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.
This was on my impulse (everyone else has it and I really must too) buy. The library said it was “on order” and it had been “on order” for quite a while and the Patience Fairy had forgotten to give me any so I made the plunge. The cover also helped. I think it might be on my most favourite covers ever.
Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel. There was something just so lovely about it that even though Austen and I have had our differences, I could not help but applaud her genius with it. For Darkness Shows the Stars is remarkably faithful to the original tale. In different ways, of course. I liked how Peterfreund worked in the whole dystopian/post-apocalyptic story (which seems rather similar to Obernewtyn if only for how the apocalypse came to pass). She subtly complicates the narrative to introduce or perhaps reiterate the whole social status issue. The novel discourses on themes of progress, modernizations, social disparity, culture and other equally intriguing things. The romance, because it is a romance novel, becomes more interesting when Elliott is given a much more legitimate reason for her rejection of Kai’s offer. However, what this is does is make Kai look extremely bullish. Austen tipped the scale in favor of her male lead while Peterfreund does the opposite. Is it because her audience is mostly female or is there a larger market for strong female characters?
I don’t know but what we can agree on is that Kai is an ass for the majority of the novel. It is not as though we cannot understand where he’s coming from but the fact that he refuses to see from Elliott’s perspective makes him less than an appealing love interest. I also found it extremely icky that he focuses his interest and courtship to a fourteen year old. For a long while, I didn’t know what to make of Elliott. She seemed like a drippy sort but then she’d have these moments of steel and dignity that gave me pause and kept me reading. The story flows softly and Peterfreund deftly creates atmosphere and keeps the plot moving. I found the issue with Elliott’s cousin handled a bit too neatly and I don’t think the issues with Elliott’s father were as detailed as I would have liked it to be.
When all is said and done, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a character study, a look at greed, fear and humanity. I enjoyed it.