Monday, February 24, 2014

For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a YA post-apocalyptic romance by Diana Peterfreund.

Elliot North is of Luddite nobility. Since she was a child she was taught that the Luddites, who outlawed most technology, were the reason the human race survived after a genetic experiment went wrong many generations ago.

That experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction.

As one of the Luddite nobility, she has always been aware that her purpose is to protect the Reduced and enforce the Luddite principles to shun technological advances.

Yet, as a young adult, Elliot knows things aren’t as simple as that.

She was childhood best friends with Kai – a servant that was born to her family. He is not Reduced, but does not have the rights of a Luddite – he is one of the many Post-Reductionists that are changing the way the world looks at the future.

Her friendship, her love, with Kai was fractured four years ago when Elliot refused to run away with him.

When she chose to stay and look after the estate, and the remaining Reduced.

Since then, she’s staved off the heart wrenching regret by acknowledging that without her her spend-happy father and oblivious sister would have already destroyed their business. She’s had to work at the estate’s survival – keeping everyone fed and clothed.

But the loneliness is always there. The wonder of where Kai went. If he is still alive. If he made it.

When a group of shipbuilders request renting part of their estate, Elliot is quick to agree – as they desperately need the money – despite the group being Post-Reductionists, which her father wouldn’t be pleased about.

Among the group is Captain Malakai Wentworth.

Elliot’s heart nearly stops when she realizes it is a nearly unrecognizable Kai. A Kai that seems angry and harsh – entirely resentful of Elliot’s decision all those years ago.

Could there be the smallest possible hope of a second chance between them?

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a retelling, a reimagining, of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

And OH MY GOSH I love it.

Immediately I could see and appreciate the resemblances to Persuasion, mashed with an initially unclear but intriguing post-apocalyptic world. And as more details became known, it’s truly an original and fascinating world that Peterfreund created.

The unspoken, heavy with feeling, connection Elliot and Kai have is stunningly reminiscent of Persuasion with passion and a restrained, mysterious past that is revealed in a lovely, paced manner.

For Darkness Shows the Stars has a strong, resilient, intelligent heroine in Elliot. Her pain is palpable but she’s no pushover. I really, really liked her – and kept feeling the urge to reread Persuasion.

This is a novel that, in my opinion, transcends the YA genre and shows just how remarkable YA can be. It’s suspenseful, meaningful, and weighty. It nearly brought tears to my eyes!

It’s so nice to read a romance about a soul connection, a friendship bond that became more – instead of just superficial, hormonal infatuation that pales sharply in comparison.

The quotes from Jane Austen’s novel pierced my heart as they were peppered perfectly throughout this honoring, respectful, incredible retelling.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is achingly, amazingly beautiful!!!

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