Jane Austen Meets Dystopian: For Darkness Shows The Stars Review
For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Synopsis From Goodreads:
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.
Rating: 4 stars!
Jane Austen. Dystopian. Two words you don’t hear together in a sentence very often. I know this book was published some years back, so this review is quite dated. I still wanna do it though, because I thought it was a really good book and it’s the kind of underrated goodness that I want people to read.
For Darkness Shows The Stars is a retelling of Persuasion, with a twist. I haven’t read Persuasion before this, but from the first page, I knew that this was going to be good. It’s not some butchered piece of literature a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This book actually took some time to build a really interesting world that reflects our own.
Elliot North is this book’s iteration of Anne Elliot, a hardworking girl struggling to keep her family’s estate afloat. As Luddites, Elliot and her family have been tasked to take care of victims of a gene mutation collectively called the Reduced, but each year proves to be harder than the last. One day, a group of Post-Reductionist inventors, The Cloud Fleet, comes to their estate for business. And guess who they bring with them? Captain Malakai Wentforth, who suspiciously looks like her long-lost love, Kai. Angst and old feelings of love, heartbreak and regret ensue.
I loooove books like this. Long lost loves and second-chance romances? Sign me up! Just shut up and take my money. But heartbreak isn’t the only thing that I loved about this. First, the world-building was great. I appreciate authors who really dig deep and build a world from the ground up. I usually don’t like futuristic dystopian settings (I’ve had one too many Hunger Games copycats) but this one was actually unique. And more than that, the future society depicted here is a very thoughtful take on how our present society works.
I thought Elliot North was a strong character; she’s a hardier version of Anne Elliot and I love her. She’s not pretty and she knows it. She works with her hands and does whatever she can to save their sinking estate, even if it meant sacrificing Kai.
I love the characters around them as well, especially the Cloud Fleet. They’re these futuristic equivalents of the Persuasion’s original supporting crew. Although they’re really different, they also have a lot of similarities. The author really took her time to craft these characters.
I am also a big fan of slow burns. Elliot and Kai’s story is one great slow burn. Simmering, beautiful slow burn. They get to re-discover each other after many years of estrangement. Kai is a harsher version of the original Captain Wentforth but it’s all worth it in the end.
Perhaps the only thing I can critique is that there isn’t more of this. It does have a companion novel called Across A Star-Swept Sea (a retelling of Scarlet Pimpernel) but I really want more of Kai and Elliot.
All in all, a really satisfying read.
4 wonderful stars.
Have you read For Darkness Shows The Stars? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!