For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1)
by Diana Peterfreund
Summary: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.
Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.
Source: I purchased a paperback.
Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic Romance
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For Darkness Shows the Stars is absolutely beautiful. It was captivating. It had the feel of a historical novel with the premise of science fiction, intertwining the two styles flawlessly. I loved the conflict so much. The idea that people’s ingenuity, need for progress, and trust in science would eventually ruin the world is not a new one, but I liked the premise of the book. I loved the idea that one group of people would blame ingenuity and the other would still crave answers and remain inventive and curious.
I have never read Persuasion and actually don’t consider myself a fan of anything Austen. For whatever reason, her work does not appeal to me. I was so worried I would dislike the novel because of the strong influence Persuasion had on it and the author’s fondness of Austen. Since I can’t really pinpoint what it is that I dislike about Austen novels, I don’t know exactly what worked for me in For Darkness Shows the Stars that doesn’t work for me in her novels. Either way, I enjoyed the novel without being Austen fan, while still feeling like Austen fans will love the novel, too. Does that make sense?
It took me a bit to get used to Elliot, but I think her name is what threw me off the most. I didn’t understand it and I was very glad that it was explained at least some point in the book. It bothered me that her name was Elliot because it made it harder to get into the novel when my brain kept putting a guy in her place. However, once I accepted the fact that she was a girl and that was her name, things went smoothly. The characters were very well developed. I felt like I knew Elliot inside and out. I felt her emotions, her struggle, her pain, and understood her fears. I knew Kai from the portions of the book that were letters back and forth between Elliot and Kai in the past. I cared about the Posts on the estate and I was curious to figure out who Kai was when he returned. The story pushed and pulled me the entire time. It was an emotional roller coaster.
Between Elliot’s own personal struggle between progress and loyalty and her mixed up emotions and encounters with Kai, the novel affected me. I know it sort of sounds like a post apocalyptic romance and I think it is in many ways, but I also think labeling it in such a way doesn’t really capture the kind of novel it is. It’s got a great post apocalyptic premise, but I saw many parallels with a historical novel in terms of the way the estate was set up. It was beautifully written, without the harsh post apocalyptic/science fiction feel that I know some people don’t like. (I love it, but I realize this story is different and I appreciate the difference.) And though much of the novel was about Elliot and her relationship with Kai, it wasn’t romantic with stolen moments of passion or anything like that. The interactions were full of words and emotions, tension, curiosity, and not so much the meeting of lips.
I loved the story so much. It blended the future with the past in a way that worked so well. It made sense for the Luddites to be more regressed as a society than we are today, despite the novel being set in the future. It appealed to me because I always love the themes associated with a future where humans are less advanced versus the more advanced version we typically think of. It also appealed to me because I thought it was very smart if you were trying to capture the essence of Austen in a new setting. It was very well done, clever, and beautifully executed.
I highly recommend the novel. It will probably be something I reread in the future, which is saying something. For Darkness Shows the Stars is a love story in the best way. I fell for the characters for who they are and what they stood for and that’s the best kind of way to fall.
Labels: Review, Science Fiction, YA