For Darkness Shows The Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 6-12-12
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. – Goodreads
For Darkness Shows The Stars takes place in a futuristic world that insists on living in the past. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this book tells the story of dutiful Elliot who is left to try to preserve her family’s farm and way of life while she wonders if her sacrifices have been worth it. When a childhood sweetheart comes back into her life, she is confronted with the possibility that she can take control of her own happiness and that perhaps their way of life isn’t really benefiting society. I found Elliot’s character to be quietly strong and resolute which is kind of a nice change of pace. (Not every heroine needs to be physically powerful to prove herself). Elliot’s passion for improvement goes against the Luddite teachings and her hard work must be kept a secret from everyone she knows. The story is told through letters written between Kai and Elliot as children in between their meeting as adults. That approach gives the reader a real sense of who Kai and Elliot are and most importantly, the difference in their circumstances, which serves as the main point of conflict between them when they meet as adults.
In many ways this is a story of progress; it confronts issues of class, technology and loyalty, both to one’s family and to one’s self. I found all of the joy in this book that I did with Persuasion, with an added love for the freshness of this setting. To say that this is a retelling doesn’t really do the book justice. While it is certainly inspired by Persuasion, it is a book that is beautifully written and compelling in its own right. Kai and Elliot’s struggles with who they are and who they want to be are universally appealing and I found myself smiling after I read the last page. This is a book that is most definitely worthy of a place on your summer “must read” list.
I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.