Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars
Labels: Book Review, Diana Peterfreund, For Darkness Shows The Stars, YA · Posted by Amy Logg at 14:59
Title: For Darkness Shows The Stars
Series: For Darkness Shows The Stars #1
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Published: June 12th 2012
Genre: Dystopian Romance
"No matter where I went, I always knew my way back to you. You are my compass star.' And he was hers.”
Although this is inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, not all fans will automatically love this one - a love for futuristic/dystopian stories would probably help. I personally love both. Persuasion was always my favourite of Jane Austen's novels (oohh Captain Wentworth), I love the idea of second chance love, and never giving up hope, which is ultimately what For Darkness Shows The Stars is about.
We follow Elliot on the struggling North Estate, when Kai or Captain Wentforth (love that name!) arrives back in town. The story follows the basic structure of Persuason, but still with enough unique elements to keep things interesting. Peterfreund does however continue in Jane Austen's tradition of questioning social hierarchy - very effectively too.
I personally felt this is one of the strongest examples of world building I've read in a long time. It actually made sense…can you believe that?!
The world has effectively been taken backwards in terms of technology, with no electricity, computers or even proper modern medicine. After people pushed the limits of technology too far, with brain & DNA altering, people began having children that were "Reduced" - unable to talk or function without help. However the families who decided not to be involved in the DNA alterations etc avoided the Reduction, these people are referred to as "Ludites" (aka Elliot). The Ludites looked after the Reduced over many generations (although they used them as slaves) until the Reduced began to have healthy children, referred to as 'Posts' (aka Kai). And it is these Posts that begin the question their position in society as 'second class'.
This book looks as both sides to the argument of how far it too far when it comes messing with the natural order - it really does make you think.
Perhaps it's my love of Persuasion and Captain Wenthworth (*swoon*) effecting my judgement, but the romance between Elliot & Kai was so heartbreakingly beautiful. I spent so much of this book on the edge of my seat, just waiting for them to forgive each other and get together. (ahh, I sound so melodramatic, but it's true). And just like in Persuasion we have to wait till the very end for the HEA
All the characters, including secondary characters, were really well developed. Elliot & Kai are both strong and passionate, with supporting characters from the Star Fleet crew, The Noth Posts & Reduced, all having individual & unique personalities. I never got any characters confused with each other.
I loved how Peterfreund sprinkled the old letters between Elliot & Kai throughout the book. They gave a beautiful insight into how their childhood friendship evolved into something more. It also showed how they both felt about the society they lived in, and how they came to make the decisions they made before Kai left. It was also a very effective way of world building with info dumping!
My only small criticism would be a slightly slow beginning - I found the first 20 or so pages very difficult to get into. I think this may have been because the story is told in 3rd person rather than narrated by Elliot herself. I personally prefer 1st person narration as I feel I can connect better with the characters, sometimes 3rd person can feel a little detached, which is what happened in the beginning for me. However once I got into the story it was no longer an issue.
This was a breathtaking beautiful story of heartbreak and second chances. Incredibly well written & very thought provoking. A wonderful take on the Jane Austen classic - I absolutely loved it!
Violence: mild / passing mention of some estates abusing their Reduced slaves
Drugs & alcohol: mild / some minor character drink at a party