Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (@jessicadhaluska, @dpeterfreund)

Posted January 7, 2015 by Jessica in Jessica, Reviews, Science Fiction, Young Adult / 70 Comments

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (@jessicadhaluska, @dpeterfreund)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on: June 12 2012
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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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.


I don’t care how cliché it is, I love Jane Austen.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice half a dozen times. I’ve read Emma at least twice that, and I’ve read Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park a time or two as well. We won’t even get into how many times I’ve watched their movie counterparts, b/c that could be embarrassing.

Know what I haven’t read and/or watched numerous times?



YES, I admit it. The first time I read this book, I had never read Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I’m pretty sure I’d seen the BBC miniseries or movie version, but it had been looooooong ago, and who cares, anyway?–Having seen the movie (perhaps) at some point in the indefinite past doesn’t make me any less of a fraud.

*hangs head in shame*

There’s good news though. Chances are you haven’t read Persuasion either. In fact, a lot of you are probably wondering why I’m blathering on about Jane Austen to begin with . . .

YEP. Thought so.

But there is a reason (there is always a reason), and that reason is Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars is a sci-fi/post apocalypse/dystopian retelling of . . . wait for it . . . Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

And it is FANTASTIC.

Elliot North lives in a world devastated by genetic modification. A Luddite, she is a member of the lone surviving intelligent people group of the wars that followed the general population’s discovery that their genetic tampering had doomed their offspring to existing in a diminished capacity.

Having shunned the treatment, the Luddites and their own offspring were unaffected, and when the dust settled, pious souls that they were, they took it as their sacred duty to shelter and protect the Reduced.

That the Reduced provided free labor on plantation-like properties . . . well, that was just a byproduct of the whole nasty situation.

BUT several generations later, the Reduced began to infrequently give birth to non-Reduced children. A few generations after that, and while still a rare occurrence, the number of non-Reduced children was steadily increasing.

Kai is one such child, and Elliot’s best and only childhood friend, but he left the North estate four years ago to try and build a better life for himself.

There are Post-Reduction settlements, you see, where non-Reduced people live free of Luddite interference/persecution/enslavement.

Elliot was meant to go with him, but she was all that stood between her dangerously idiotic father and the people, both Reduced and Post Reduction, who depended on her family’s estate for their survival.

So she did not go.

But he has never left her thoughts.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a deliciously painful story of love and loss, of misunderstanding, of evil in the world and triumph over that evil. It’s a story of hope and adventure. And it’s also a cautionary tale that details the dangers of two very different extremes.

This is the third time I’ve read this book, and I’ve loved it a little more each time. For Darkness Shows the Stars is one of those rare books that I unreservedly recommend to EVERYONE.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.


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70 responses to “Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (@jessicadhaluska, @dpeterfreund)

  1. Guess what, Persuasion is actually my favorite Austen books, so I have read it a few times. My favorite movie version is the 1994 (I believe that is the year) version with Ciaran Hinds!

    I am not sure if I am ready for a futuristic Persuasion but it has sort of peaked my interest. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…Review of Dead Sexy Dragon

    • HA. Isn’t it funny how two different people can both love something so much, but for completely different reasons?

      Sorry this one isn’t for you, but it’s good that you know that 😉

  2. Pili from In Love With  

    Happy New Year Jessica!! Glad to see you back to reviewing!!

    I also adored For Darkness Shows The Stars and I had read Persuasion and actually read it again after reading FDSTS, and maybe it is sacrilege but… I liked this version BEST! Shhhh, don’t bonk me in the head please!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #76!!

    • *waves back* Yeah, I had some stuff . . . glad to be back though 😉

      And I’M SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT TOO! Seriously, it’s one of only a handful of books that I want THE WHOLE WORLD to read.

  3. YEAH JESSICA!!!! This is on my shelf of favorites too, I just adored it. I hadn’t read Persuasion prior to picking this up either, and now I definitely want to. This version of it just blew me away. It shattered my heart into little pieces and then slowly stitched it back together. SO GOOD! *high five for rereads*

    • Jane Austen means that after some difficulty, and a few misunderstandings, people live HEA, and they live HEA in a lovely world . . . that defies description, LOL. I’ve tried for several min. to describe it adequately, but everything I’ve come up with sounds terribly boring. *snickers* It’s not 😉 I hope you read her someday, Lola.

  4. Roro  

    ”There’s good news though. Chances are you haven’t read Persuasion either. In fact, a lot of you are probably wondering why I’m blathering on about Jane Austen to begin with . . .
    YEP. Thought so.”” Haha , I’ve never read any Austen book or movie . My only Austen media I voraciously consumed was the lizzy bennet diaries. #DoNt Hurt me

    Even though I’ve not read any Austen book , this one has been on my wish list since 2012. I know , I know strange right. I think I’m getting it with birthday money. My 23th birthday is in May ( I’ll be 23 yr old gay man, eeeep )

    Lovely review, jessica. Mega hugs from me

    • I LOVE THE LIZZY BENNET DIARIES!! I practically binge-watched ALL of the episodes over ONE long weekend, and had epic twitter updates/discussions with a few other lovers-of-lizzy-bennet!

      And I wish I had know this was on your wishlist. It went on sale for $1.99 a couple of times right before Christmas, and I would’ve let you know. Oh well. If it happened once, it’ll happen again 😉

      And man, I remember being 23 . . . it’s a golden age. Really, 23-25 you’re old enough to do really cool things, and smart enough to stay (mostly) out of trouble . . . Lucky you, Ro *hugs back*

    • You’re in luck, b/c this is a standalone! There is another book in the “series,” but it’s from a completely different POV, in a completely different part of the world, and it’s a retelling of different classic as well 😉

  5. You know you had me hooked at Jane Austen, right? And I am one of the few (?) who have read Persuasion. I love JA. 🙂 How have I not heard of this book before?!? I don’t know the answer to that. But I DO know that I’ll be picking it up. As soon as possible. Thanks for putting it (yet another book!) on my radar, Jessica! And I’m glad you’re back. <3
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**#COYER Review ~ Seven Sons ~ LIli St. Germain**

    • Thanks, Brandee–glad to be back! And ZOMG, if I’d know you hadn’t read this one (AND that you love Jane Austen), I would’ve sent you an email when it was on sale for like two dollars before Christmas! *snickers* KA and Jane Austen . . . such diversity between us 😉

  6. I too am a Jane Austen freak and thrill to read the originals, read the fan fiction and watch the movies as much as I can. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen book which should mean that I’ve read this one, but shamefully I have not.

    I’m so glad its a good one and I will read it. 😉
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Review: Marked by Rebecca Zanetti

    • LOL, yeah. You’ll either love it or hate. Here’s hoping you LOVE it 😉 Peterfreund’s spin really is an original one, and it’s cool how she incorporated legit history into the whole affair–Luddites are real, tech-shunning people. Or were, anyway. I don’t know if they still exist, but they did in Industrial England. Anyway, yeah, hope you like it!

  7. JESSSSSSSS. It’s been so long since I’ve read/commented on a review by you! It made me so happy to read it especially since it was a review for a book I wholeheartedly adored as well! Although seriously, get on Persuasion. It’s important you do so!

    I must admit that I hadn’t read Persuasion either when I first read this book but because I had loved it so much, I decided to read Persuasion too and I loved it to death. So cute. Plus it was nice connecting the dots between the retelling and the original! 😀

    Fantastic review, hon <3
    Rashika recently posted…Series Talk: The Addicted Trilogy

  8. Glad to see you’re back <3 Because you are, are you not? Anyhow, haha, I wasn't surprised to see how much you raved about this book in your review, for you had mentioned how much you loved this book to me some months ago and I had not forgotten. Must say that I am curious, but will read Persuasion first so I can compare. Wonderful honest review, Jessica 😀
    Lola recently posted…Review: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

  9. I am one of those people who has not read any Jane Austen (I’m terrible, I know) but I really want to read this! I’ve seen so many good reviews of it and it sounds so interesting! Plus, you having read it three times now is as good a recomendation as any 😀
    Bec recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [48]

  10. Wow, Jessica! You’ve really sold me on this one. I had it out from the library once but kept putting it off until it was time for it to go back. Such a shame because it sounds amazing! The fact that you’ve read it three times and still love it is a sure sign it’s an amazing read. Going to try and read it sometime soon!
    Alise recently posted…Review: Of Scars and Stardust – Andrea Hannah

    • You know, I was actually thinking about that during my reread this time–that the beginning was a bit slow for me the first time. It does pick WAY up though, so I’d definitely recommend giving it another shot.

    • Yes, that would definitely help. Or not, LOL. That’s what convinced that this was a stellar retelling despite not having read Persuasion myself–that even die-hard fans of the original loved it, b/c I don’t know about you, but when I love something, and someone messes with it . . . it had better be pretty dang amazing, or it does not fly o.O

    • Love, love LOVED it. And one day I will read Persuasion also, and I know I’ll love it too. I’ve had a strange reluctance to read classics since college b/c English major, LOL. I’ll get over it eventually though 😉