Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: June 12th, 2012

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.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund has become one of my favorite books I've read this year. It's an odd choice, basing an extremely science fiction/dystopian novel off of Jane Austen's Persuasion, but somehow it sucked me in and kept me glued to the pages until the very end. It's been so long since I've been so addicted to a book that I had almost forgotten what that felt like!

For Darkness Shows the Stars gave me back something I lost over the passed year. It gave me back the love of reading, of getting lost in a beautiful story, that had somehow started to slip away. I've enjoyed, really truly enjoyed, the books I've read lately, but this book re-lit that fizzling spark in me.

One of the things I love about this book is the fact that, while being a dystopian, it's not a society or government that controls the people and their actions. It's not fear of jail or punishment that keeps them in their place. No, it's all about manners. Propriety and tradition are what keep people in certain stations and what keep other people from being what they want or with who they want. Instead of just being a look into the future of our world, For Darkness Shows the Stars is also a nod to the past. To the separation of classes by not only wealth, but also by lineage.

But my favorite thing about this book is how much it reads like a Jane Austen novel. I haven't read Persuasion—although now I'm considering it—but I have read a couple of her books, including Pride and Prejudice, multiple times. This book isn't an exact replica of her work, but it's quite obvious Peterfreund's writing style is a homage to Austen's. I can't say how impressed I am with the way Peterfreund has captured the essence of Jane Austen in this novel while still creating a unique, beautiful and captivating story in its own right.

The world building is slow, despite immersing you right into this strange land where the rich believe they were selected by God to own the poor. To keep the lower classes safe from themselves. It's a world where technology is looked at as an evil thing and progress has been halted by a disease the Luddites believed people brought down upon themselves by trying to become more important than God. The romance hooked me from the very first moment. First and foremost, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a romance, but it's a slow, thoughtful romance. In fact, there's not even any kissing. At all! Though, seeing as it is based off of a Jane Austen novel, that makes sense and didn't feel strange at all. It felt right for Elliot and Kai's relationship. And, even without kissing, I still swooned. Trust me.

If you're a lover of romance, you need to check out For Darkness Shows the Stars. I absolutely fell in love with this book. I will definitely be checking out its companion, Across the Star Swept Sea, a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I can't wait to see what else Peterfreund has in store for us!

For more about For Darkness Shows the Stars check out these sites!


  1. I've seen this cover before but I had no idea the story was based on Persuasion by Jane Austen!! I'm totally adding this to my TBR right now!
    I love when the romance in books is built up slowly so I'm really interested to read this swoon worthy romance with no kissing.

  2. I've got this one waiting for me on my shelf! I love hearing that it's a slow and thoughtful kind of romance, because that's exactly how I would imagine an Austen romance to be!

  3. LOVE this book! I'm dying to get Across a Star-Swept Sea now. I've become a huge Diana Peterfreund fan. :)

  4. I have seen this one about, but not read the blurb. OO I didn't realize it had dystopian in it. Also manners were what kept them in place. Original idea! Sounds like you were really swept up in this one. You kinda sold it on me. I need me a fizzle sparker.

    A review that sells this book!




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