For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (4 stars)
Kel Thursday, February 12, 2015 reviewMini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Retelling
Published on June 12, 2012
Published by Balzer + Bray
Final Rating: 4 stars
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.
Whenever I dislike a book, I can't shut up. Whenever I like one, I go tongue-tied and can't articulate a thing. And I did like this one. It has a few elements that irk me, but nothing that weighed heavily on my mind upon turning the last page.
Persuasion is a Jane Austen story that always slightly bugged me because the premise is that a girl let someone persuade her not to marry the guy she loved because of status, money, etc. (Yes, I know: different time period, limited options for women, yadda yadda; but weak-willed and/or weak reasoning tends to bug me.) This retelling solves that problem. Elliot North is the behind the scenes manager of her family's estate, which her father squanders, and is responsible for the well being of all the Post and Reduced (limited cognitive ability) workers living on it. That responsibility comes first and drives all her decisions. It makes her a character I can respect and care about.
Plot-wise, I think FDSTS stays pretty close to the original, and the pacing is good. My only complaints might be that Kai is a little too malicious for a little too long and the author spends just a little too much time inside Elliot's head during her moments of confusion and indecision.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and its characters. While I cannot recommend its sequel/companion novel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, for anything but a quick, sci-fi romance, For Darkness Shows the Stars is definitely worth reading.