Too Many Expectations
First and foremost, this is a love story. It is also a survival tale and it is sci-fi, but it is a love story before either of those things. This is not what I was expecting going into the book, and perhaps that is why I didn’t like it as much as I was expecting.
The novel follows Lilac and Tarver, members from different societal classes, and their attempts to survive on a seemingly abandoned planet after their space ship is destroyed. It is nicely written, and the character development is the strongest part of the book.
My main issue was how slow it was. I was not fully captivated by the story until the last hundred or so pages - when most of the action happened, and a certain event (spoiler:[Lilac’s death]) occurred. If I’d known before picking this up that the majority of the story is just Lilac and Tarver wandering around a planet, I don’t think I would have minded as much (or perhaps I wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place). Sometimes I felt as though the book was never going to end - not a good feeling.
So much of the story was just the characters narrating about their thoughts and feelings, and whilst I don’t have too much tolerance for that at the best of times, it also became repetitive. Before the last third of the novel, this included a lot of whining from both characters too, making it even worse. They did have their good moments though (and some funny ones), and I appreciated the development that the characters went through and how the changes weren’t instantaneous - they happened steadily over the course of the novel. Lilac and Tarver became less annoying and a lot less whiny (well, in relation to their situation), which suited me. I experienced a bit of frustration at times, though. I wanted to scream “JUST EXPLAIN!” on more than one occasion.
I enjoyed the mystery element to the novel. There were snippets of an interrogation between Tarver and someone else before each chapter that tied in with the events, which added a feeling of suspense and was probably the sole reason I kept reading after page 100. My interest was piqued every time I got to one of these snippets, and it was like a little refresher for my boredom; something to stimulate theory-building. And I had tonnes of theories. None of them ended up being anywhere near correct, but then again, I don’t think you could guess the ending.
I felt that the ending for the characters was suitable except I also wanted more information on this! [What happens in the future to them? Do they really get left alone by Lilac's father? Is Lilac's threat even valid anymore since the planet was destroyed after all?] I'm kind of hoping it will be explained further somehow in the next books - though I believe this is an uncommon opinion, and most people think that it was wrapped up nicely.
So, I guess I liked this book, just not as much as I was hoping to. I would recommend it if you are a fan of the 'star-crossed lovers' theme, or if you like survival stories. As long as you don't mind the slow pacing.
Have you read These Broken Stars? Are you planning to? Let me know your thoughts below!