For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund
Review Source: ARC from ARCycling
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary (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.
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 an interesting book. It wasn't particularly good, but I couldn't put it down! I didn't really like Elliot that much, but I really wanted her to succeed. The romance wasn't my favorite, but I would have been crushed if they didn't get a happy ending. So it was a book full of contradictions for me and I wasn't sure how I was going to rate it until the very end. And in all honesty, I'm letting my emotions do more of the rating on this one than my brain. And sometimes, I think that's ok. So while For Darkness Shows the Stars wasn't technically great for me, I actually really enjoyed it.
Here are a few faults I found with the book: 1) There seemed to be a few holes in the world building. I wasn't totally satisfied with the explanation of the Reduction or how the Posts came to be or why the Luddites felt that taking care of the Reduced equaled keeping them as slaves. 2) Kai and Elliot were mostly just bitter, Kai was mean, and they rarely had any honest conversations with each other. I didn't feel much chemistry between them at all. 3) The writing was a bit choppy. Paragraphs and ideas didn't always seem to flow well from one to the next. 4) I was hoping for more of a discussion relating to the slavery issue in the book, especially towards the end when Elliot has more of an opportunity to change what goes on at the estate. But it is never addressed. Nor is the class structure. The Reduced and CORs are slaves, Posts that have run away are workers, and the Luddites are land owners. There is talk of a rebellion, but it never comes. Elliot talks about taking care of the Reduced and Posts on her estate, but she never offers them their freedom. I wanted more from her when it came to this.
The reasons I still gave it four stars? The letters. I'm really just a huge sucker for letters. I think it's the honesty that comes out in letters, the raw emotions, the truth, and the lack of wishy-washy feelings that really get me. A character can spend the whole book flipping back and forth on their feelings but they sit down to write a letter and it all comes out. I don't know why or if that's really the reason, but letters (and diaries) just pull me right in. And this book was no different. The look we get at the past relationship between Kai and Elliot through their letters was the best part of the book for me. It's where I felt the most emotions, learned the most about them, and wanted the most for them. The rest of the story was good enough and the supporting characters were interesting (Felicia, Dee, Ro, even Benedict offered something to the story), but without the letters I'm not sure it would have been enough.
All of that said, I really enjoyed the book and gave it four stars. I'm excited to read the next one, Across a Star-Swept Sea (based on The Scarlet Pimpernel), though I wish we could get more of Kai and Elliot. The way this book ended was how I liked to see them, what I had wished they had been in more of the book. But I'm sure the next one will be enjoyable with or without them. Because even though I had problems with the book, I still really enjoyed it and look forward to more stories from Peterfreund.
Also noteworthy, I have not read Jane Austen's Persuasion, which this book is based on, so I cannot comment on how they compare but I definitely want to pick it up and give it a chance now!
Well, it's happened again. Another month gone. This month marked the end of soccer for my son, my daughter's first dance show, and the end of kindergarten. Starting in June I will officially have a First Grader and a soon-to-be preschooler. This year is passing quickly. The silver lining in this? All of these new books come out very soon! I've put together a list of anticipated June releases, many of which I'm very excited about.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo : Release Date June 5 - I am really excited to read this new fantasy novel that's getting tons of love on Goodreads, but mostly I just love the cover
A Midsummers Nightmare by Kody Keplinger : Release Date June 5 - I'm not really sure about this contemporary young adult novel about a girl who hates her life and deals with it by acting out. I also have yet to read anything by this author, though she's written several other books.
Timepiece by Myra McEntire : Release Date June 12 - This is the second book in the Hourglass series and the third was just picked up and will be released next year. I've already read Timepiece and wrote a review that I posted on my blog. I actually liked Timepiece more than Hourglass. Together they make a great time travel series and I definitely recommend reading these books.
Rapture by Lauren Kate : Release Date June 12 - This is the fourth and final book in The Fallen series. I haven't read these yet, but now that the series is complete, I'll have to put them on my list.
The Golden Lily by Rachelle Mead : Release Date June 12 - The is the second book in the Bloodlines series that is the spinoff from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund : Release Date June 12 - This post-apocalyptic dystopian romance is based on Jane Austen's Persuasion. I definitely want to read this one.
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson : Release Date June 12 - Another young adult contemporary on the list, this time a romance. The summary makes it sound a bit like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, but I'm not sure yet if that's a fair comparison or not. Either way, I'm excited to read this one.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick : Release Date June 14 - This is a contemporary young adult romance about a girl who wishes she could belong to a different family and then falls in love with their son. It sounds like a great YA romance and is getting pretty good reviews so far on Goodreads. I've already added it to my list.
One Moment by Kristina McBride : Release Date June 26 - The summary for this book makes it sound like a contemporary young adult mystery. I'm looking forward to reading this one, I received a copy from NetGalley, and will have a review up in a couple of weeks.
That's my list of June releases. I don't think I've ever had so many YA contemporaries on a list before, but I'm definitely looking forward to most of them. Which book are you most excited for next month? Are you looking forward to one that I left off the list? Let me know what your anticipated June releases are!