Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars
By: Diana Peterfreund
Pub. Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 398
Source: ARC
Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, 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 PersuasionFor 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.

First the title captivated me, then I saw the beautiful cover and then I found out that it was inspired by Jane Austin's Persuasion. I was hooked! I never read Persuasion but I always found modern retellings of classics fascinating. I was so excited to snag a copy at ALA, and For Darkness Shows the Stars met every single one of my expectations and more. It easily has been added to my favorites of 2012 list!

In this futuristic, dystopian world there are the Luddites and the Reduced(or Posts, as they like to be called now). Elliot North is a Luddite, and since her father is a useless jerk, she looks over the estate and all of the servants (who are reduced and posts). Her best friend growing up was Kai, a servant on the estate. Kai make a plan to leave the estate, and when Elliot doesn't agree to go with him, she thinks she will never see him again. Years later, and in need of money, Elliot rents the shipyard to a Cloud Fleet who are building a ship. Turns out Kai is now Captain Malakai Wentworth, and a member of the Cloud Fleet, and he wants nothing to do with Elliott.

Weaved into the story are the letters Elliot and Kai wrote to each other growing up. To see them in a place where they all but hate each other was very saddening to me. I loved both of them and wanted them to be together, but I understood why they couldn't be together.  

I loved Elliot. She was strong and level headed and she tried so hard to take care of all of the reduced. I really felt bad for her because of the situations her father put her in. Kai was my absolute favorite though. From the letters we can tell that Kai was such a sweet boy, but now he is cold and acts like he doesn't care about anything. But being back in his childhood home where his parents died and he was a slave, definitely made him react that way. You can see parts of him was still that sweet boy when he interacted with some of the other reduced. There were many layers to Kai and I really enjoyed figuring them out.

For me, it started out a little slow, but once I started to understand about the Luddites, Reduced and Posts and what caused this sort of caste system, I could not put the book down. I was completely captivated by the story, the characters and the writing. I loved that the romance between Elliot and Kai wasn't at the forefront of the story, but was still there in the background.

I wish there were more scenes between Elliot and Kai though. There interactions were very interesting. I would have also loved a scene from Kai's POV. Maybe a bonus short story eventually? Everything came together very quickly for me at the end, but I didn't let it bother me because when I finished reading it I had a huge smile on my face for the rest of the night. 

I highly recommend picking this book up on June 12th. I do not think you will be disappointed. I am also looking forward to reading Persuasion now and the other books that Diana Peterfreund has written.


  1. Hi, Kristina!

    Thanks so much for reading. I wanted to let you know that there actually *is* a bonus story -- a prequel -- entirely from Kai's point of view that tells the story of his adventures after he left the estate. It's called "Among the Nameless Stars" and it should be available online TODAY (I'm just waiting for the link from my publisher to put it on my website.)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this! The characters sound interesting, although it does seem like I'll miss the scenes they have together! I hope the pacing isn't so back and forth for me. Looking forward to exploring this world! Great review :)

    Lisa | Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me

  3. AHHH! I love, love, love this cover. I think it was one of my first WoW picks, actually :-) Great review, Kristina! You just confirmed that this is a must-read for me. Now I can't wait until June 12th!

    Interesting, isn't it, how many "Kai's" there are in YA literature today?


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