Monday, July 2, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars
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.

Heart-wrenching, unique, and, in the end, a brilliant book. There's not really much to say about this, so I'll keep it short.

First, let me tell you all the good. The world-building was impeccable. It was so utterly believable that I could almost see this world as a possibility of the future. Experiments gone wrong. Society devolving back into old traditions of aristocracy and the feudal system. It was truly impressive and absolutely flawless.

The characters were all dynamic. Elliot was lovely. She knows her responsibility and accepts it even when she has to deny herself what she wants. She truly cares for the people she is in charge of caring for and is clever about maintaining her estate. She was a wonderful character who I could truly admire.

Kai was an enigma. First, let me explain that the chapters are split up by letters between Kai and Elliot from before Kai left. Those letters were useful in the world building, the explanation of the circumstances, but, most importantly, the letters were really how I got to know Kai, since he was barely around Elliot in the actual plot. From what I say in the letters, I grew a soft spot for Kai. But his actions in the plot...let's just say they didn't endear me to him. I understand that he would be angry and hurt that Elliot didn't go with him when he asked her. But I didn't think that excused his truly atrocious behavior. I've never read Persuasion, I only know the story line, so I'm not sure if this is a direct parallel to the behavior of the same character in the original book or if this is the author's interpretation. But I got seriously angry with Kai several times, especially with what he did at the ball. By the end, my feelings about him were mixed, to say the least. But, in the end, the good won out over the bad and I had to admit that I still had a soft spot for him.

That moves us to the romance. That whole relationship was heart-breaking. I swear, I could hear my heart crack a little more throughout the story. The emotions were tangible; you will feel the pain and loss and longing. And it will affect you right into your heart. It took that happy ending to mend all that heartbreak, and I'm glad that these characters were able to have their happily ever after.

So, For Darkness Shows the Stars was wonderful. The writing, the world-building, the characters, the romance, the ending...all the of these blend together to form a lovely story.


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