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 by: Balzer & Bray on June 12, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 402
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★½

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 Wentforthโ€”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!

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund - Some day we'll go see the stars

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.

The Verdict


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  1. I have been curious about this book – I adore the cover but I think I’d also be let down by the things you didn’t like, especially the romance which I really need to connect with.

    A great review Ashley ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I know what you mean about the “meh” feeling. I didn’t really like this and couldn’t stand the romance and plot. It was just too bland and nothing was really happening..

    Ariella recently posted: In My Mailbox #34
  3. I’m so with you there. It took me like five tries to get into the book. Once I forced myself past half-way I enjoyed it…mostly. Haha. So yeah, I’m kinda with you on the meh. I think I kinda made myself like it more than I really did. Great review Ashey-baby!!! Well said as always.

    <333 Inky

    Inky recently posted: Review: The Fault In Our Stars
  4. Interesting – I’ve been meaning to read this one because it sounded interesting and I just love that cover (I’m a total cover whore, I admit it), but maybe I’ll wait and search out a couple more reviews before I get too excited about this one :/
    Great review!

    Any chance you may add that ‘reader rating’ thing to the UBB plugin at some point? I think that’s such an incredible idea!

    Helen recently posted: Armchair BEA 2013: Ethics
    1. The ‘reader rating’ thing is more of a theme feature than a plugin feature. So I won’t be adding it to UBB but perhaps I will add it to my pre-made themes!

  5. I really liked the classic literature feel to this book. I actually read this book right after reading Persuasion so to me it seemed much more amped up than Jane Austen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your review! And I had the same problem with all the lingo.

    Jessica @ Books: A true story recently posted: Reading Queue June
    1. I’m glad you liked the classic feel! I wish I was more into that style of writing.

  6. I really need to be in the right kind of mood for a “literary” type read, so thanks for the heads up about this one! I knew it was an Austen retelling, but I didn’t realize it would mirror the writing style as well.

    Sorry the romance didn’t work for you; I know that’s kind of your dealbreaker!

    Kelly recently posted: Happy Birthday…To Me!
  7. I couldn’t even finish this one! I was bored to tears and ended up DNFing at page 100 or something like that because I couldn’t stand it anymore. Probably because of that ‘classic literature’ feel! I’m just not into classics, or anything historical.
    Plus the overwhelming terms were difficult for me. I had NO idea what the hell was going on, and like you said I felt like I was thrown into the deep end.
    It’s kind of sad, because so many people loved it. Great review, Ashley! Glad I wasn’t the only one! >.<

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: Charm and Strange Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway
    1. Yeah things were pretty darn confusing at the beginning! It does slowly start to make sense, but at first I literally thought I’d missed some kind of crucial explanation or something..

  8. Oh jeez – I hate when there are long bouts of down time. I love the “meh” rating, like you were so underwhelmed heh? I’m really said to hear this wasn’t everything I was hoping. I picked up the second book at BEA thinking OMG I’m going to love the first one – so I prioritized it ahead of the Antigoddess line….so didn’t get that…and now I’m just…sad. I hope I like it more than you did. *weepy face*

    1. Aww no! I’m so psyched about Antigoddess and I didn’t get it either!

      I did something similar though. I got Across a Star-Swept Sea from Edelweiss before I read this book, because it sounded amazing. Plus, they’re companion novels so you don’t have to read one before the other. But then I read For Darkness Shows the Stars and didn’t love it, so now I’m a little afraid to read the second book. ๐Ÿ™

      You never know, though, you might end up really liking it! A couple people absolutely ADORE this book.

      1. Oh yeah I agree – I am still totally going to read it. Maybe I’ll Across a Star-Swept Sea first…I had planned to read this one first but since it’s a companion maybe I’ll just read it if I love AsSSS. Now I’m like who do I have to sell my soul to …to get Antigoddess. haha. We shall see! I’ll have to ping at you later with what i think *maniacal laughter*

  9. Aww. I really loved this book. I even liked the romance, though I can see where you’re coming from.

    I feel the need to mention that Across a Star Swept Sea, the companion novel to this book, is based on The Scarlet Pimpernel and has much more going on in the plot. So if you liked the idea of this book or the world building but were frustrated by how it kind of plodded along, the other book has much more plot. And I thought the romance struck a much better key of two like minded individuals

    Now I feel like I’m trying to preach to you or change your mind. Really, though, I can totally understand how this book wouldn’t appeal to people. I just happened to really, really love it.

    1. I’m so glad you loved it Caitlin!! And thank you so much for your thoughts on Across a Star Swept Sea. I actually have a copy of that book so it’s really good to know that there’s more going on plot-wise! I think I’ll give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

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