4 / 5 Gnomes
A review in 10 words or less: A heartbreaking story of destructive beliefs and star-crossed lovers.
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.
~Barnes and Noble Description~
The description above pretty much sums everything up. In a dystopian world where science and faith have ripped apart the world, a new caste system has been created: Luddites, the ruling class, the Reduction, the product of unfaithfulness who are mute and "simple", and the Post, the generation between, born from the Reduction but lacking the qualities of the unforgiven. Elliot is a Luddite. Kai is a Post. When Kai asks Elliot to escape from the jail that is the North family's estate, she refuses, knowing people depend on her. Four years later, the boy she once loved returns, and the world, as she knows it from her tiny little island, changes forever.
Did you read the description? The book is inspired by Jane Austen, and it's a dystopia, which is pretty much literary genius. You really get the best of both worlds: the beauty and romanticism of Austen's love story and the grit and darkness of a good dystopia.
I always liked Anne Elliot in the original. She was quiet, yet strong. Elliot North is all together a different kind of heroine. She too is quiet and strong, but she's resilient and courageous as well. Her lot is one of privilege, but she cares more for people than possessions, and she loves truly and deeply.
The dystopian elements are pretty fantastic as well. There's a deep underlying discussion of faith and science. Is there a step that is too far? And how far can faith justify a means? Yet it's never preachy which is always refreshing.
The Not So Awesome:
It's a bit confusing. As much as I loved the dystopian elements, they often got in the way. The descriptions of the Luddites and Reduction were never cleanly described, leaving you trying to piece together the world and distracting you from the emotions being thrown around.
There wasn't much that wasn't awesome. So glad I finally took the time to pick up For Darkness Shows the Stars. I'd love to see Peterfrend visit all of Austen's work. There's nothing quite like a refreshing take on a classic story.