Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: review

Goodreads rating: 4.16
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray 
Source: Borrowed ARC

 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.

I want to preface this review by saying that I have not read Jane Austen's "Persuasion". I know, I'm a horrible person, but I was never able to get into the classics when I was younger, and YA has pretty much taken over my life. But I know the basic premise of it and I love how Peterfreund twisted it into a dystopian. Dystopians now for me need that extra twist. If it's a series, it can't just be about a world that got partially wiped out by a plague and our main character is just trying to survive. But this was what a lot of what this book was about, and that's why it was good as a standalone novel. Despite how achingly beautiful it was, it was also kind of a light read. The paranormal element (yes, there is one) wasn't that strong of a theme, although I did enjoy the mystery of what Kai and his companions might be. The only only part that really gave me imaginary ulcers, was the romance, or kind of a lack thereof.

From the moment Kai comes back into Elliot's life, Peterfreund keeps us on the edge of our seats. You know that eventually they're going to be together, but how? The whole time we're led to believe that Kai hates Elliot for what she did to him all those years ago (which I will not divulge), and Elliot has more problems in her life than whether she should want to be with Kai anymore. Then something happens where she must make a decision: stay at home or go with Kai. And of course Peterfreund makes us wait until the last few pages of the book to tell us. This romance is unlike any other that I've read in a long time. They have such contempt for each other at certain times, and are so obviously infatuated with each other at other times. And they're thrown into these impossible situations, and when they're apart they can't help missing each other. I literally hurt for Elliot when Kai was being so hurtful towards her, or when she would make a decision to distance herself from him or vice versa. You can't help falling in love with their love story. I think that was what really made the difference for me here: I fell in love with their story just as much as I fell in love with Kai.

If you enjoyed Jane Austen's novel, then I'm sure you'll find this enjoyable. I'm definitely more inclined to read "Persuasion" now that I've had a glimpse at this love story. Peterfreund really did a wonderful job of giving it that gritty, edgy feel of a dystopian while sticking to the main focus of the story: that love conquers all. I haven't read any of her other books (although I have her unicorn books), but I'll definitely think about reading them now. Writers take a huge risk reinventing a classic, and Peterfreund did an amazing job.


  1. I really need to read this book! I've been looking forward to it for a really long time! I'm glad you loved it! It gives me hope that I could love it too!

    Crystal @ Elegantly Bound Books

  2. i actually didn't read persuasion until a few years ago and i really liked it. this one sounds so good and i keep hearing amazing things. must get it soon.


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