I’ve wanted to read this book for so long, and now I finally have. I had heard nothing but good things so I went into this with the highest expectations I have ever had for a book. Truly, it was doomed to fail before I even read it, right? Wrong! This book surprised me by meeting those expectations and more, to the point that by chapter 5ish I had gone ahead and purchased the hardcover book.
What’s even more amazing about that is I’m really not a fan of Sci-Fi books, but I really did love this one.
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.
So I see in a lot of places refer to this book as ‘Titanic in Space.’ I totally get that, but only in the first few chapters. The majority of the book doesn’t take place on the ship, or even in space; the majority of it is spent on this unknown planet in the early stages of terraforming. The main characters spend maybe 5 chapters on the ship, then spend the remaining 40 chapters on this planet. Other than the space ship breaking apart in space and the two characters from different backgrounds meeting it didn’t feel much like Titanic at all.
Honestly though it would have been pretty awesome to read a book that was basically Titanic in space, like the Doctor Who special Voyage of the Damned, but with these character I think it would not have been possible.
Anyway, I understand the comparison, but I don’t think it really works.
Spoilers at the bottom, but for now I’ll stay clear of them.
1. Who were the main characters?
Lilac LaRoux – Daughter to the richest man in the Galaxy, basically a princess. At first meeting, she seems to have a very strong personality, though you are seeing her through the eyes of the Major first. I thought she was very likable.
Tarver Merendsen – Young war hero, well known for his heroic deeds in dealing with rebels. When the book start, it’s through his POV. He’s not very comfortable in the lavish life aboard the Icarus, but once they have to escape, he is the level headed one trying to keep Lilac LaRoux alive on the mysterious planet.
2. Summary of the book.
After the luxury ship, The Icarus, is pulled out of hyperspace and falls apart, Lilac and Tarver find themselves stranded on an uninhabited planet. They must find a way to survive, and search the planet for a means of rescue.
Spoiler summary below.
3. What did you like about the book?
So many things. I liked the story, the characters, the fact it’s a series, but ended in one book.
4. What did you not like about the book?
Even though the romance progressed at a convincing rate, once they did acknowledge their feelings for one another, they pretty much hit it hard. As far as I could tell, Lilac had never really had a boyfriend before (because of her dad) and Tarver had maybe one ex so how fast it went was weird for me. Don’t get me wrong, i’m glad I didn’t have to read those awkward teenage feelings of how do relationships work, but I wish it had progressed better.
My next problem will be in the spoilers.
5. Any other notes about the book?
This book took a direction I didn’t expect it to take. I thought it would be about their time on the planet, trying to survive, and contacting rescue. While it was about those things, it had a different route it took to achieve those things. I kind of would have preferred the book without those elements, but I think it adds something to it in the end.
6. Will you read the other books in the series?
I already ordered them.
7. Would you recommend this book to others?
Yes, for sure. Totally so.
8. Final Thoughts?
I truly did like this book, it really surprised me. I can’t wait to read the next one. I’m probably going to read the side book, This Night so Dark, sometime today.
Now for Spoilers:
So when the book begins, you are reading from Tarvers POV. He’s observing the people there at this fancy ‘party’, whom he doesn’t care, and notices a rather suspicious man make his way in. This man makes his way to a young girl, and he tries to get her to listen to him. Tarver begins to make his way over, but the girls guards take care of it. She dismisses them, and Tarver finishes the distance there, taking the man away. He returns to talk to the girl and starts to really like her. Unfortunately, the girls entourage returns and he excuses himself.
Now you are reading from Lilac’s POV, the books alternates between them each chapter which is pretty cool. This is when you learn that she is the daughter of the most wealthy and powerful man in the universe. She talks to her cousin about the Major who was so bold to talk to her, and her cousin Anna warns her to stay away, as her father would not take to kindly to the idea.
It’s not until later while walking with her entourage that Lilac discovers the Major, Tarver, did not even know who she was when he invites her to go up on deck to see the stars. Even though she is intrigued by him, she tells Tarver that she was only having fun messing with him and that she is basically too good for him, causing her companions to laugh.
They leave in opposite directions, and do not see each other until the night The Icarus falls. I like how they notice each other in these moments, cause isn’t that how it works? Once you notice a person, you start seeing them everywhere, whereas you didn’t before. I know that happens to me a lot, especially in places I’ve worked.
Anyway, Lilac and her companions are separated in the mad dash for escape pods, but Tarver is able to save her before she is trampled to death. She leads him to the employee escape pods, and tries to get him to take a different escape pod. He isn’t having it, and joins her in that one.
They soon realize that the escape pods are not able to detach, but Lilac is able to override the system, and they crash safely onto the nearby planet.
On the planet, they see that it has gone through the stages of terrafoming, so Tarver believes there should be colonies around. He wants to find them, but Lilac wants to stay near the pod when rescue shows up. They stay the night in the pod, but end up seeing The Icarus fall down and crash on the planets surface. Now Tarver sets the goal to go to the ship, because that is where a rescue party will go.
They both head out, but have a fight and Lilac tries to return to the pod. I thought this part was pretty funny, because they both believed that the other would come running after them. Lilac was all like ‘there’s no way he’ll leave me alone to die out here’ and Tarvers like ‘she’ll realize she needs me to survive, and come running so I better walk slower.’
Instead, Tarver continues towards the ship, but hears Lilac scream and runs after her. He sees her stuck up a tree with a strange cat creature beneath it. He shoots that cat creature, helps Lilac down, and continues towards the fallen ship with Lilac following. There wasn’t an explanation to this creature, so i’m still confused by it. It’s the last time they see any wildlife too, so was it’s only purpose to reunite Lilac and Tarver?
Continuing their journey, Tarver begins to search ahead so Lilac can rest. She is wearing very expensive wedge shoes that are causing her great discomfort now that she has to walk a great distance. One day he comes back very grim from searching because he found another escape pod, but with no survivors. This is the other thing I didn’t like, because now Tarver decides that he needs to bury them. I understand why he feels the need, but they are very low on food, time, and energy. Why use it up to bury them? As a soldier, it just didn’t make sense for him to use his energy on that, when they have a mountain to climb. Seems like you’d need food and energy for that.
So, they make their way towards the mountain that separates them from the fallen ship and this is where it gets a bit weird. During their trip, Lilac was having visions, and hearing ‘whispers.’ The visions, she believes, are hauntings of the people who died and Tarver buried. When she confronts him, telling him what they looked like, he lies because he can’t believe that she could really know. At this point I’m thinking that something is going on with the planet, like the ghosts/spirits of the dead are able to walk freely or something.
While sleeping in a cave to escape the cold and snow, Lilac wakes up frantic, telling Tarver they need to leave the cave because the whispers told her they were in danger. He thinks she’s going crazy and wants her to go back to sleep, but she grabs their supplies and runs out, with Tarver following after. It’s at that moment that a small avalanche comes down engulfing the cave. Tarver still refuses to believe that there is anything out there capable of all this, until the whispers show him a vision of his home. He is stunned, and days later when the whispers give him a copy of their canteen, which was lost in the avalanche, he believes it more.
They get closer to the ship and notice that there are no rescue ships around. The idea that the ship was not able to send out it’s location begins to make more sense, but they continue towards it for supplies. Once there, they get new clothing, but Tarver becomes injured, so Lilac continues the search in the ship for the sick bay. She is frightened in the ship, because of the dead bodies she discovers, but continues to go in everyday because she knows she has to save Tarver. When he is healed, they climb the ship as best they can so survey the planet better. They notice an outpost building with flowers leading to it, they believe the whispers created. They travel to the building, but are unable to get in.
Lilac discovers a cave and it becomes the place that they stay till they can get into the building. It’s here that they both acknowledge their feelings for one another after having tried earlier and failing. I was a bit confused at first, trying to figure out if they confessed their attraction then got it on or not, but later it became clear that they had in fact gotten sexual with one another.
It’s also at this point that they both start wanting to stay on the planet together, which they should have discussed. I don’t know why they didn’t, but they both knew leaving would possibly lead to them never seeing each other again. Why not talk it out?
Instead, Lilac comes up with a plan to blow up the door (because she loved blowing things up as a child, so she still has the knowledge) and they both start preparing for it. When they are ready, Tarver begins to have a sinking feeling, but it’s too late. Lilac sets off the bomb, but isn’t able to get out of the way in time, as the fuse lights too fast. She is hit with a shard from the door, and dies a few moments later in Tarvers arms. I lost my cool at this moment.
I couldn’t believe that she actually died, I mean, what they hell?! You can’t have this beautiful couple come together, and then rip them apart. No fair at all.
With Lilac dead, Tarver goes into a depression state, thinking about shooting himself. Soon the whispers start showing him visions of Lilac, trying to keeping him going, but it only depresses him further. After a few more days, he wakes up with Lilac there for real. She is frightened out of her mind, and he is confused and angry, holding his gun to her asking what she is. They realize that she is a copy of Lilac that the whispers made to keep Tarver going. It’s hard for them to touch each other, actually causing this new Lilac physical pain, but they soon trust one another.
Exploring the building now, they start to realize that there was more going on there than what meets the eye. For instance, where is the generator that is allowing the power to continue? They find a basement in the building with a door they cannot open. It’s behind that door that the whispers had been leading them to all along. It’s the whole reason they created Lilac, because they needed Tarver to keep going and open it, instead of shooting himself, but it also means that she is temporary. Now with the idea that she will be taken away, Tarver realizes to himself that this is Lilac and he can’t lose her again.
Lilac can’t take it anymore, she wants to see the body of the former Lilac, but Tarver says no. Every morning she takes walks, and Tarver fears that she had disappeared into dust. One day, he learns that she is taking walks to learn where the body of Lilac was buried, but it’s too late. She has already dug her up and saw that she is still there, that she is a copy without a doubt. She resolves to open the door no matter what and get Taver home.
The next day when he wakes up, Tarver finds Lilac in the basement with the door open. She has also sent out a signal of their location asking for help. She also realized that the whispers where the power source to the building, created and experimented on by her father. She leave, but Tarver stays a bit. It’s then that the whispers appear to him as his deceased brother telling him they need to be shut off so that they can finally be at peace. He shuts off the signal, but sees ships already heading towards the planet.
Lilac returns, and turns the signal back on, but Tarver wants her to stop so they can both remain on the planet together. She tries to convince him to go, but he keeps insisting they need to stay and help the whispers. He comes up with a plan to save everyone, and he pulls them both into the energy itself (I think). When they wake, the power is gone, and Lilac isn’t falling apart and dying anymore. They go out to the ships, though Tarver tries to convince her to hide again with him in the cave till they leave.
They are taken aboard, and transferred from ship to ship till they get to the right one. Tarver is questioned, and Lilac is tested, which her father puts a stop to right away. She is happy to see him, but ends up confronting him about Tarver and her previous boyfriend after he tells her to tell the press Tarver only helped her. She refuses, and makes sure that he won’t harm Tarver. When Lilac sees Tarver, they are happy but end up seeing the planet destroyed.
Seriously, I couldn’t believe that they blew up the whole planet, but I guess it’s the best way to keep secrets. And really, you couldn’t tell if Lilac was gonna make it or not, at least I couldn’t. It messed with your head, man!
I’m really excited to read the next book, but it doesn’t arrive till Monday. I’m interested to see how this series works when this book is completed, and the next book is about different people. I know The Lunar Chronicles kind of did a similar thing, but the previous characters were still there in a big way. I’m pretty excited.