Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publication: June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (Amazon): 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.
My Review: I was simultaneously excited and worried before starting this book. While i adore Diana Peterfreund, her killer unicorns books are absolutely fabulous, I was never a huge fan of Persuasion by Jane Austen which this book is based on (I think my life of Pride and Prejudice made it difficult to love her other novels.)
I shouldn’t have been worried. At all. Diana came through and delivered with a book that immediately found its way to the very top of my favorite books from 2012. A little dystopian, a little sci-fi, a little classic, a little steampunk and a lot of awesome. This may be on my list of all time favorite YA Reads as well.
Elliot is a phenominal character (and I love this name for a girl!), she’s strong, driven and fiercely loyal, but at the same time she is incredibly vulnerable and fragile. As i got further into the story I was completely unable to put the book down and I frantically flipped pages to find out what was going to happen to Elliot. I was fully invested in the story and Elliot’s well-being and I had to keep reading to make sure that everything would be okay.
The story is beautifully executed, flipping seamlessly between long ago letters exchanged between Kai and Elliot and the events that were occurring in real time. The letters were a fantastic insight into the two when they were children, and it was great being able to see the history they had without being subjected to multiple flashbacks. They also served to make Kai a more sympathetic character, because for a lot of the book he was pretty much a jerk.
The world building was fascinating and complex without being overly complicated. The class structure that was developed added an interesting layer to the plot. The world felt both familiar and strange at the same time, which constantly kept me on my toes and trying to figure out how things would work.
All in all, Diana’s blend of dystopian and science fiction was the perfect complement to Jane Austen’s novel of manners. Austen’s influence gave an entirely new spin on the dystopian genre and in my opinion it was something that I loved to see happen. This is a must read for everyone. I promise you, you’ll enjoy it.