Rating: 5 Perfectly Broken Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
I LOVED it. Freakin’ LOVED it.
Usually, I can come up with a handful of things in the plot or characters that I could pick apart and fault in various ways, but that just didn’t happen here.
A warning: The beginning almost made me put the book away. I got into a few pages and just felt it going nowhere, and put it down for a few days. But I picked it back up, and, well, once this book gets going, you don’t put it down.
This has been compared to a spaceship version of Titanic, but I have to disagree wholeheartedly. There is no “don’t let go, Jack” moments in this book (thank the heavens). There is no insta-love.
I love Tarver. I love Lilac. This is written in split POV, and while usually I don’t like that, I cannot fathom how this would have been as good as it was without it being that way.
Lilac grew on me. I wasn’t a fan of hers at the beginning, when all I saw was a primadonna girl who was unnecessarily rude to Tarver. But as the book goes on, and after both she and Tarver are stranded on the planet, she doesn’t mope, doesn’t whine, THERE IS NO ANGST.
Does she have her moments? Yes, of course she does. There are times that she literally cannot take another step, multiple times that she thinks she’s going mad, but who wouldn’t have some of that response after crash-landing on an unknown planet? She’s been coddled and fed from a silver spoon her whole life, and doesn’t know how to deal with this situation. That’s not her fault. But she doesn’t whine, which is amazing. She’s too proud to show her pain, her worry, and she sucks it up and just keeps going.
“I’m not doing much at all. I might as well be a rag doll. Comes complete with matching shoes. Spine sold separately.”
Tarver is the opposite. He’s a decorated war hero, and while I would have liked to have had more background on his life, exactly what he did to become a war hero, it’s hinted at that he saved many lives. He’s only eighteen, but he’s an old soul. He’s seen so much death, never been able to show his emotions, because to do so means to falter, and to falter means to die. So, he hides it all away and focus on what he knows for sure, on the things he can handle. He coerces Lilac to keep moving even when she doesn’t have it in her, knows exactly the buttons to push on her to make her angry, make her feel something – anything – to make her get up.
At the beginning, it was Tarver taking care of Lilac. She has her advantages – she’s kind of the reason they even made it off the spaceship to begin with, therefore saving both their lives. So she’s not a completely useless heroine. But once they’re on the planet, he has to do almost everything.
But that changes. She’s tougher than her exterior, and she takes care of him when he needs her most. She saves his life more than once, and we find ourselves with a fully transformed character, one that has more depth than we could have imagined at the beginning. This novel is not full of flat characters, but lets us see the layers under Lilac, and why she is the way she is.
And it’s Lilac who actually brings tears to my eyes. Because she grows so much on this journey and she makes the ultimate sacrifice for Tarver. She loves him so much that she’ll use the one advantage she has on him there to save him, no matter what – her ability to lie.
I am not a fan of martyrdom. To me, many cases of it in books comes across as selfish. For example, let’s say there’s this couple, and to save the girl, the guy offers himself to the bad guy as a sacrifice in exchange for her life. I’m just not always buying the “I’ll die to protect you thing.” Just to be clear, it’s not that I don’t believe that he doesn’t love her enough to sacrifice himself for her, but he acts like being the one left behind is the better option. When in fact, I think it’s worse to be the one left behind, knowing that that person you loved died for you. What’s worse, being left behind or being the one who died? There’s a whole discussion there that would involved religion and theology, so let’s not go there right now.
But it was different here. One of the few times. Lilac sacrifices herself in many ways, but there’s one that actually got me a little teary-eyed. Because she was just so smart about it. It wasn’t in vain, and she makes no efforts to make it seem like a noble sacrifice on her part. She even tells Tarver that if he was the one gone, she wouldn’t last ten seconds on her own. But without her, she knows he’ll hurt, but is strong enough to come out of it.
It’s just so freakin’ beautiful.
Which is so strange for me. I’m actually getting a little teary-eyed right now, thinking about it. I’ve read so many other tear-worthy parts in novels, and I never cried. But this kind of made me raw.
I kept waiting for them to get picked up and saved from the planet halfway into the middle of the book, and then having to deal with Lilac’s rich and dangerous father, who’s first instinct is probably going to be to kill Tarver for even being in the presence of his daughter, and a whole bunch of drama that I didn’t care for.
But that’s not what happened. The whole book is them on the planet, and it’s a survival story, an alien story, and a painful stracrossed lovers story.
And the ending – the ending was beautiful. It was glorious. I could not have asked for a better ending. One of the few that I find no fault in. Both Lilac and Tarver grow so much in this novel, and I would dare to call them starcrossed lovers. I’ve always found that way of describing a couple a little . . . cliché, but it suits them perfectly.
They are strong and have enough faults to last a lifetime, but they make up for each other. This is one of the few YA books where the romance felt . . . perfect, in all the couple’s imperfectness.