For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publication Date: June 12th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia, Sci-fi/Fantasy
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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 can’t say I’ve read Jane Austen’s Persuasion and I do wonder whether or not I would have enjoyed this more had I read it. That’s not to say this is a bad book. I actually liked a lot of aspects of it.
The characters are the strongest point. Elliot was an absolutely darling. She’s determined, hard working and dedicated to seeing the estate and its occupants prosper, so much so that when she was given a chance to run away with the person she cared about most, she turned him down. She is very selfless and I admired the way she took charge of the estate and stood up for what she believed in. She didn’t let the loss of Kai bring her down. Instead she uses that loss as a way of keeping her motivated; to remind her that she made the right choice and had she not done the estate would have crumbled.
It took me a while to like Kai. Following his return to the estate his treatment towards Elliot was downright hostile. His refusal to understand why she turned him down and his refusal to see all the good she’s done for the estate and the sacrificed made for it was frustrating. It wasn’t until he finally opened his eyes to how deeply she cares about her workers that he started to grow on me. I loved seeing the two of them slowly come back together. I especially loved the letters exchanged between Kai and Elliot prior to his leaving because it helped establish the connection they had.
As much as I loved the romance, I wish we could have gotten more information about this world and its history. With Elliot and her family essentially holding on to the traditional values that shaped this world, I had hoped that we’d get some more insight into its creation. It took me a long while to understand what exactly The Reduction was. I was also hoping to explore more of the science behind the genetic engineering. Sadly thee aspects fell flat for me and I hope that the second book provides more insight into the genetic engineering procedures and their consequences.
This was an enjoyable book overall and definitely follows a more romantic route. Elliot and Kai’s journey to find one another again was beautifully executed but I did find that the world building and overall plot was lacking.