For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
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.
Do you ever have those books where you enjoy reading them WHILE you’re reading, but when you have to put it down it’s not a big deal? That’s what For Darkness Shows the Stars was like for me. While I was reading, I enjoyed the story and the writing, but when I would look down at my watch and see I needed to leave to go to work or a meeting and had to put the book down for a while, it didn’t bother me at all to leave the story. If I had to return this book to the library before I finished, I wouldn’t have been upset at all.
I haven’t read Jane Austen’s Persuasion, so undoubtly this affected my reading of this book in some regards. I LOVED the inclusion of the technology drift. Instead of society being stratified based upon economic class, the two main classes in this book were based upon their views towards technology. The Luddites, or the class of people to which Elliot belongs, shun most technology as evil. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, and so many of my favorite parts where the ones in which the ethics of technology was debated. I think it was an interesting addition to this story, which at it’s core, is a love story.
The main aspect of this book that made it not a I LOVE THIS! book for me were the characters. Now, I am typically a character-driven reader. Nothing makes me DNF a book faster than characterization that is sloppy or makes no sense. Peterfreund’s characterization wasn’t bad by any means, and they grew and learned throughout the story, but I never felt as emotionally connected to them as I would have liked. I kept reading because the plot intrigued me, but I felt no loyalty towards the characters. I was a happily-ever-after not because I cared about the characters but just because I wanted a happy ending.
By the end of the book, I was only half-heartedly rooting for Elliot, and wasn’t too fussed about Kai at all. They just didn’t stand out to me in any great way. I did think that Peterfreund’s writing was had a great natural rhythm. It felt Austen-like, but in a more modern, contemporary way. As far as actual retellings go, this is a pretty good one from what I know, though I haven’t read the source material. It felt familiar, but with a spin that made the tale fresh.
In short, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it the way I thought I would. I never REALLY felt a strong connection to the characters, and I never felt emotionally invested, only marginally interested. I would have also liked a little more exploration of the ethics of the society. It was a good read and when the book was opened, I enjoyed it, but it’s not a story I fell in love with and would have a desire to re-visit any time soon.
Final Impression: Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as an entertaining read, but wouldn’t expect to much out of it(which is a bit sad, because the technology ethic in the post-apocalyptic society had SUCH potential!). I did enjoy the plot a lot and by the end, some of the characters, though I wished I had felt that a bit stronger in the beginning. The writing was very Austen-ish and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. 3/5 cupcakes.