From Goodreads: 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.
My Rating: 4.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I’m not normally a fan of slow-paced dystopians. But, I ended up loving For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund because of its worldbuilding, characters and romance. A retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in a dystopian setting, I also liked For Darkness Shows the Stars because it simultaneously managed to retain the feel of a Victorian Era novel.
When reading dystopians not set in an alternative world, I usually find myself wondering how the world came to be the way the author imagines it for their story. Often, the backstory sounds rather incredulous. That wasn’t the case for For Darkness Shows the Stars because it’s not hard to imagine a group of people deciding to isolate themselves and stop using technology after seeing war break out and most of the world’s population be eradicated due to advances in technology and genetics.
Most of the characters in For Darkness Shows the Stars were well-developed as well. I especially liked Elliot who chooses duty over love, knowing that she’s the only one who can intercede with her father on behalf of the Posts’ working on her family's land. When Kai later comes back resolved to make Elliot rue the decision that broke his heart (and hers), she handles his aloofness and insults with remarkable grace. Based on her actions, she’s definitely one of the most mature YA protagonists I’ve encountered!
I also enjoyed the way Peterfreund chose to depict the romance between Kai and Elliot. Throughout the book, letters written by a young Kai and Elliot chronicle their relationship from friends to the possibility of something more. The innocence displayed in those letters was definitely a nice contrast against their current tense relationship and made it easier for me to see Kai as a complex character.
A fantastic standalone with a romance that had me invested despite the lack of a kiss, For Darkness Shows the Stars was released by Balzer + Bray in June 2012.
Comments About the Cover: I think the cover is pretty. However, the dress looks a little fancy for a Luddite, especially for one who's responsible for managing an estate.