Monday, January 12, 2015

Recently Read: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Author: Diana Peterfreund
Status: Has a companion novel titled Across A Star Swept Sea
Page Count: 402
Publication Date: 2012
Rating: 4/5

This is a Young Adult Science-fiction retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion- which is such a cool concept. This book takes place after what is called The Reduction. Humanity started to experiment and genetically enhance everything around them, including themselves. But something went wrong, and people became Reduced- unable to speak more than a few syllables. But the Luddites resisted the experiments of the past and have risen as the elite. Elliot is a Luddite who has been holding her family's farm together after the death of her mother. Her father and older sister take no interest in the farm or business of keeping the family- and all those who live and work on the farm feed and clothed. She turned down the chance to run away with her childhood sweetheart and best friend, Kai, four years ago, but now he's back- and different than Elliot remembers him- in many ways.  

This book has the perfect amount of Austen's story and the perfect amount of new story. I loved seeing all of the connections to Austen's story, and I loved the new additions Peterfreund added. The setting is really unique and really makes this classic plot line into something totally new. Between each chapter, there are a few old letters that Elliot and Kai had written to each other as children. I loved this added element to the story- it really allowed the old relationship that Elliot and Kai shared to develop beside the new strained relationship that was developing in the present.   

I really enjoyed the added element of the fear of technology and invention in this novel. This book turned out to be very thought provoking. The idea that some innovations bring humans to close to "playing god" and the story of how the Luddites gained and kept their power was really interesting as well. I'm glad there is a companion novel that takes place in the same world, as I am interested to read more about this world and how it came to be.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this novel was that it captured two of the most important aspects of Austen's novels: the independent heroine and the suspenseful romance. Elliot is a true Austen heroine, she defies the limitations other try to place on her because of her age and gender and always thinks for herself and makes her own decisions. I love how Austen creates such suspense within her romances and this book had that element as well.

Overall, I was really impressed with this novel, and I'm very eager to pick up the companion novel Across a Star Swept Sea.

If you have any recommendations for retellings of any kind, let me know!   


  1. Ah, I'm glad to know this is a good read - I got a copy for Christmas and I'm planning on reading it soon. :) In fact as Persuasion is a classic I want to try rereading I'm thinking of reading the two of them back to back, possibly next month. The companion novel sounds great, too.

    As for retellings, if you're interested in a sci-fi retelling that isn't The Lunar Chronicles (even though they're amazing) then I'd recommend The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis. :D Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a brilliant book, too; it's not a direct retelling exactly, but it incorporates themes from loads of different stories from Romeo and Juliet to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, though the majority of its themes come from The Arabian Nights. :)

    1. I really think you would enjoy this one! I really enjoyed listening to the audio book of Persuasion, so maybe give that a try.
      Thanks for the recommendations, I will check them both out on Goodreads!
      thanks for stopping by