October 19, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Description: 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.

My Review: I was first drawn to this book by its gorgeous cover, and the title sounded interesting, too. (I actually thought it was set in space before I read the plot description!) After seeing so many of my fellow bloggers and librarians give it 4- or 5-stars, I knew I needed to finally start this series. I haven't read Persuasion, but I don't think that affected my enjoyment at all. It does make me want to pick up the Austen novel and see how they compare!

The world-building was excellent, and the characters were believable and relatable. I really admired Elliot as a character who was born into a rigid caste system, questioning the values she was raised with. She had to choose duty over following her own heart's desires, but she still quietly rebelled in her own way. The ethical issues that were raised in the story were thought provoking, and I found myself wondering what I would have done in Elliot's situation.

I loved the way that letters were inserted in between chapters because the told the story of how Elliot and Kai's friendship grew in the past despite the cultural obstacles they faced. The letters also showed character growth over time for both Elliot and Kai. And that last letter - ah! My heart!

I'm looking forward to picking up Across a Star-Swept Sea next and returning to this fascinating world.


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