It’s time to tackle the second part of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner for the March edition of the Lytherus book club. This book has become one of the best scifi YA books I’ve ever encountered. I adored it, every bit of it, and I highly recommend it. Before I dig into the latter half of the story, let me remind you that THERE WILL BE SPOILERS in my review, as I’m assuming you’ve read this along with us.
So, we left off with Tarver and Lilac traversing the alien countryside towards the downed ship Icarus, hoping to encounter rescue teams. Tarver thinks Lilac is losing it, because she’s seeing things and hearing things, and at the end of the first part Tarver also gets a vision, one of his family’s house, and he now thinks he’s losing it too.
From this point to the end the book becomes bonkers, in the best way possible. Things keep piling up, one after the other, and I was definitely caught off guard by some of them.
Here are the main plot points for the second half of the book:
- Lilac addresses the visions and theorizes that they are from some sort of life form on the planet. She names them the whispers.
- On the journey to the ship Tarver comes across a canteen, his canteen (complete with his initials), in perfect condition. He’d lost it in the cave-in. They both are thinking that the whispers did it.
- When they get to the ship they pry open a wall to get in to look for supplies. Tarver slices his hand badly, but downplays it.
- It gets infected, he gets sick and hallucinates, and Lilac goes in alone to find medical supplies alone. Encounters lots of dead bodies in the ship (ugh), but forces past them because at this point Tarver is dying. She finds supplies and saves his life.
- They climb to the top of the ship to scout the land, and the whispers reveal a trail of flowers that lead them to a small house in the distance. They decide to trust them and head that way.
- They finally kiss, but Tarver keeps her at arm’s length, worried about his heart once they’re rescued and separated back into their different worlds.
- After they get to the building and can’t get in, they take a break and Lilac tells Tarver how she knows so much about tech. She tells him about her teen love Simon, who taught her all she knows, and who was sent away by her father to the front line and killed when their love was revealed. This breaks down their barriers and they end up giving into the feelings they both have been hiding and spend the night (and future days) together.
- Lilac suggests they blow up the door to break into the building. Lilac lights the fuse but it burns quicker than expected, and she takes shrapnel in the abdomen and dies in Tarver’s arms.
- He buries her, and a few days later the whispers bring her back (!!). She digs up her body though, so they’re not sure what exactly she is.
- Now in the shelter, they “talk” with the whispers (lights flick on and off for yes and no), who reveal that they mean no harm, they’ve been leading Lilac and Tarver to this place, and that they are the ones who brought Lilac back.
- Lilac digs for a flower she pressed in Tarver’s book. It was one he’d given her that she’d lost, and it reappeared to her, like his canteen did to him. But when they look, it’s turned to dust. They both realize that this might be Lilac’s future, and that she’s most likely on borrowed time.
- They dig through half-burned records and manage to piece together that a dimensional rift was discovered here. That’s what pulled the Icarus out of hyperspace. And that if it collapses huge amounts of energy will be released which are potentially fatal. There is also mention of the extraction of test subjects from another dimension, which they conclude are the whispers.
- Lilac gets them into a secret part of the building, into a room that hides the dimensional rift. She figures out that the whispers are the power source for the building, and are what are keeping the gate open. They are trapped and are dying. She’s pulled power from them to send a distress signal, and it’s weakening all of them, including her.
- Tarver grabs Lilac and jumps into the rift to set them free and hopefully save her in the process. It works. The energy surge brings her back, and the gate is broken, the whispers freed.
- After they’re rescued they make a pact on what to say. She pretends to be tramatized, and he doesn’t reveal any of the weird things that happened during his interrogation (that’s what’s interspersed between the chapters). But when her father comes to get her, she reveals what she knows and that he was involved. She threatens him, says that if anything happens to Tarver she’ll reveal the truth to the world, and she’ll also be out of his life forever.
- As their ship pulls away they look down and see the planet burning with fire. So now there’s no proof of their story, other than what they know.
Whew! This book, it was a roller-coaster! I devoured it, couldn’t stop reading. I loved all the twists, and there was so much I didn’t see coming. I didn’t see her dying (though once she did it made sense for her to come back). I loved finding out about the whispers. But one of my favorite parts was watching Lilac stand up to her father. She grew so much over the course of the book, coming into her own as her real self, not the fake person she’s pretended to be for so long.
At the end of the day this was a quest story. Stranded travelers need to traverse an alien land to get to a fallen ship in hopes of rescue. The journey itself was rather simplistic. But that allowed the authors to bombard us with tons of information, adding so much depth to the plot.
I will highly recommend this book to people. I can’t believe I waited this long to read it, actually. It defintely lived up to the hype, and I’m digging right into the second book, This Fallen World. Hold tight, the review will be coming soon.
But I want to hear from you! What did you love about this book? What was your favorite part? Let’s gush some love in the comments. And don’t forget to submit your questions, I’ll be interviewing the authors at the end of the month, so be sure to mention anything you want to know!