Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Info: Disney Hyperion, copyright 2013, 374 pages
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.
I am now completely on the Amie Kaufman bandwagon. I mean, I was kind of on board after Illumine, but now, powering through her Starbound series co-authored with Meagan Spooner, I'm thinking about conducting the wagon. (That made NO sense at all and was completely ridiculous. I apologize. What I meant to say is that I'm a full-fledged fan. See how easy that was? Not sure why I couldn't just lead with that, but so it goes.)
The Goodreads description sums it up pretty well. Spaceship crashes leaving socialite, Lilac LaRoux, stranded on a mysterious planet with military hero Tarver Merendsen. At first they can't stand one another, but it's a fight for survival, and there are feels.
This isn't quite the "space" fiction I'd been hoping for. It starts out in space, on a spaceship (which feels a little bit like the ship in The Fifth Element with Ruby Rhod walking around schmoozing with the elite acting a little crazy), but then the ship crashes, and there is no more space...which made me sad. Because I like space, but I am now pretty interested in the concept of terraforming (what I take to mean preparing a new planet for human life). So no more space. And at first glance, the romance between Lilac and Tarver is pretty superficial. There's a lot of swooning over the ridiculous and "I shouldn't feel this way...but I do" inner-dialogue that was on the verge of exhausting.
But despite its faults (and after continuing on with the series), it's kind of brilliant. Lilac is a whiny rich girl, expect she isn't. She has layers (like an ogre ~ okay, I really need to stop. Not sure what is wrong with me with this review...) Despite the wealth and power of her father, Lilac is a girl who is looking for love and acceptance and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. She's fierce and stubborn. She's independent and thoughtful. She trusts herself, and while she doesn't trust Tarver at first, she becomes an ally instead of a damsel in distress.
Tarver is a little more one-dimensional (a.k.a. the boy has fewer layers). He's a war hero trying to get home. He's a war hero who doesn't want to be seen as the hero. He's a war hero who doesn't like the spotlight. And he just so happens to fall in love with the last girl in the universe that he should look at.
The ending is confusing, and I would love to explain, but I don't want to give too much away. While I'm not opposed to spoilers, I appreciate an aversion to them. I've read some reviews that go on about the confusing ending, and it's true. But it's the first in a series and the confusion has a purpose. The world building seems to flounder just a bit because this is only stage one. The authors don't want you to get too comfortable; this is only ONE world in the grander scheme of things. They are setting the stage, introducing the larger conflict, and preparing you for the ride. That's why I liked the story (albeit moreso after reading books two and three).
Lilac and Tarver's survival and the world they discover brings to light a terrible reality that weaves its way through the entire series. There really is conspiracy and foul play and it's worth the read to watch it unfold. And there are the feels. Because in the end, despite the high-schoolesque beginning to their romance, the feels are real.
So feel the feels, and read the series, and join me on the Amie Kaufman wagon that is a little weird cause apparently I'm driving now, whatever that means.
Sidenote: Not sure what is up with the cover. Or all of the covers in the series for that matter. Kind of silly and doesn't really convey any of the grit that is within he story.