Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Published by: Balzer & Bray on June 12, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction
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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.
For Darkness Shows the Stars is the kind of book that I don’t think is bad, but I think it requires the right person and the right tastes in order to enjoy it. Unfortunately for me, I don’t think I’m the right person.
This book has that “classic literature” feel to it. Maybe not everyone will agree with me on this point, but I feel like classic literature (including Jane Austen works) have a certain style. The writing feels more “proper” and the stories/characters are a little more distanced. The emotions aren’t as intense, and I personally never get quite as invested in the characters. Obviously not everyone will respond this way to classic literature, but I’ve picked on a couple little details and feelings I always get when I read it, and they’re very present in For Darkness Shows the Stars. It’s not very intense, exciting, or romantic. It is filled with some good overall ideas, morals, and things to think about, but ultimately it’s not the most exciting or engaging.
For Darkness Shows the Stars starts out by throwing us into the deep end. I have no idea who’s who, or what’s what, or what all these crazy words are (CORs, Posts, Luddites, Reduceds, etc.). It was honestly a bit overwhelming. But as the book goes on, things do get easier to absorb!
However, there are long periods in For Darkness Shows the Stars where not much happens. We learn new information, we get a good sense of what the world is like, but it doesn’t feel like the plot is really progressing. There are very few big, key events, and a lot of descriptions and reminiscing… which isn’t for me. Most of the book is spent on Elliot reminiscing about how Kai used to be and comparing that to how he is now, and wondering if he hates her or if he likes this other girl Olivia… It’s just a lot of thinking, obsessing, and wondering—but not a lot of happening.
The romance was a big problem for me in For Darkness Shows the Stars. At the beginning of the book, we get the sense that Elliot chose her family’s estate over Kai several years earlier, and now they’re not on good terms. As such, when they meet again Kai is kind of upset with her, so he acts like a huge asshole. Kai puts Elliot down PUBLICLY and deliberately insults her on multiple occasions. And honestly, even at the end, I never felt like he was able to justify it. I don’t feel like she hurt him so much that she deserved all those insults. I might have been okay with it if, at the end, I realized Elliot had really made a huge mistake and Kai was justified in what he did… but I never felt that way. So that made me have a bad opinion of the romance overall—from start to finish.
Again, I don’t think For Darkness Shows the Stars was a bad book, I just know it wasn’t for me. There were parts of it that were good to think about (like at what point does technology go too far? Where do we draw the line?), but ultimately this writing style isn’t one that I can connect with. It’s one that I’ve seen a lot in older works like Pride & Prejudice and no matter how good the story itself is, I just can’t deal with it; it can’t hold my interest. Too many descriptions, too distancing, and too slow. Combine that with a romance that I wasn’t crazy about, and I get a ‘meh’ experience overall. Unfortunately, I know this is a book that I’m going to forget very quickly.