With this book, for some reason, I had a preconceived idea of what this book was about. Upon hearing it was a Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, I thought I was sure I knew what I was getting into. I was initially caught off guard by a mood and setting of the book I wasn't expecting to read. This at first had me reading this book much slower than it ought to have been read until I gave it a second chance. I'm glad I did! This book is a gorgeous Post Apocalyptic, yet refined retelling of a story you thought you knew.
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. - Summary from Goodreads
I was initially not excited about the Austen-era propriety in the book, as I don't usually associate it with Science Fiction. By the midway point I decided that it fit tone of the story and provided a really great contrast between technology and the ways of the stingy Luddites who want nothing to do with the technology that previously destroyed the human population. The world itself was absolutely gorgeous. Diana Peterfreund just has a way of describing the setting and setting up the mood of a story!
The characters of this book were so deeply written and rather heart-wrenching at times. The relationship of Elliot and Kai was written really well. It wasn't too lovey-dovey, but rather thoughtful and powerful, crossing the boundaries of their society. The social boundaries in this book are much deeper than upper and lower class. The Reduction was an event in the book's past where humans experiments with genetic enhancement went horribly wrong and all who survived became 'Reduced' to the mental capacity of a young child. I loved this controversial subject and I think it's horrifyingly believable!
I would recommend this book to people who have a taste for unique worlds and love the artful language. It's definitely a unique but well-executed contribution to the post apocalyptic genre. I'm now intrigued and want to read more from this author who has published other YA books. After doing a bit of digging, I still haven't firmly established this but I believe For Darkness Shows the Stars is a stand alone book.