For Darkness Shows the Stars Review

for darkness shows the starsTitle: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Source: Library rental

Edition: Hardcover, 407 Pages

Genre: Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Re-Telling, Young Adult

Publisher: Balzer + Bray an imprint of Harper Collins

Published Date: June 12, 2012

My Rating: 3parachutes.5

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From Goodreads:

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 jump starting 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.

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Date Read: January 8th, 2014

My Review:

Kai and Elliot both grew up on the North Estate, leaving letters for one another to find in a knothole in the barn where Kai lives. Their friendship grows into something more for both of them, but when both Kai and Elliot are 14, Kai leaves in search of all the things he and Elliot fantasized about as children.

The letters span their friendship starting from the age of 7 until Kai’s departure and are spread out throughout the book, highlighting various conversations they had with one another.

I, for one, fell in love with this story right from the beginning, which is something that rarely happens these days. For Darkness Shows the Stars is something special that I will not soon forget. I have not read Persuasion, but from what I have heard, it is a loose re-telling of the Jane Austen story. The romance part for example felt very similar to something you would come across in one of Austen’s novels.

I loved the exchange of letters between the main character Elliot and Kai, I loved getting to know Dee and Horatio, Olivia and Andromeda, Donovan and Felicia. My heart broke when their hearts broke, I smiled and laughed when they smiled and laughed. The whole thing was just so likable.

Elliot North, a Luddite and from one of the oldest remaining families after the Wars of the Lost. Basically an aristocrat from a well-to-do family, but with a heart of gold who sees everyone as equals. Elliot is strong and fierce and her sense of responsibility for the estate is not something you can find fault in. The Posts and the Reduced are all her friends and they depend on her. If you are like me and very rarely like a YA heroine, Elliot is not your typical heroine and really I wish more were like her.

Kai aka Malakai Wentforth, a Post, son of a Post and a captain in the Cloud Fleet. Okay I admit I wanted to shake Kai a couple of times when he returns to the North Estate, he was so horrible. But even though I have not read Persuasion I know how Austen novels are and the men are always shake-worthy until they finally get a clue. I had a hard time liking his character once he returned with the Cloud Fleet, but he does redeem himself and it is not like he does not wear his suffering on his sleeve for all the world to see. Anyway, just bear with him.

For all the things I loved, I was also confused. And I don’t know if I was confused because I’m not used to the writing style, or if it was because of all the terminology thrown at me, or if it was because I read the entire story half-awake. The confusion was real and while it tapered off after the beginning, where the world building was happening, my confusion returned full-force when I realized I was at the end of the book and I wouldn’t know what happens next. I know there is a companion novel, but unless I’m mistaken Across a Star Swept Sea is an entirely different story with different characters. I know the companion takes place in the same universe only well after this story ends. Anyway it just makes me sad, because I wanted to know what they discover, I wanted to hear about Dee and her family, about Donovan, even Horatio and Olivia, I must find out about the wheat! So yeah, I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars but I was disappointed by ending, I want need more.

Overall, the pacing was some of the best I’ve come across so far. The book was just over 400 pages, but it didn’t feel like it. I sat down to read a few pages and didn’t stop until I reached the end. The writing takes a little getting used to, but it’s not bad. I would recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen novels. This story might have been post-apocalyptic, but the similarities to the world Austen writes about are eerie. I will definitely be reading the companion once my library gets a copy.

Challenges: TBR Pile RC, Goodreads

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