Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the StarsFor Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Published: 12 June 2012
Balzer + Bray, Hardcover, 402 pages
Source: Library

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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.

Rating: ★★★★★

Breath-taking. Delectable. Romantic. Lyrical. Someone needs to put a stop to my compliment diarrhea concerning For Darkness Shows the Stars. Diana Peterfreund perfectly merged dystopia and classics, creating a beautiful story with the best of both worlds. Honestly, I never imagined this book would be so good. After reading the summary of Persuasion on Wikipedia (I’m not much of a classics reader), I sort of expected something more shallow. But I always love it when books like this exceed my expectations by light-years!

For Darkness Shows the Stars was set in a post apocalyptic world were the Reduction, a genetic experiment gone wrong, caused a majority of the world to become, well, mentally reduced. The Reduced are mute and were actually compared to dogs or other domestic animals. Post-Reductionists, or Posts, are the descendants of the reduced who have somehow shrugged off the gene that made their predecessors Reduced and Luddites are the people who decided to live underground before the Reduction because they believed the scientific experiments would result in something disastrous, and hence, survived the Reduction.

Compared to other post apocalyptic and dystopian books, For Darkness Shows the Stars definitely have much less action. However, it wasn’t the least bit boring with all of Elliot’s mixed emotions and feelings caused by Kai’s return and the need to find a way to save her family estate. The romance in this book was exceptionally wonderful. Without the usual shallowness and physical aspects of most YA couples, Kai and Elliot’s relationship was one of the best ones I’ve ever come across in the YA genre.

They had been childhood friends and Diana Peterfreund was a genius to include all the letters they had sent each other through the years. Without those letters, I probably would have found it hard to feel their connection, like in most books where childhood sweethearts are involved. As for me loving the romance so much, it’s no big secret it had my heart clenching crazily. And THE FEELS. THE TEARS. I always seem to cry at some point in the stories of my favourite fictional couples.

After reading this book, Elliot became one of my most-loved protagonists ever. She’s caring, smart (you’ll find out just how very smart she is in the book), perceptive and responsible. It was the responsible part that got me. With all the wild and reckless protagonists I’ve become accustomed to, I never noticed how many of them lacked responsibility. I don’t really want to name names but I hope you guys get what I mean. Elliot cared enough for the Posts and Reduced on her estate (most Luddites treated them like indentured servants) to take on tasks that were that of her father’s or sister’s without needing any recognition. Is she a great person or what?

As for Kai, I was a little slighted by the fact that he was so cold to Elliot. However, I’ve read the prequel, Among the Nameless Stars, which was told from Kai’s perspective and was able to better understand his anger towards Elliot. They were fourteen when he asked her to runaway with him and she refused. Of course, being so young, he would be mad. Don’t we all do stupid things and get mad for stupid reasons at fourteen?

Despite that, Kai was a pretty good male lead. Ambitious and great at leading, he was also kind and romantic in his own grungy sort of way. Although his sensitive traits were more prominent in his letters to Elliot from their former years than in the “‘new’ Kai, or well, Malakai.

I was also surprised that this book could surprise me. Surprise-ception! I’ve got no idea why, but I assumed For Darkness Shows the Stars would be predictable. Now I know not to trust my predictions on whether books are predictable or not. Prediction-ception!

Please excuse my lameness.

Anyway, to end things off, I would definitely recommend For Darkness Shows the Stars to everyone. Even those who simply need action in their books. You never know, but a book this emotionally powerful could maybe sweep you off your feet, like it did me. Just to save you all from disappointment if you do fall in love with this book, the next installment, Across a Star-Swept Sea, will feature new main characters in the same world, though I think Elliot and Kai might make an appearance or be mentioned. It would also be inspired by another classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and would be out October 15th this year.

Obviously, I simply can’t wait! After reading Elliot & Kai’s story, I’m definitely craving more romance by Diana Peterfreund!


P.S. The title of this book is downright awesome and suitable for the story! I just had to mention that.

8 thoughts on “Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

  1. Ooooh, at first I placed this on my TBR solely because it has such a gorgeous cover. Now that I’ve actually read some positive things about it, I’m now less ashamed of my originally-superficial reason of having it on my list, lol! I love surprises so considering the amount of surprise-ception and prediction-ception you got, I think I’ll enjoy it as well! ;D


    1. Well, I actually can’t help but judge books by their cover too & initially wanted to read this because the title sounded really cool. Guess we’re both guilty of originally superficial reasons for wanting to read this! I do hope you like it too!


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