Tuesday, April 16, 2013

review - For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars Cover Image

Five Stars
For Darkness Shows the Stars
by: Diana Peterfreund | Website | Twitter

Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Format: Hardcover - la biblioteca
Page Count: 402
Genre: Retelling, Sci-fi, YA
Get your copy: Amazon | B&N

Add to 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.

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.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

For Darkness Shows the Stars Header Image
My Review
For Darkness Shows the Stars is a wonderful re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, but with an interesting dystopian/sci-fi twist.

To start this series starts has a novella prequel Among the Nameless Stars. The novella is available on the publishers website for free. I actually read it before the FDStS, but it might be better digested after the main event. There are some terms and social constructs that were kind of hard to wrap my head around; I had to just pick up from context. This wouldn't have been a problem if I had read them in reverse, but this did not diminish the story of Kai's journey to find himself and the life he thinks he wants.

While most of FDStS takes place on the North Estate, this novella opens a whole new and expanded world to the readers. City-life of this post-apocalyptic society starts to come alive, and the ruling class and the political powers that be can be seen in their varying degrees of benevolence or malevolence.

The best part of AtNS is Kai's letters to Elliot. They bring to the surface his pain, loneliness, and strength to provide a better life for himself. Knowing that Kai is going to make it back to the North Estate, it was interesting to read about Kai's experiences, choices, and subsequent consequences and how they eventually lead back to Elliot.

I'm not going to lie, the reason this book had my undivided attention was the cover. Can we take a moment to appreciate it in all its awesomeness. I'll wait while you scroll up. The stars, the font, and the hints of pink and orange. It wasn't even the dress this time!

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Tuesdays throughout April, I've been posting reviews of classic retellings, and FDStS is by far my favorite retelling. It was that dash of post-apocalyptic/fantasy that really let the story come to life. While most other retellings fit into contemporary settings, FDStS did anything but. The future was almost a throw-back to an Austenian-society, with the distinct social classes playing an important role in the story. This conflict sparks a rift between Elliot and Kai at an early age, eventually leading to Kai's quest to better his status in life.

In Elliot's eyes, Kai abandoned her to a lonely life, where she had to take the leadership role on her family's estate. So when he returns, emotions run wild. Maintaining social etiquette, Elliot and Kai must navigate their current situation, with their pasts as constant reminders of what they lost, read: each other. These social scenes are great nods to Jane Austen's writing, and Peterfreund impeccably weaves the Austenian dances and courting into this post-apocalyptic setting.

Having not read Persuasion, the character arcs were new to me. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed FDStS; the world-building, the romance, and the letters. In the digital, instant-world we live in, I loved the simple act of writing a letter and the anticipation of receiving one back.

My Favorite Quotes
In every letter, in every line, she saw him. He hadn't changed - he'd only grown into the man he'd meant to be.

Kai held firm to her with one hand, and pointed up with the other. "I can see them, Elliot. I can see them all. In the night, in the day, through clouds and storms and the setting sun."
She stared at him in wonder. This was his miracle, and he was sharing it with her.
"Thank you," she said, "for coming back for me."
"Elliot." He bent his head close to hers, and looked deep into her eyes. His gaze was no longer strange to her. He was just her Kai, the man he'd been born to become. "No matter where I went, I always knew my way back to you. You are my compass star."
And he was hers.

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