Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Age Recommendation: Young Adult

Summary (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 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 was initially unsure about this retelling, but in time it won me over completely. In the beginning, there were a lot of names thrown out and things mentioned that weren't explained until later, so I felt a little lost going into the story. Everything was soon cleared up, however, and I was able to enjoy it very much.

The combination of retelling and new material seemed very well balanced to me. I loved connecting events and characters to their Persuasion counterparts, but the story seemed very fresh and new. I especially liked the moral dilemmas and the conflict lent by the post-apocalyptic setting that was incorporated into the story.

I found the whole Reduction / technology struggle fascinating, and it seemed to fit perfectly into the class struggle between the Reduced and the Luddites and into the Persuasion story.

I really enjoyed the added element of the letters between Elliot and Kai from their childhood, as I felt it gave insight into Kai's character whereas without the letters he would have been nearly unreachable. In the main narrative, Kai reveals very little, so I enjoyed seeing what he was like by the letters he wrote years earlier. I didn't find Kai's final letter to be quite as powerful as Wentworth's original, but in large part because of the letters, I grew quite fond of Kai.

The other characters as well were quite likable, although I wouldn't have minded more development for most of them. Ro was the kind of character you couldn't help but like, and her relationship with Elliot definitely became one of the reasons I grew to like Elliot. The Innovations and the other Posts were great characters as well and I loved reading about them. My favorite secondary character was probably Tatiana, though, because she was so incredibly oblivious and so much fun to roll my eyes at (I enjoyed her character equivalent in Persuasion as well).

Overall Thoughts: An excellent retelling of Persuasion with just enough new elements to create an original and thought-provoking story. I recommend reading Persuasion first, though. Although prior knowledge of the story is not at all essential, it seems that a reader would get more out of For Darkness Shows the Stars if they were familiar with Persuasion.

1 comment:

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I thought this story was beautiful (I haven't read Persuasion yet, though I need to now!) I was a bit weary, but I loved the romance and just thought the writing was beautiful! Glad that this one won you over.


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