July 4, 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
Page Count: 416
Source: Purchased
Rating: A perfect mash-up of Jane Austen and Sci-Fi. Which is a sentence I never thought anyone would ever write.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Stunning Cover.
Jane Austen Retelling.
Original Post-Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi Premise.
Heartbreaking, Slow-Burn Romance.

These are the kinds of things this book offers right off the bat. And, in the event that you haven't read it yet and all of these things appeal to you, stop reading this RIGHT NOW and go READ THIS BOOK. Because it provides, my friends. Oh. It. Provides.

Let's break this down:

I'll admit it. I had a little trouble getting everything straight at the beginning of the book. Posts? Reduced? Luddites? What's going on here? The reader's really thrown into the thick of things, so I had to do a lot of thinking and page flipping in the first 40 pages or so to get the whole thing down. But once you get it, you have it and it all makes a whole lot of sense. And it's all amazingly magical and wonderful. So there's that too.

So what contributes to the amazing magic? Let's start with the plot. It's the barebones of Persuasion. Kai wants Elliot to run off with him but she can't because she has to take care of the farm - y'know, because her mom died and her father's more interested in spending money than making money to spend. So Kai goes and Elliot keep the farm alive - just barely, and by breaking the laws and experimenting with illegal things. Then, years later, Kai comes back. And BOY is he different. And mean. MEAN. Poor Elliot. Which of course, is the best set up ever because it leads to all this scorned lover upset and tension there is so painful and amazing that there aren't actually words for it.

Yeah, that's right, in CLASSIC Jane Austen fashion, there's a lot of game-playing, miscommunication and heart-string-tugging. And since Diana Peterfreund's story-telling skills are FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC, all of these potential frustrating plot points just fuel the tension fire. Really. There's not a single wrong turn in this book plot-point-wise (and romance-wise, since those two things really go hand in hand in this book).

And I didn't just love Kai and Elliot (I did love them, if the above stuff didn't make that clear). I loved the Innovations, Dee, Ro, The Norths... Yeah. That's right. Even the Norths. Elliot's family was frustrating as anything, but they behaved logically AND it worked so well for the story. They're also the people who challenged Elliot in this book. They were her obstacle (along with the farm, but it was really them) and she handled them with an insane amount of grace. Especially since I probably would have just taken a shotgun and killed her father if I were her. No one would have blamed Elliot, I'm sure of it.

In all honesty, there wasn't a single thing about this book I didn't like. The old, romantic feel mixed with the new sci-fi aspect is just so well balance and so very much up my alley. I know I looked at this book a couple of times before I decided to buy it - mostly because I didn't understand the summary - but I guess I need to listen to my cover-loving-gut more often, because the contents of this book are just as stunning and perfect as the cover art.

The long and short of it?

Plot: I don't even know how someone thinks up a plot like this but DAMN it's brilliant.
World Building: I love the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi world built here. It's just so creepy and perfect and terrifying. Also, the way the enhanced humans behaved once they realized that their kids were Reduced? So terrifying AND in line with human insanity. Which I love.
Character Development: I just love how Elliot's obstacle in this book her herself. I mean, it's her father and sister, in part, but the only person really holding her back is herself and how realistic is that? I can't count the number of times I've messed up my own life.
Prose: Deliciously romantic and agonizingly perfect.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Love Sci-Fi? Austen? (Y'know, as much as I CLEARLY do.) How about awesome story-telling and killer prose? This book has ALL of this. All. Of. This.

Have you read this one? Did you feel all of the happy/satisfied feels at the end? How much did you want to punch Kai throughout? Tell me all about it in the comments below!


  1. I LOVED this book!! Like so so SO much! I cannot even put into words why exactly my heart felt legit tied to this book but the writing and the story just sucks you in and refuses to let go! I remember reading it in ONE sitting, I couldn't stop, my chest hurt from the agony. LOVE LOVE LOVE Kai and Elliot! LOVE your review :)

  2. This is one of my favorite books! I fell completely, head over heels in LOVE with Diana's writing, first of all, because it's absolutely gorgeous. I loved the way she took the elements of Persuasion and wove them into a similar, but completely unique storyline. In fact, reading this made me actually want to go try to read the original! So kudos to Diana for writing something so amazing :)

  3. YAYYY! I'm so glad you loved it! I agree with every word you wrote. Also, I took a peek at Across a Star-Swept Sea, and it looks even better. I am EXCITED.

  4. I still need to read this book! I skimmed this because I hope to get to it soon, especially since I have the first two. BAD BAD BAD. Hurry, Asheley! I've heard it's amazing. (I think I've been intimidated because it's an Austen re-telling or based on an Austen book and I don't love Jane Austen.)

  5. It took me forever to get to read this one, but when I did... oh wow. It was PERFECT! Although there was the sci-fi aspect, it didn't really feel like there was one. It was beautiful and and perfect... definitely makes me want to read more of her books!

  6. Oh I loved this book so much - makes me so happy that you did, too! At first, I wasn't really sure about it (like you) because it was a little hard to get into. But once it picked up, I fell in love <3


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!