Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

3 October, 2013 Reviews 24 comments

Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana PeterfreundFor Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows The Stars #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on June 12th 2012
Pages: 402
Genres: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

From Goodreads



This book gave me all the feels. Seriously, all of them.

You know what, let me just get this out of my system:

I just have a lot of feelings

My brain is crying

This is too much

My heart can't handle it

Ok, where were we?

There were parts of this book where my bones hurt, it was so intense. Full on shallow breathing, hand on my heart, ‘let me take to my fainting couch because I am light headed with feels’ intensity but in the absolute most bestest way there is.

I don’t really know if I can give any kind of analytic review because a lot of this book is definitely dependent on how you feel about Kai and Elliot and, not gonna lie, I shipped them. I shipped them hard.

I will go down with this ship

I was charmed from the first letter Elliot wrote Kai when they were six. I don’t know what it is about childhood pen pals, but they just get to me. Something about the simple, staccato sentences and the innocently expressed sentiments just got me all gooey inside, so I was on their side from page one and my love (ok, obsession) just grew from there. And then the juxtaposition of their past and present relationship killed me.

I adore Elliot, she is absolutely amazing. She cares so much for everyone around her, sacrificing her happiness and dreams at every turn with grace and poise to make sure that everyone she is responsible for is taken care of to the best of her ability. Often this kind of passive character behavior drives me up the wall, but Elliot pulls it off in a way that made me love her more.

Kai is a little harder to get a read on, at times I wanted to smack him, he was just so mean to Elliot. But it was so painfully clear that he was incredibly hurt by what had happened between them and the world at large that I couldn’t hold on to my anger. I also sympathize more with Kai’s view of the world which may have helped me not give up on him when he was acting particularly stupid.

“They hadn’t been made for each other at all—quite the opposite. But they’d grown together, the two of them, until they were like two trees from a single trunk, stronger together than either could have been alone.”

The writing is beautiful, at times matter of fact and at others poetic. I haven’t read Persuasion (I know, for shame, I’m a bad book person but Persuasion is free on iBooks, so hopefully I can correct this lapse shortly) but I can tell you from the Jane Austen I have read, Diana Peterfreund has the vibe down. In addition to traditional Austen-book features, sharply divided social classes, a love/hate romance, intriguing new neighbors, scoundrel relatives, etc, For Darkness Shows The Stars felt like a Jane Austen novel. The rhythm and flow were spot on. It’s like Peterfreund distilled Austen’s books down to their most essential, intangible bits and applied them to her writing like a glaze or frosting.

The dystopian additions were fabulous as well. Though slow to clearly unfold, I thought the Luddite/Post/Reduced society structure to be a really interesting and the ‘where are we going with all this crazy technology’ debates is one of my favorites.

I loved this book. Like, loved this book (you may not have noticed, I don’t know, I can be kind of subtle.) I can tell you right now this is going to be a go-to reread from this point on and I am eagerly awaiting the release of Across A Star Swept Sea. If you have a passing interest in Jane Austen or merely like breaking your own heart for the thrill of the feelings (don’t judge me) then I highly recommend picking up this book as soon as you can.

Meg Morley

Meg Morley

Co-bloggery at Cuddlebuggery
Meg is an all-around book nerd who just really wants to talk about books, preferably with other people but by herself will do. Find her on Goodreads.

24 Responses to “Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund”

  1. Kate Copeseeley

    ‘let me take to my fainting couch’
    ahahahaha You have a way with words.
    If you haven’t read ALL of the Jane Austen books, then you should read them! Persuasion has this hot undercurrent of smoldering passion. And it’s not too long of a read, either. It’s no Pride and Prejudice, but it’s quite nice.
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    • Meg Morley

      Hahaha, why thank you! For real, though, I was legit near-swoon at one point. It was weird.

      I’ve already downloaded Persuasion 🙂 I’m very excited, it’ been a long time since I’ve done actual Austen and I love her banter so very much. Plus, always down for some smolder.
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  2. Moonlight Reader

    I have read Persuasion, although it is not my favorite Austen. I actually liked Peterfreund’s Elliot better than Austen’s original Anne Elliot. I also really liked this book.

  3. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Your feels look like toxic waste, Meg. You might want to get that checked out.

    BAHAHA, yes. I love the ship gif. I didn’t ship them though. I just…I didn’t get into the kidlet romance and then Kai is so young to be such a dick about it. I mean, with Anne, she was old enough to make a decision, but Elliot would literally have to run off with him. It just seemed a BIT like overkill. I mean, that’s what the adaptation calls for, but this would have worked so much better if they were a bit older.

    But yes, I LOVE that quote.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Cover Snark (74): The One That Has Me Thinking About Getting Darcy NakedMy Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Hahaha. They like like that because they are like the Hulk. All no-big-deal Bruce Banner and then BAM EXPLOSIVE GREEN MADNESS

      I agree about the age thing (there’s your inarguable logic again.) I think I spent a large part of the story not doing the math. Every time my brain would go there, my Hulk feels were all HULK SMASH and beat the logic into a Loki puddle on Iron Man’s floor. Ok, this simile has officially run away with me.
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  4. Shelly

    I think this is the best review I’ve read in a while, I never review books analytically and it’s so awesome to see you fangirl over this. I’m in to mood for some feels so this will definitely be on my reading pile soon. Great review!
    *the titanic gif was my favourite part. YES I WILL SINK WITH THIS SHIP TOO
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  5. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I loved this book too. Was so beautiful and just perfect! I really shipped Kai and Elliot. I have yet to read the Kai novella but need to! I just read Across a Star Swept Sea and didn’t care for it nearly as much as this one though it was still beautifully written. Perhaps, I should have read this one again to refresh my memory of the world. Great review!

    My Friends Are Fiction
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  6. Stephanie @ The Novlist

    I totally agree with everything you said! I loved this book so so much and a large part of it was definitely because I shipped Elliot and Kai hard – maybe not as much as I now ship Hector and Elisa from Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series but I definitely have a soft spot for those two. Probably the thing that impressed me the most was the way Diana Peterfreund really captured Jane Austen in this retelling: the tone was there, and like you said, so were plenty of her usual plot devices. I guess I really just loved everything about this one!

    Plus, your .gifs are perfect. Perfect.
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  7. Ellis

    YES YES YES. I’m glad you haven’t read Persuasion because I haven’t either, but I feel like I should before I start For Darkness Shows the Stars. So now DFStS (abbreviating because) stands there on my shelf, very sadly. Christina and Gillian advised me to read Persuasion first, but now I just see they are big liars who want to brainwash me with Austen. Tsk. Infidels. So either you’re a good book person (I think you’re a very good one) or we can be bad book persons together (I also like this idea. Maybe even better. We can go rogue in the book world). Don’t listen to Christina. The wildfire explosion of feels is perfection. She just doesn’t know her TV.
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  8. 2014: Year of the Buggery | Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

    […] For Darkness Shows Stars by Diane Peterfreund Here I am, cheating again, but For Darkness Shows the Stars deserves a mention because I connected to this book, er ship, in a way I did not expect and cannot fully explain. Kai and Elliot go down on my list of OTPs and the rest of the book is pretty damn fantastic as well. […]

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