REVIEW: For Darkness Shows the Stars

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 her8306761 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’ve had Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars on my list for a while, pretty much only because it’s a re-telling of Persuasion by Jane Austen and, as you know, I kind of like Jane Austen. For Darkness Shows the Stars promised to be a funky, high fantasy vision of Persuasion which made me a bit skeptical. I like high fantasy occasionally, and only when it’s really compelling (example: the Graceling series), so the prospect of a Jane Austen fantasy seemed a little much.

That being said, I think Peterfreund pulled it off pretty well! She tells a great story about responsibility and love and how, sometimes, those things shift focus. Her narrative is well-structured and paced and kept me interested. The character of Elliot is easily the strongest part of the book. She is thoughtful and funny and brave and scared all at once—a very real portrait of a person.

My only issue is with the new world that Peterfreund creates. It sounded interesting and complicated and I wanted to learn more about it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t fully explain a lot about their society. I mean, we do know the important parts, but I just wanted more.

You know when you read those books that just kill you, leave you thinking about them for weeks, drive you crazy? For Darkness Shows the Stars was not one of those books. Not every book can leave you dumbfounded. If they did, nothing would get done let’s be honest. All in all, it was an entertaining read and a cool retelling of a classic Jane Austen


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