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.
WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK?! YOU GUYS! THIS BOOK!
This book gave me all the feels. Seriously, all of them.
You know what, let me just get this out of my system:
Ok, where were we?
There were parts of this book where my bones hurt, it was so intense. Full on shallow breathing, hand on my heart, ‘let me take to my fainting couch because I am light headed with feels’ intensity but in the absolute most bestest way there is.
I don’t really know if I can give any kind of analytic review because a lot of this book is definitely dependent on how you feel about Kai and Elliot and, not gonna lie, I shipped them. I shipped them hard.
I was charmed from the first letter Elliot wrote Kai when they were six. I don’t know what it is about childhood pen pals, but they just get to me. Something about the simple, staccato sentences and the innocently expressed sentiments just got me all gooey inside, so I was on their side from page one and my love (ok, obsession) just grew from there. And then the juxtaposition of their past and present relationship killed me.
I adore Elliot, she is absolutely amazing. She cares so much for everyone around her, sacrificing her happiness and dreams at every turn with grace and poise to make sure that everyone she is responsible for is taken care of to the best of her ability. Often this kind of passive character behavior drives me up the wall, but Elliot pulls it off in a way that made me love her more.
Kai is a little harder to get a read on, at times I wanted to smack him, he was just so mean to Elliot. But it was so painfully clear that he was incredibly hurt by what had happened between them and the world at large that I couldn't hold on to my anger. I also sympathize more with Kai’s view of the world which may have helped me not give up on him when he was acting particularly stupid.
“They hadn't been made for each other at all—quite the opposite. But they’d grown together, the two of them, until they were like two trees from a single trunk, stronger together than either could have been alone.”
The writing is beautiful, at times matter of fact and at others poetic. I haven’t read Persuasion (I know, for shame, I’m a bad book person but Persuasion is free on iBooks, so hopefully I can correct this lapse shortly) but I can tell you from the Jane Austen I have read, Diana Peterfreund has the vibe down. In addition to traditional Austen-book features, sharply divided social classes, a love/hate romance, intriguing new neighbors, scoundrel relatives, etc, For Darkness Shows The Stars felt like a Jane Austen novel. The rhythm and flow were spot on. It’s like Peterfreund distilled Austen’s books down to their most essential, intangible bits and applied them to her writing like a glaze or frosting.
The dystopian additions were fabulous as well. Though slow to clearly unfold, I thought the Luddite/Post/Reduced society structure to be a really interesting and the ‘where are we going with all this crazy technology’ debates is one of my favorites.
I loved this book. Like, loved this book (you may not have noticed, I don’t know, I can be kind of subtle.) I can tell you right now this is going to be a go-to reread from this point on and I am eagerly awaiting the release of Across A Star Swept Sea. If you have a passing interest in Jane Austen or merely like breaking your own heart for the thrill of the feelings (don’t judge me) then I highly recommend picking up this book as soon as you can.
This review also appears on Cuddlebuggery.