Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund. The GoodReads summary:
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.
First of all, I love this cover. Second of all, I love the title. I’ve thought it was gorgeous since I first heard of it, but now that I’ve read the book and know how perfect the title is . . . I’m pretty sure it’s one of my favorite titles of all time now.

I knew this book was based on Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” going into it, and I deliberately made sure I read “Persuasion” first so I could have a better appreciation for this book as an adaptation. And let me tell you, it was a fantastic adaptation. I’m not really sure what genre it falls into—kinda vaguely steampunk with elements of post-apocalyptic, maybe? If you’ve read “Dearly, Departed,” “For Darkness Shows the Stars” is the same kind of genre as that. Basically, they’re living in the future, but due to the human race almost getting wiped out, society has regressed to something similar to the 1800s. Only they still have some futuristic technologies. Hmmm . . . this description is even confusing me, so I’ll move on.

Like I said, I thought this book was a brilliant adaptation of “Persuasion.” You don’t need to be familiar with Jane Austen’s book to like this story, but if you have read it or seen the movies, it makes it easier to appreciate all the ways that Peterfreund takes the basic story of “Persuasion” and makes it her own. In fact, I don’t think there was any part of the adaptation that I didn’t like. I wish I could go on and on about each modification Peterfreund made to the story and how genius they all were, but then this review would go on for way to long. So just trust me that it’s all perfect.

Elliot (because in “Persuasion” her name is Anne Elliot. Get it?) I liked even better than Austen’s original character. Elliot has all of Anne’s sense of duty and loyalty and selflessness, but she also has a hidden rebellious streak and more of a backbone, which I really liked about her. I also liked that Elliot and Kai (the Captain Wentworth equivalent) talk to each other a little more than in the original. That was one thing that I disliked a bit in “Persuasion”—they never really had any conversations. I also really liked that Elliot’s older sister Tatiana (Elizabeth’s equivalent) is given a bigger role and more personality—she’s still shallow and selfish, but Tatiana’s not as clueless and bland as Elizabeth is.

Overall, in case you couldn’t tell. I loved this adaptation. And it can stand on its own too. I know I’ve been going on and on about how this book compares to “Persuasion,” but it’s a wonderful story in its own right. I would’ve liked it even if I didn’t know the storyline of “Persuasion.”

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I keep putting off reading this one until I've read Persuasion as well but seeing as though I'm such a slow reader I think I'll hop to this one first! I adore the cover and the title is just great.

  2. This one was so amazing. I fell in love with Persuasion after seeing the Masterpiece Theater version. I read Jane Austen, then this, and I simply adored it all. It was just so well done in every way. Glad you liked it as well. Great review! :)

  3. This is exactly how I felt about this book. Peterfreund's books is a brilliant adaptation of Austen's without being a copycat. I'm glad that you read this and liked it. When I read your review of Persuasion I figured you would like the updated version of Elliot better. :)

  4. I actually didn't like Kai for most of this book but somehow the last hundred pages or so turned that around and I finally fell for him.


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