|I fell in love with this series a while ago, just from the covers!|
It's funny how the circumstances surrounding you when you read a book can affect how you feel about it.
I was given These Broken Stars as part of a joint gift from friends right after my mother died, so I couldn't pull off an objective review of this book for anything. It was just what I needed at that particular moment in time - a fun escape, a sci-fi adventure, and a sweeping romance - and was perfect for me to pick up when I needed something to take me away from everything.
However, and thinking about it, it's not the first time we've seen this. A rich young lady, and a poor man fall in love on a doomed (space)ship? A woman hunts for medicine to heal her love interest, suffering from a cut that became infected?
I did appreciate their characters, although again, they're not all that original. Tarver Merendsen is a soldier, war hero and a bit of a cynic, with a softer side, and a love of poetry. Lilac LaRoux is the rich socialite, with everything she could ever want, but with some hidden depths, too. She pretends to be cold and haughty because she's become wary of letting people get too close, and she's good with electronics. They are really the only two characters worth mentioning, since so much of the book is focused on their survival on a strange, deserted planet.
This Shattered World is a completely different kettle of fish. I loved Jubilee Chase, I loved that she was so different from Lilac, loved that she was a military captain. And I'm not saying that Lilac was bad, either - there are different kinds of strength. It's just interesting to see two female protagonists so radically different from each other in the same series. Flynn Cormac, however, is just so completely nice without being boring that I found myself rooting for both sides. Well, not really rooting - it's one of those wars where you can see where both sides are coming from, but realise that things would be much better if they'd just talk it out.
When writing a kidnapping romance, you have to be careful not to imply things like Stockholm Syndrome. This book does it well. Feelings between Lee and Flynn don't really develop until after Lee is free. There's a much stronger military theme to this one, too, so if you don't like too much romance, you could start with this one. Just bear in mind that Lilac and Tarver do show up, and we also meet Sofia Quinn, protagonist of the next book. It's a well-done conflict, with shades of grey both on the rebels side and the military.
Their Fractured Light is perhaps my favourite book in the series. Sofia is easily my favourite protagonist. I loved how her skills are lying and manipulation, and she's mostly driven by revenge. Unusual for a female YA protagonist. If her first plan doesn't work out, she's got plans B, C and D all ready, and is good at adapting ideas on the fly. Gideon is a brilliant hacker who's forgotten how to trust, how to be with someone without telling a lie. This makes him a good match for Sofia, who has been hiding her identity for a while in order to get close to Roderick LaRoux.
Old friends do pop up in this book, and you will get more out of it if you've read the previous two. Other characters outside of the main six also get more development, too. By the end, I started to wish we could have a heist book with these six working as a team. They really gel, and it's a shame they don't spend more time together.
Kaufman and Spooner write together as one so well that I cannot tell who writes what. Their writing styles complement each other well.
I feel like this would be a hard series to recommend - maybe with too much romance for pure sci-fi lovers, and too much sci-fi for romance fans - but fans of cross-genre books, like me, should love it.