Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a touching, but frustrating, romance set in a futuristic world. Having never read Persuasion, I cannot compare this re-telling, but it was a good story in it's own right.

My favorite part of For Darkness Shows the Stars is the world that Peterfreund has created. It's the future, and society became so technologically advanced that some humans became "reduced." They do not have the ability to speak. After several years, reduced humans began having normal babies, and these babies are called "posts" (for post-reduction.) Both of these types of humans live, basically, in slavery. The humans who rule are Luddites. They do not believe in any technological progress. Nothing can change or be improved -- not farming, medicine, or any conveniences can be improved upon.

Elliot, our main character, lives on an estate farm and basically runs it. Even though her older sister is supposed to, Elliot is the only one who really knows how to run the farm. She tries to take care of their posts, but her father is constantly coming up with plans to spend the money that is supposed to help them survive the winter. Since her childhood, she has had a secret friendship with Kai, a post.

At the beginning of For Darkness Shows the Stars, Kai has been gone from the farm for four years. We slowly figure out what happened and why he left as the current story progresses. And, in the present, Kai returns to the farm a much different person.

The world is changing. Posts are changing. Some Luddites are breaking the rules. And the romance -- well, that was secondary to me. I just didn't feel much romantic tension. The estrangement was based on mis-communication, which really annoys me in a romance. I like the characters, but as far as the romance was concerned, I knew how it was going to end. Not all the details, but I knew the romance part would end the way it did.

I think I'll stop there. The story line of For Darkness Shows the Stars is complex, and there are many characters. I really enjoy that complexity -- when I sit down to write a summary, and think, "Wow! There's a lot here!" But, it also took me a while to get all the characters straight. After about 80 pages, I had to sit down and make a list of the characters and their relationships to keep it straight.

I've seen many, many reviews stating this is a favorite book of the year. I didn't get that, although I did enjoy the story. For Darkness Shows the Stars has also made me interested in reading Persuasion. I would recommend this to "dystopian romance" fans. The dystopian part is fairly light -- not really any heart-pounding suspense -- but it is still a very interesting world.

Published by Balzer + Bray, June 12, 2012
Copy obtained from the library
407 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I had no idea that For Darkness Shows the Stars was a retelling of Persuasion. I usually enjoy retelllings but I have not read Persuasion either so I'm not sure I'd make any of the connections.

    I get frustrated when all the romantic tension is a build up of a miscommunication too. I feel like they should just sit down and talk it out...but I guess there wouldn't be a story then.

  2. I read Persuasion a really long time ago and from what I remember I enjoyed it. I think I remember the main plot points, but clearly enough that I'd be comparing the two books constantly. I think it's nice to read contemporary books that inspire you to read the original classic once again.


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