"For Darkness Shows the Stars" is a YA dystopian book which takes place in a world where genetic modifications have resulted in people who are "Reduced" or mentally incapable. Individuals descended from people without genetic modifications are mentally capable and rule the world. They are called Luddites. About one in twenty children of Reduced are born with higher mental acuity and they call themselves Posts. All genetic and technological advancements are spurned by this society.
Elliot is a Luddite who is friends with Kai, a post, who works on her family's farm as a mechanic. They plan to run away together but she ended up staying behind. When Elliot ends up renting some space to Posts, hers and other's ideas will be challenged.
It's a well written book and intriguing story line. It sets up this dystopian future very well, and I'm very curious to see where this series goes. The romance was pretty good, but there's a lot of pining and misunderstandings. Elliot is a strong character and the perfect character to explore this world with. Overall, it was a definite win for me!
Being a Jane Austen fan myself I was incredibly excited about reading, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, as this novel is inspired by Jane. But after reading the back of the book I was hoping to be able to follow along to the story line, you see this book takes place in postapocalyptic time. Sometimes those plot lines can be hard to follow. With that said, not this novel after reaching 20 pages I was completely hooked in, my mind was raging with how different everything was. Let me give you a little more history then when you read, For Darkness Shows the Stars you will become hooked in the first 3 words. Trust me, this is not a to-read but a must read. Be prepared for a fun history lesson, here it goes. As described in the synopsis to the book there are different what you may say classes to society in there present day.
Luddites- Now Luddites are the people that rejected generic engineering. They wear simple clothes, don't embrace technology and are what they think "taking" care of others that are less like them.
Reduced- These are the people that are being taken "care" of by the Luddites on Estates. Reduced are not "normal" because of past generic engineering. Reduced have become just that not of sound mind. Like the average human being.
COR (Child of Reduced) - After generations the reduced are giving birth to children that are in my opinion within the same mental/physical guidelines of the Luddites. But COR's still work and are treated as reduced.
Post- Are children of the reduced, some not all have gone away from their Luddite Estates and made a different life for themselves. Post are smart sometimes smarter than Luddites. Post technology is awesome.
Why the history lesson because in knowing a little brief history behind the book, you will love it from the start not after 20-30 pages in!
Diane Peterfreund is brilliant, so Jane Austen inspired. How did she pull it off in a book like this, I have no idea. Every word captivated me. I stayed up one night my eyes just would not let go of the pages. I could not help but feel sorry for Elliot, she was trapped in between two worlds her kindness, softness, fragile world of caring for others, loving the Reduced/Posts that she spent her whole life with on her father's Estate. Working her body to the bone to overcome a father with no hint of money smarts. To that of a world of being free, free to love, free to help herself and not be a self inflicted prisoner for the care of others. Elliot loves beauty, throughout the story. I found that Elliot feared herself, afraid of letting go, seeing what might be.
Elliot's love Kai, oh how Diane brought out the inspiration of Jane Austen Through Kai later to be Captain Wentforth. Kai drew me into the book, not really understanding were he was emotionally with Elliot gave me a mystery I craved. Wanted more love and romance between them. At times I was screaming do you love her or not!!!!
I don't want to give to much away but I can say that Diane Peterfreund landed me on cloud nine with a lovely writing style switching back and for between Elliot's present day and her past. I give this book 5/5 Smacks. Epic vision of the future in a time that brought separation, Diane brought togetherness. A future as bright as all could see. The only question I'm posing on this book is when is the next. Please let there be a part two.
Whatever kind of genre of book you love it doesn't matter you will love this. Pick it up and you won't let go!
In a little side note I would love to add at the end of this book all Jane Austen fans must read the Acknowledgements! Love it, more please I'm begging!
For Darkness Shows the Stars (A Room with Books review)
For Darkness Shows the Stars is beautiful. Peterfreund deserves a round of applause for the way she played with my emotions.
When I picked up For Darkness Shows the Stars I thought to myself: “okay epic romance, let’s do this thing!” But when Malakai finally shows up on the pages I was all “No. Way. Kick him in the shins, Elliot! Throw something at him! Run away! But whatever you do don’t you dare fall for him in the end.” But then Kai slowly started being nice to Elliot and I started falling for him just as much as Elliot. By the end I was ready to cry buckets of tears if something came between them. What I’m trying to say by all this is: Diana Peterfruend is a master of emotions. I wasn’t just going with the flow of the story; I really got swept up into it.
Elliot is an admirable character. She does everything that actually matters (such as managing the money, caring for the workers, and making sure everyone has enough to eat) on the family estate and gets none of the credit. In fact, her father basically thinks of her entire existence as a nuisance. The thing is, though, Elliot doesn’t even care for the credit. She just wants to keep her Posts cared for and safe. The Posts that Elliot is close to are great side characters, especially Dee and Ro. They may not be main characters, but you really get a sense for who they are and I rather liked that.
Then, of course, there’s Malakai. We get a sense of who he is before he even steps foot in the pages because the reader has both Elliot’s memory and Kai’s old letters to her to work with. But then Malakai Wentforth actually comes into the story and basically blows all that out of the water. He’s mean and unnecessarily cruel to Elliot and I hated him. Over time he grows much less prickly and grew on me fast. Basically, Kai/Malakai is a rather complex character who I applaud Peterfuend for.
The world itself is fairly fleshed out. I could have done with more back-story and talk of the dystopian aspect, but when the day arrives that I don’t want more dystopian descriptions and back-story I’ll be rather shocked.
The Nutshell: For Darkness Shows the Stars is a fantastic futuristic romance. I’m not one who usually enjoys a story with a romantic focal point, but I adored this one. If you like strong heroines and jerky boys who are actually nice then you definitely need to read this.
At first, I wasn't really satisfied with this book. But upon further sitting, I might've loved this book.
So, I'm familiar with almost all of Jane Austen's work. I remember the basic storyline of Persuasion, so I knew what to expect romance-wise from For Darkness Shows the Stars. With such a different world, a different setting, that was what I wanted explored. I wanted to know all about this new world and the slang and how things worked. But I felt like Diana didn't really go into that, which was pretty disappointing. Thinking about it now, I think the world was well built, there was quite a bit of detail. I just wanted more because the world was fascinating and totally new where the romance was not.
The romance was really incredible, though. I hadn't realized how attached I was while reading, but then I'd put the book down and my heart would be sad. I just wanted Elliot and Kai to be happy and it wasn't happening. Then the book ended and all I wanted was more. I wanted to know what happens for them next. They just had this really incredible chemistry that I adored.
For Darkness Shows the Stars also has this very different layout. It's told in the present day as well as by letters from the past between Kai and Elliot. It kind of annoyed me first because I just wanted to know what happened next, but I think the break-up was really good for the story over all. It gave you more layers and more context about what happened between them in the past instead of just telling you.
Elliot was a very admirable character. She really had her servants' best interests in mind. She was strong and determined and I loved watching her grow stronger and more confident and defiant. She was truly incredible, even if I hated her name (I got the reference, but Elliot is a guy's name to me and of the two Elliot's I know, one is my brother and the other's...not a good guy.)
My one complaint that I still have is actually about Kai. I know he's angry and bitter and probably is convinced that Elliot doesn't care about him, but he seemed almost too stand-offish and angry. He had his moments, but for the most part, besides the letters, I had a hard time buying he ever loved her.
Honestly, For Darkness Shows the Stars is pretty freaking incredible. Diana Peterfreund is an excellent writer who really knew what she was doing when she decided to do a retelling of an Austen novel. I highly recommend this one, even if you don't like Austen's work. Anyone who likes romance, awesome world building, steampunk/historical fiction/sci-fi, or a wonderful main character can definitely appreciate this book.
Let me just say this. I have never read Persuasion by Jane Austen. I have also never read anything else by Diana Peterfreund, before this book. So, I went into For Darkness Shows the Stars knowing nothing but the blurb.
I was stunned.
This book is amazing.
It's absolutely gorgeous.
The writing is phenomenal, and every single character in this book bounds off the page. The romance between Elliot and Kai is something to swoon over. It's not rushed and heated, like so many other YA books, but it's almost perfect. It's real.
Oh, there's so much more to say. Having just finished reading it merely moments ago, I want to gush about it. However, I can't seem to piece together my thoughts. Other than the ones above. And they are just vague, because this book is deep. It's more then just a post-apocalyptic book or a romance. It is about family and doing what you feel is right, even if those choices are not what everyone else wants. It's about being strong and sincere to yourself.