Friday, November 30, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars Diana Peterfreund book cover
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

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.

Sometimes, it feels like mere words will not be enough to convey the depth of my affection for a particular novel. I’m fairly predictable when it comes to books that I like – there has to be romance, relatable characters and an interesting story. For Darkness Shows the Stars certainly delivers successfully on all three fronts, and has found a place as one of my favorite reads. 

(Before I continue writing my review, I’m just going to throw out the fact that I have not yet read Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which inspired this novel. I am, however, feeling much more inclined to pick up the original novel by Austen after reading this book.) 

Elliot is a female character I hold in high regard. She’s obviously strong, resilient, intelligent and able to think like a leader, as she basically takes charge of managing her family’s estate. But she’s also soft-hearted and kind, especially when it comes to the Reduced under her care. I admired her strong work ethic, and the fact that she willingly took on the responsibility of making sure things ran as smoothly as possible, and that everyone got their fair share. What’s even more amazing is the fact that Elliot is still very much a girl, especially when it came to love and relationships. Her character was extremely well-crafted, and I enjoyed learning about all these different sides to her. 

And Kai, or Captain Malakai Wentforth, is one of those love interests that grows on you. He’s incredibly aloof and standoffish to Elliot when he first appears, and he does some things that made me want to toss the book across the room. I even cried at one point! But through his letters when he was still Kai, and eventually, in person, we see a glimpse of the feelings he possesses for Elliot. From that point on, just with that knowledge, my regard for him changed completely – and I really rooted for him and Elliot. 

Apart from a great female lead and her love interest, the situation the book presents us with is pretty awesome. It's all about the Reduced and the Luddites, two classes of people that remain after a big apocalyptic-like genetic experiment gone wrong that happens way before the book begins. The Reduced are limited in terms of memory and speech, while the Luddites have retained all their faculties. This was because, back in the day, the Luddites foresaw that the rise of technological and scientific advances was going to be more harmful than helpful, and basically decided to boycott all those things. They hid in their star caverns the day everything in the world changed, and came out unscathed afterwards. Since the Reduced don’t have all their wits about them, obviously the Luddites became the “elite class”. However, thanks to the CoR (Children of Reduced) or Post-Reduction (Posts), things are starting to change...

I’m sure, if you’ve read my blog before, you’re aware how I love when there are important questions of morality and society intertwined into a novel. And I certainly encountered a few while reading this one. I started thinking about the impact of technology – when can you tell that you’re crossing the line and playing god? I also started thinking about the society that these characters lived in – how long would the Reduced have to be “under” the Luddites? Who says the Luddite way of living was the only right way? This might just be me, as I do tend to think a lot while I read, but I really enjoyed the questions this novel inspired me to ask and think about. 

Though it took me a while to really get into this novel, the pages of For Darkness Shows the Stars simply flew by past a certain pivotal point (which happened near the end of the first part of the book for me). I could not read it fast enough, and when I’d finished, I almost didn’t want to leave the world that I’d discovered. It’s such a beautifully written novel, and I will probably reread it at some point in the future. I highly recommend this book, and definitely consider it one of my favorite reads of 2012. 

21 comments:

  1. Ooh I've been dying to read this one but I was hesitant because I haven't read Persuasion either and i was afraid I wouldn't get this book. But seeing this definitely proves that wouldn't be an issue.I also think way too much while reading and it's why I'm often unsatisfied with the explanations and unanswered questions in novels. I'm pretty sure this one would suit me perfectly! Great review Alexa!

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    1. This is such a beautiful book! I really hope you read it, and that you end up loving it as much as I did. No need to read Persuasion beforehand, I guarantee it ;)

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  2. I've been hearing such good things about this book and your review is great, Alexa! I need relatable characters too and am now so intrigued by the change in your feelings towards Kai!

    I would like to read Persuasion, too, but I'm not sure if I'll read it before or after this.

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    1. Let me know when you do decide to read Persuasion! I'm thinking I have to read it now, because I want to see the novel this story was based on for myself ;)

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  3. This has had some brilliant reviews, and I sill haven't read it yet! I'm so pleased to hear you liked it. Brilliant review, Alexa. :)

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  4. Nest to P&P.Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen, so I was very excited to read this. I loooved this book! It was such a cool idea and so beautifully written. Great review, Alexa!

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  5. Yay! I loved Persuasion and wasn't really sure if I should pick up this one or not, but you've convinced me I should!! :) Since we usually enjoy the same books and all :) And ANY book that makes you cry is worth a read!
    Oh, and you should definitely read Persuasion!

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    1. I seriously cried. It wasn't even a pretty cry, or the typical cry, I full on sobbed. I loved, loved, loved the romance!

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  6. I'm so pumped this is on my shelf. Great review girl. I'm anticipating it even more.

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  7. I've meaning to read For Darkness Shows the Stars but never get around to actually doing it and the mixed reviews did manage to put me off a little bit. However, now I think I'd like the book.

    Great review! I love how you described the concepts that you encountered in the book. I remember Glitch questioning the impact of technology from the perspective of playing God and it was interesting to read about that.

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

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  8. Awesome review, Alexa! I have this one on my shelf and can't stop looking at the cover ... it's so pretty! I'll have to read this soon. :)

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  9. I have GOT to read this book! I keep hearing such rave reviews and yours just pushed the book to the top for me.

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    1. Aww, I'm so glad it did! It's a really good book, even though it does start off a bit slow.

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  10. Good lord I love me some Diana Peterfreund! I have only read her Secret Society Girl series but my adoration for that series alone has made me an all-out fan of all her other work. I have this book sitting on my shelf and I plan to pick it up ASAP! Awesome review!

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  11. You should definitely pick up Persuasion-it is actually better! Can't wait for the sequel inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel.

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  12. New follower! Great review, Alexa - I just re-read this a second time for my review and month-long spotlight on Diana Peterfreund (yes, you heard that right!), and I gotta tell you, it's even better the second time.

    I stopped by because Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner had mentioned that she loved your blog, and I'm loving it, too! Great taste in books, I just finished Time Between Us as well...

    Anyway, not to spam you or do too much shameless self-promotion...but since you loved FDSTS so much, I should probably mention that I've got an interview with Elliot North from this book, AND an interview with her where she talks about her companion novel to FDSTS. There's also one giveaway left to win your choice of one of Diana's books. Come visit me! =)

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    1. Aww, thank you! I'll be off to visit your blog shortly.

      And yes, I absolutely LOVED this book and am SO EXCITED for the companion novel!

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  13. I've picked up this book and put it beside my bed several times but I haven't started yet. And everyone that has read it has loved it. Your words are proof that I need to STOP with all of my new-ish reading and read this, which I keep pushing further and further back. It sounds spectacular.

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    1. You definitely should! It goes by surprisingly quick for such a lengthy novel :)

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  14. Oh yes, For Darkness Shows The Stars is definitely a book to return to time and time again. I loved the slow weaving of the relationship between Elliot and Kai. I loved that they had to work towards a happily ever after. I loved the yearning. The misunderstandings. Pretty much the everything.

    Lovely review Alexa, it warms my heart to see another blogger love For Darkness Shows The Stars as much as I did. :-)

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    1. I am so glad that you and Lena recommended it to me. It really was AMAZING, and I totally agree with everything you said about it in YOUR review :)

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