Home       About Me       Review Archive

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Published: June 12, 2012
Pages: 398
Source: For Review from HarperCollins Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 4.5 Stars


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.


In short: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund combines a captivating premise and an honourable protagonist to make it a stand-out read.
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is a dystopic retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Having never read Persuasion (or any of Jane Austen's novels... ack, I'm ashamed to admit that!), I cannot speak as to whether it was a good adaptation, but I can say that it suited the tone, themes, and writing of a Victorian Era novel perfectly. It was a bit jarring at first, reading a dystopian that was almost completely lacking the futuristic inventions that are usually so commonplace, but I quickly came to appreciate the originality of Peterfreund's concept: a futuristic society ruled by Luddites who abhor any kind of technology and favour the kind of class system that the Victorians had. What few inventions there were - the glorious sun carts and sun ships - even had an air of antiquity to them that made For Darkness Shows the Stars seem like historical fiction with steampunk elements.

Elliot, daughter of one of the old Luddite families, is the heart and soul of For Darkness Shows the Stars. She is one of the most admirable protagonists I have ever read - certainly the most mature and responsible. Given the choice between her childhood love and protecting her family's estate and the poor workers who live there, she chose duty. Imagine! I am so used to reading about heroines who choose the love interest every time so Elliot was such a refreshing change. It's not that I hate those heroines who choose love over all else - I mean, that's very sweet and everything - but do they ever stop to think about all the people they are screwing over before selfishly choosing the guy? No. But Elliot, with all of her strength and maturity, is the paragon of goodness and doing the right thing above all else.

I will admit that I am surprised that I wasn't bored at all while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars - some readers may be put off by the slower pacing. But I can honestly say that I was never hoping for more action scenes or wishing for more exciting events to take place. I don't know if it was the strength of the source material or the captivating originality of the premise, but I was held glued to Peterfreund's beautiful prose and engrossed in the dilemmas that Elliot is put up against. I could not help but ache for Elliot when she is treated so poorly by her former childhood love, Kai. And I could not help but feel anguish for the critical decisions she has to make and the pressure she faces with regards to some serious issues, like the ethics of genetic engineering and the treatment of mentally disabled persons.

Overall, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a beautiful and engrossing novel and a definite must read. The originality of the futuristic, dystopian world that read more like a historical fiction novel of Jane Austen's time and the strength and goodness of the story's protagonist made For Darkness Shows the Stars a stand-out read. This was my first read of Diana Peterfreund's, but it absolutely won't be my last. And guys - this is a standalone! One of the very, very few I've read so far this year. For Darkness Shows the Stars will be released June 12, 2012. I highly recommend it.

Check it out: Diana Peterfreund has also written a prequel novella called Among the Nameless Stars and you can read it for FREE here!

Other Reviews:
Nyx Book Reviews
Pure Imagination
Supernatural Snark

Author Links:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Goodreads
HarperCollins Webpage

30 comments :

  1. Glad to hear you liked it, I'm really looking forward to this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The setting of For Darkness sounds really interesting, sun carts?! I'm impressed that even those had an air of antiquity! I'm actually kind of reminded of The Night Circus when you mentioned not being bored by the slow pacing. I do want to read it and can't wait for next week. Lovely review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sun carts and sun ships were so neat! Maybe one day, we'll have them ourselves. I've heard that about The Night Circus as well.

      Delete
  3. I love the sound of Elliot - she sounds like a wonderful heroine. Ah, this one sounds so good!

    Fabulous review, Aylee!

    ReplyDelete
  4. A slow pace is not always a bad thing. I often find I love books that are slow paced because it,s not boring, it's story and character building. I have this one on my wishlist it sounds really good and the reviews have all been positive - at least the ones I've read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly. Just because there isn't break-neck action on every page doesn't mean it's boring. The story and characters were phenomenal. I think I've read one negative review - they sounded like they had a hard time following the plot and were bored... chacun a son gout!

      Delete
  5. This sounds good! I've never read any of her books. I've always wanted to read the series about the killer unicorns, though. I'm definitely adding it to my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've always wanted to read the killer unicorn series too - such a fun concept!

      Delete
    2. You must! Her descriptions of the unicorns are worth it alone.

      Delete
  6. I've never read Peterfreund's novels but I like the sound of this one. I had no idea that it was based on Persuasion (which I haven't read either but I did watch a movie based on it so I'm kind of familiar with the plot) :) Best of all, it's refreshing to see a MC pick duty over love. Looking forward to reading this one, Aylee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't at all familiar with the plot, but I would definitely be curious in finding out about it - either book or movie or both. And yeah, Elliot's maturity knew no bounds!

      Delete
  7. Book sounds pretty great! And you know? when I was reading the summary I was "wait, this sounds like persuasion!!!" - haven't read it but I love the movie. Even the names are similar!
    I'm glad this book turned out so good for you because it was on my most wanted list (that gorgeous cover alone out it there!!)

    Elliot sounds like a great protagonist!

    Thanks for this review :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really want to become acquainted with the book/movie now! It would be neat to make comparisons. I hope you love it too and thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  8. Sounds awesome...just bookmarked your post for future book-buying reference!! Haven't read the author's stuff before, so this seems like a good start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you! I really hope you love it - I know it made me really want to read her killer unicorn series!

      Delete
  9. It sounds amazing :)!! I love dysotpian reads and I'm really glad to know that it's a standalone : this would be a nice change from all the books that are part of a series I'm reading !! Great review Aylee !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it was so nice! Not that I wouldn't say no to a sequel that picks up where this one left off, but the ending wrapped things up nicely.

      Delete
  10. JA wasn't required reading for you in high school? What are they teaching you guys up in Canada? hehe

    Okay. I'm terrible at making Canada jokes. If only I were Barney Stinson. *longing sigh*

    Anyhoo, Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel, so I think would love this despite the slow pace. Some of my favorite novels are told at a slower place, but I love them because the prose captivates me. I'll definitely give this one a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, yeah I'm surprised it was never required reading in either high school or university. It would've been nice though, because required reading was pretty much the only way I ever got around to reading classics. It's good to know Persuasion is your favourite of her novels - I am contemplating watching the movie (because I unfortunately don't have time to read the book - at the moment anyway). And yeah, the prose was so lovely and the character building so excellent because of the slower pace so I ended up really loving it.

      Delete
  11. Ok, I've never heard of a historical dystopian. Strange. This is not at all what I was expecting from this book. Also I never have read any Jane Austen either. It wasn't required reading in high school which is odd since I always took honors classes. In college I didn't really have to take any advance literature only writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not historical dystopian, per se. It was still set in the future, but because of their Luddite lifestyle, it seemed like it was set in the past. I wish it had been required reading for me - that's pretty much the only way I ever read classics.

      Delete
    2. Picked this one up on Amazon.com sale $2.99 because of your great recommendation! Thanks!!!

      Delete
    3. Hurray! This was a surprisingly powerful read, I thought. Diana Peterfreund knows how to write characters.

      Delete
  12. Sounds like Elliot is a whole lot better than the original character (who didn't marry the guy the first time because her family looked down on his profession as a sailor and pressured her to turn him aside. I was not a fan).

    After all the action of her unicorn series I'm surprised at the slower pacing here, but it sounds like that makes sense given the plot. The world-building sounds fascinating, and I can get on board a slower plot if the world is captivating. Being a standalone is nice, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I see. I wouldn't have liked her as much in that case either. Glad DIana made her more likeable in this case. I was totally fine with the slower pacing given how involved the characterization was and how captivating the story was.

      Delete
  13. I've heard great things about this book across the board but your review really stood out to me. Thanks to your comments I put the book on hold at my library. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! That's very kind :)

      Delete
  14. For Darkness Shows the Stars is a deliciously painful story of love and loss, of misunderstanding, of evil in the world and triumph over that evil. It's a story of hope and adventure. And it's also a cautionary tale that details the dangers of two very different extremes.

    Mariz
    Great data for Top Austin Towing website

    ReplyDelete