Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062006142 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062006141 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Kristie
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 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.
Quick & Dirty: A deeply emotional book set in a repressed futuristic society, bleak yet heartwarming. If you like frustrated lovers or Jane Austen, you will like this book.
Opening Sentence: Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass.
Elliot North was born a Luddite, the second daughter to Lord North who operates the largest farm in the north. As a child she became friends with the farm mechanic’s son, Kai, a friendship that eventually grew into something much more but because of their backgrounds they could never truly be together. Kai decided they should run away together but when the time came Elliot knew she couldn’t leave the farm, but Kai did. Elliot was the only one sane enough to take care of the daily operations, the farm workers (who are Reduced or Post-Reductionist) and make sure the farm doesn’t starve during the winter months.
Four years have passed since Kai left and not one day goes by that Elliot doesn’t think of him. She gets a letter in the mail that an Admiral wants to reopen her grandfather’s boatyard to build a ship. Elliot sees this as an opportunity to save the farm so she accepts in a way that will appease her obstinate father. The Admiral brings along his best pilots, one of them happens to be Malakai Wentforth, whom Elliot recognizes right away even though he has changed quite a bit in the years he has been away.
Elliot and Kai’s relationship is very tentative but also hot and cold. They are not around each other much but when she’s not around him all she can think about is seeing him but when he is around she just wants him to go away. Kai is very rude to Elliot, he hasn’t forgiven her rejection of him. He spends a lot of his time putting her down and for the most part Elliot takes it because she knows she has hurt him badly, but when Kai crosses the line she stands up for herself and her actions. Somebody just needed to sit them down so they could discuss their actions but then this would have been a much shorter book.
Elliot’s home life is very infuriating but the fact that Elliot has sacrificed her happiness for others is why I liked her so much. She goes against her Luddite background with her experiments with a new brand of hearty wheat that could get her imprisoned for treason but it is the horrible secret that she learns from Kai that turns her world upside down.
The story shifts from Elliot’s point of view to letters that Elliot and Kai wrote each other over the years. If it weren’t for the letters, I would never have liked Kai, but the camaraderie they share over time saddens me when it has to inevitably end and I want to root for them to get back together, but with the strange hierarchy of the people, I wasn’t too sure how that was going to happen. Elliot’s father has no problem threatening the lives of her friends on the farm to get her to do his bidding.
The world confused me at first trying to learn the difference between the Luddite, the Reduced, and the Post Reductionist/Children of the Reduction but once it all clicked into place it worked. The future has reverted back to 1700/1800 farm life, too many bad things happened with human experimenting that the world has reset itself and too much technology is a bad thing.
One note, I have never read Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but I could tell this novel was heavily influenced by those period pieces. For Darkness Shows the Stars has the feel of a historical novel but just set in a different time/world. If it wasn’t for the novel saying it took place many years after a horrible war that decimated the population and landscape, and some of the weird technology, I would have thought it took place 200 years ago.
For Darkness Shows the Stars is a beautiful and enchanting novel that I couldn’t put down. The tension just sucked me right in. I wanted to know the secrets and what was going to happen next. This is a novel that I could read again and again.
“I’ll give you whatever you want. Whatever it takes for you to keep our secret. A sun-cart? Or money? I have plenty. How much will it take?”
She blinked, as the dream smashed around her. So this is what it had come to. Kai didn’t trust her. He’d never trust her. If he did, he wouldn’t think he’d have to buy her silence. Because now it was Elliot, the Luddite lord’s daughter, who was the beggar, the desperate one, who’d compromise the principles she’d had drummed into her since birth . . . for money. He thought she was a hypocrite, a traitor to her people, and he might be right. But not the way he thought. Not for money. She’d do it for him. Not for a sun-cart.
He loved the people who’d stolen his humanity, but he’d never loved her.
She stepped back. Stumbled, really. And sputtered. “Get out.”
It was Kai’s turn to blink in surprise.
She waved the lantern at him. He was fortunate she didn’t throw it at his head. How could he know her so well and so little at once? “Get out of my barn. Now.”
He stepped away from her, his hands held out to brace himself should she choose to swing. “I’m serious.”
“So am I.” She advanced, and he retreated toward the door. “I don’t want anything from you.” Not his money, not his pity, and most especially not his false kindness. “Don’t you ever speak to me again, Malakai Wentforth. I hate you. I hate you. And I’m not sorry anymore.”
“I’m not sorry I didn’t go with you. Because I hate the man that you’ve become.”
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of For Darkness Shows the Stars. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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