Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana PeterfreundFor Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1) by Diana Peterfreund
Published by Balzer + Bray on June 12th 2012
Pages: 407
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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.

I will confess, I have never read Persuasion by Jane Austen. I knew the general story, of course, and I’ve read multiple other Jane Austen novels. That did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of For Darkness Shows the Stars.

I’m a huge fan of this type of genre. It’s sort of post-apocalyptic/dystopian, with elements of a period piece mixed in. I know, sort of a strange mix, but it works really well here. Our two lovebirds, Elliot North and Captain Malakai Wentforth, are introduced through letters they exchanged beginning in childhood, when Kai was a worker on Elliot’s family estate. The dynamic between the self-proclaimed superior Luddites, the Reduced, and the Posts was an interesting power struggle to follow, and made me want a sequel to see how the rest of the world was dealing with the revolution that was occurring on the north estate. They talked about it briefly, but I want the grand adventures of Kai and Elliot to be the next book.

I really enjoyed getting to know Kai and Elliot through the letters. I loved how the tone changed as they grew up, and I would have loved to see a bit more of their relationship. I also loved seeing both of them interact with the workers on the estate, both Reduced and Posts.

I couldn’t quite get a handle on Elliot’s father: was he just a selfish idiot? Was he a brilliant villain mastermind? He was a good villain that I was fully invested in hating, but I couldn’t get a good read on his intelligence level.


Honestly, not much. This book has good pacing, in depth characters, and nice resolution. I guess I would like to see Elliot and Kai together more, since most of their relationship was shown through the letters. It did feel a teensy bit like it was too little, too late when they finally interacted, but it certainly was not a big disappointment, by any means. I was a bit sad to discover that Across a Star Swept Sea was a companion novel, and not a sequel, although I’m still very much interested in reading it.


4 Stars


  1. sjhigbee says:

    I love the sound of this one! I haven’t read enough of this sub-genre – but I particularly like the sci fi element to this one. I need to add this one to my list:)

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