Series Review: Starbound by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for These Broken Stars (from Goodreads):

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.


Series: Starbound Trilogy
Author: Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner
# of Books: 3 (These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light)

There is a novella: #1.5 This Night So Dark (free on most eBook Stores)

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2013 – December 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


Disclaimer: After finishing These Broken Stars, I opted not to pick up books 2 and 3 of the series. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve been searching for a great science fiction “thriller” since I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis years ago. You know, that science fiction novel that has a mystery element to that gets slowly revealed the deeper you go. I have yet to find a book that compares to Revis’ stellar trilogy, but I had high hopes for the Starbound Trilogy.

Of course, the beautiful cover of These Broken Stars (TBS) drew me to this series but the synopsis kept me around. Add to that, is the fact that Kaufman’s Illuminae Files Series is probably the closest thing I have come to finding something comparable to Across the Universe (ATU). This one seemed like a no-brainer for me to pick up. TBS and ATU have similar premises: a hero and heroine who should never cross paths yet somehow find themselves as the sole survivors of some mysterious phenomenon and are left trying to find out why. So, needless to say, I had high expectations for These Broken Stars.

What I Liked:

–The Covers–

Ok, I just have to say that these covers are gorgeous. It almost makes me regret reading the eBooks because I didn’t get to see these covers in person.

–The Character Development–

Both characters had great growth throughout the novel. They learn to adapt and learn to appreciate the other person and its beautiful to watch. It really is the primary focus of this novel–besides the slow burning romance–and it works well.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Inspiration for Illuminae?–

Am I the only one who feels like this series is eerily similar to The Illuminae Files? Both series are three connected novels, each focusing on two different leads, and by the end, everyone is linked together. Even the interview briefings before each chapter with Tarver talking to whomever were reminiscent of Illuminae. It just didn’t seem as fresh to me as I expected.

It is a nice concept though. I think I would be bored watching the same two characters in this world and I like the 360 degree it provides of the overall world.

–The Almost Supernatural Science Fiction Elements–

I really enjoyed the anticipation of figuring out what was happening on this planet Lilac and Tarver find themselves on. But the reveal kind of disappointed me. It really wasn’t what I was expecting and it was a bit of a let down. I think I wanted a more logical explanation than what we got.

–Very Slow Plot–

This could have easily been 100 pages shorter if you ask me. It felt like it took forever to get to the main plot or get anything new happening. It’s reads like an adventure novel–and if you’ve read previous reviews, you know I don’t enjoy adventure novels for this reason. I wanted this novel to be more of a mystery/suspense read and instead, it’s a slower paced novel about two people learning to adapt to their surroundings.

Will I Finish It?

I contemplated back and forth about picking up This Shattered World. After I finished TBS, I marked it as a “pass” on Goodreads. But then, I thought I should give the next two leads a shot–they might be different so I thought I should read it. And then a couple days later, after reading some friends’ reviews on Goodreads, I changed my mind once again and decided that I wouldn’t be continuing this series.

I get the impression that the rest of the series is similar to this first installment and so I don’t think I will enjoy the next 2 novels.

Series Rating: DNF

These Broken Stars 3/5 | [This Night So Dark] 3/5 | This Shattered World N/A | Their Fractured Light N/A


I’m definitely in the minority for this one so maybe look elsewhere for a review. I think if you want a science fiction story that slowly builds its science fiction plot and keeps its focus on the characters and the romance, this is a great one. but it’s not an action packed story by any stretch of the imagination.

Read if You Like: more romance based YA reads, supernatural-esque SciFi
Avoid if You: want action



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Comments 12

  • It’s a bummer that you didn’t like it, I already own the first book but due to all the mixed reviews, I still haven’t picked it up and now I feel more discouraged to do so. 🙁 It sucks when things are too similar, the book loses its charm. Anyway, great review!
    Poulami @ Daydreaming Books recently posted…Review: The Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown || Where the rising started off slow but ended with a bang!My Profile

    • I know, I was upset too when I was reading it: I really wanted to like this series! I think if I had read this before Illuminae I would have been more intrigued. Illuminae has its unique format that makes it refreshing so while their are comparisons, I would have enjoyed it just as much I think.

  • I haven’t read the Illuminae series yet and I still haven’t read this series but I’ve been meaning to. They’ve been on my radar for so very long. It is a series I’ve been meaning to get to. Thanks for the update! I’m concerned I’ll have the same “meh” reaction.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  • This is really interesting. I wouldn’t have expected them to be so similar, but then again I’ve only read a little bit of the Illuminae Files and none of this trilogy haha. Did you like the Illuminae Files?

    • I didn’t think they’d be similar either other than the science fiction element truthfully. I really enjoyed Illuminae but Gemina (Book 2) wasn’t as “wow” for me. Maybe if I had read this first it wouldn’t have been so similar?

  • Lovely review! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy that one so much. I have heard mixed reviews about this one so far, but I really love these covers and am still intrigued enough, I think, to give the first book a try someday. I don’t mind a focus on characters and romance, so… maybe I’ll enjoy it ahha 🙂
    Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks recently posted…Am I that mysterious? – Q&A with the Mystery Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • I could definitely see where the love and enjoyment of this series would come from. But it is not my cup of tea! I needed a little more excitement and action!
      If you do read it, let me know how it goes!

  • I read the first book because I was completely obsessed with the cover. I remember all the rave reviews about it, but I felt pretty similar to how you did about it. I was never really inspired to pick up the rest of the series, but maybe someday I’ll want to.
    Stephanie’s Book Reviews recently posted…Review: The Chalk Man by C.J. TudorMy Profile

    • I think I just wanted this book to be something else and it really disappointed me when it wasn’t that. I had a hard time connecting with the leads so I thought the next book might be better because it does focus on other characters–but I was so unimpressed that I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it 🙁

  • I actually enjoyed this book but I didn’t liked the second one. I’m sorry this book didn’t worked out for you. I totally agree with this being similar to the Illuminae files. You should also check out The Broken Skies trilogy by Theresa Kay. It’s pretty good and totally action packed.
    Raven recently posted…Blog Tour: Into The Black By Ava Jae – Review+Giveaway!My Profile

    • Interesting! I think that’s part of the problem with a series that follows different leads sometimes. I felt the same way with Illuminae and Gemina (I liked Gemina but not as much as Illuminae) because I missed Katy and Ezra.

      I’ll have to check out The Broken Skies Trilogy. I haven’t had the greatest success with Alien stories but I see the first book is free for Kindle so I’ll add it to my list. Thanks for the suggestion!

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