For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Genre: YA, Post-Apocalyptic
Format: ARC from Rain Maiden Jen
Read: 8/22/2012 — 8/23/2012
In Six Words: This book absolutely blew me away.
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.
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
The blogosphere is responsible for this one. I think it was probably Jenny’s (of the Supernatural Shark fame) review that tipped the scales in favor of this book (as her reviews so often do for me). I received it from Rain Maiden Jen as a July RAK. And then I devoured it and lurved it. I figured I would like it, but this book really far surpassed any expectations that I had.
Oooooh. This BOOK! For the record, I have not read Persuasion by Jane Austen, which–if I’m correct, and say so if I’m not–this book is a retelling of. I think that is important to note, because I suspect that my views may have been different if I had read it first. I don’t know how they would have been different–better or worse–but different, nonetheless. Anyway. I. LOVED. This. Book.
For Darkness Shows the Stars was one that instantly grabbed me, even though I had intended to read a different book that day–once I started, I couldn’t stop. When I went to bed before finishing it, I rolled around in bed, wondering what would happen. When I woke up in the morning, I was half-afraid to start again, because that’s how much this book pulled at my emotions (in a good way). This book just burrowed its way into my heart, and it was difficult to get it it out. If I had wanted to get it out, I mean. For the record, I didn’t.
Told from Elliot’s perspective and interspersed with letters between Elliot and Kai as children, we come to realize the sacrifices that Elliot has been forced to make in the past four years. And I just flat out adored Elliot. She’s the star (heh) of this book, and she is strong, capable, and caring, which is exactly what I love in a female heroine. And Kai broke my heart. But I get why they had to make the choices they did, and my heart ached for both of them. And that, my friends, is the sign of a good book. I was so wrapped up in their world and struggle that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
On the world, briefly: I was fascinated by the Luddite/Post/Reduced relationships, and though there is a tiny part of me that would have wanted more explanation, the world was only important in how it acted upon Elliot and Kai. It was, in some ways, just another character in the book. I also appreciate how, though there are religious undertones, there isn’t any preaching–it’s all done for the effect of Elliot and Kai’s relationship. The world in which Elliot and Kai grew up doesn’t want to allow their relationship, and it is clear that its very nature attempts to keep the two apart. But when I finished, I had two simultaneous thoughts. One, I wanted MOAR. And the other I will not share lest it be spoiler-ish. It’s not, really. And it’s kinda related to the first bit. But whatever.