in the forest, the fading hope of rescue, the constant question of "where are we?", and even something like a mysterious "hatch" that draws our protagonists onwards. It's an incredibly fun, slightly gruesome, totally addictive page turner.

Unlike LOST, however, there are basically only two characters. We meet a small group of supporting characters on the doomed luxury liner, and unseen characters like the heroine's father loom large, but most of the story is two antagonistic strangers -- the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy and a young military hero -- trying to survive.

Luckily, the characters work. There are no "not like other girls" protagonists here. Our heroine Lilac is as elegant as she is stubborn, a master heartbreaker used to luxury and to getting her own way. For the first part of the book, she's sympathetic, but she's also occasionally teeth-gratingly unlikable. She's rich and spoiled as all hell. She doesn't really think about people other than herself. And although she is brave and resourceful, her stubborn wilfulness means that she puts herself in danger. But this is all far more fun and engaging than a meek follow-along or a not-like-other-girls action badass, and it means we get room for a lot of interesting character development along the way.

The story is also a "hate at first sight" romance, which is always fun. But be warned, it IS a romance. There are action and sci-fi and survival elements, but the developing romance is really the main focus. And if you're looking for hard sci-fi, this definitely isn't the book for you. Most of it takes place on the "island" (or the seemingly abandoned planet) and so the tone is more lush jungle survival than science and machines. I basically read it as a fantasy book for the middle 80%, and was almost surprised when the sci-fi element came back at the end. But if you're looking for an adventure-type book with a strong romance plot that demands to be read (I'd say it's perfect for the plane, if not for the whole crash element), then These Broken Stars is definitely one to pick up.