Sunday, 6 October 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1)
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Release date: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 402
Source: Borrowed (Thanks Rabiah!)

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 haven't read Persuasion, the Jane Austen novel this is based on, but I loved this book regardless. The writing is so beautiful, and diction like this is unfortunately quite rare in YA fiction. The premise is original and intriguing, and I was hooked right from the start.

I read the prequel novella, Among the Nameless Stars, before reading this, which I think was a good idea. While For Darkness Shows the Stars is told in Elliot's point of view, the prequel was Kai's story after he left the estate. It definitely gave me more of a perspective about this novel, and it helped me understand Kai so I didn't dislike him in this book. Kai has returned to the estate with glory to his name, and Elliot is ecstatic. But Kai's different. He's still mad at her, and his interaction with her is cold at best. But when the two of them figure out huge secrets about each other, they can't continue their distant and indifferent relationship. There's a lot more at stake, and they need to make the right choices.

Elliot is a Luddite. That means she's automatically high class, above the Reduced and the Posts. She has wealth and inheritance, and a ton of land and servants. But Elliot isn't haughty like her sister - she's sweet, kind, and loyal to the friends who have served her family at the estate for years. Elliot only has one regret - letting Kai leave without her four years ago. But she knows she made the right decision in staying to care for her friends. I empathized with Elliot a lot in this book, especially because of how Kai was treating her. She definitely didn't deserve it, and my heart broke along with hers whenever Kai said something cruel to her.

I kind of have mixed feelings about Kai. From the prequel, I know how much he's been through ever since he left, but I can't condone how he acted in this book. I get that he's hurt because of Elliot's refusal to go with him, but I can't believe it took him so long to realize why she stayed! He was unnecessarily mean to her, which I really didn't like. But at the same time, his caring side shone through, and it was clear that he still loved her. Kai is a very different guy from when he left, in ways more than one. But I was glad to see glimpses of the old Kai in this book. I was so overjoyed when he began warming towards Elliot! They've both been through hell, and they really need each other now.

Despite what the synopsis of this book says, there really isn't much romance in this book. In fact, I don't even think there was a single kiss between Kai and Elliot! Most of the novel is spent on Kai acting hateful and distant, and Elliot pining for him. What I did like were the letters that they wrote to each other when they were kids and young teenagers. The letter conversations are there at the beginning of each chapter, and I loved reading them because they provide some much-needed background about the two protagonists. I almost teared up reading some of them, because their innocence was so visible, and it hurt me to think of what they both lost as they grew older.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, because I don't want to give anything away. But I will say that the whole concept of Luddites and Posts is really engaging, and there's some great world-building in here. I was disappointed to find out that the sequel is actually a companion novel, following different characters. Though this book did end really well, I was hoping to get another novel of Kai and Elliot, especially since they barely get any time as a couple in this book. But I'm looking forward to reading the next book regardless, and here's hoping that they make a cameo in it!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I haven't read Persuasion, but I've watched several movie versions and loved them! I hope these two at least kiss by the end, which would be true to the original, but I guess I have to read this to find out. Wonderful review! :)

  2. This is one of these books that I have heard a lot about but still haven't read. It sounds like a great read, but I'm not sure that lack of romance will be appealing for me. It depends of the story. Glad you enjoyed this one. Great review :)

  3. I'm a huge fan of Persuasion and Capt. Wentworth. I'm a little wary of reading this book though. The lack of romance doesn't help either. Oh well.

    Great review!


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