“These Broken Stars” Book Review


Yness Martinez

“These Broken Stars” by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, published 2013.

Yness Martinez, Staff Reporter

“These Broken Stars” was written by duo Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner and published in 2013. Upon reading the short summary and picking up this novel, my assumption was that this would be a quick, simple read. Not in the slightest. Imagine the “Titanic” (1997 film) and  “Life of Pi” (published 2001) and then add space travel. A bit bizarre, but worth the read.

The plot follows military hero, Tarver Merendsen, and billionaire’s daughter, Lilac LaRoux, as they are forced to work together. After the legendary spaceship, the Icarus, crashes on an uncharted planet, they soon realize they are the only survivors. As they make their way over the dangerous terrain, in an attempt to locate any sort of rescue team, they begin to notice that this is no ordinary planet, and they are not alone. Mix a little romance, life threatening obstacles, and pepper in some mysterious sentient force, and you have the oddball that is “These Broken Stars”.

Having read this book over two years ago, and again rereading it recently has renewed my initial confusion and fear. The eerie planet Tarver and Lilac ventured through has me shuddering to this day. Which grants a round of applause for these authors, as a reader of many books, it’s rare that a book will be on my mind so long after finishing it.

Lilac starts off as a spoiled daughter with an attitude problem, and a surprisingly vast knowledge of mechanics. Regardless of her intelligence, she was immediately the less favorable character. Major Tarver Merendsen, our male protagonist, had a more interesting story to tell. After becoming a war hero, only in his early twenties, he lives the easy life while the military flaunts him at social events. Referring to my previous comparison to the  “Titanic,” at first they have the Jack and Rose relationship. They meet, he’s intrigued but has no idea that she’s the daughter of the founder of LaRoux Industries, and she tries to shut him down, etc. Although both characters entered the story as stubborn, broken people, it seems that life and death circumstances bring out the best in everyone. I find his whole character admirable because even though Lilac was being an extreme pain, he didn’t leave her to die after the crash. Bare minimum, right?

Now, the authors of this book did something that was, initially, very confusing. The book is structured with flashes forward to Tarver being interviewed about what is going on. Almost like the story is being told in a different time as the audience is reading it. Although it was a bit difficult to grasp at first, it made the plot all the more complex. 

This book is a 9/10 because I never would have fathomed something like it, and I’ve never met another person who has read it. With a mystery to be solved, and an alluring new world, Kaufman and Spooner made this an incredibly interesting read. To this day, I recommend it to everyone who asks for book recommendations.