by: Diana Peterfreund
It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic experiment that caused the Reduction. The Luddites, who despise innovation and technology, keep the Reduced on their estates as slaves.
Elliot North is the youngest daughter of the North estate. As a Luddite, she is born to social privilege. But, even so, the estate is near financial ruin. The Luddite's control is slipping as a new generation of children that are innovative and bright are born to the Reduced. Elliot's childhood friend, Kai, is one of these children. When Elliot does not run away with Kai to the Post enclave, she hears nothing from him for four years. And when he re-enters her life, it is obvious that much has changed.
My excitement for this book has been slowly building for months. I have not read Persuasion, the Jane Austen novel that inspired For Darkness Shows the Stars, but am a fan of Austen's other works. My anticipation was further built by the raving reviews that were popping up in my google reader and goodreads page.
I could not imagine a more satisfying story. I was up late into the night on a Friday, and spent a good portion of the day Saturday devouring every single page. Believe me when I say that I could not put this book down. And that is no small feat with a demanding two year old.
Combining the elements of a world torn apart by a disaster that decimated so much of the human race, with the classic story that Austen created, it was a match made in heaven for me. Though the story is not heavy on the elements surrounding the genetic experiment that lead to the ruin of humanity, there is enough to make me suspend disbelief to fill in the holes. And I have to admit that as the daughter of a botanist that works with genetically modified plants, I was very much cheering Elliot on. In fact, through the novel I was firmly in Elliot's court and never wavered in my support of everything that she did, even though at times her reasoning was flawed.
In regards to Kai, I have to say that his coldness to Elliot at times took my breath away. I think that this was very cleverly offset by the letters they secretly wrote to each other as children that were interspersed throughout the novel. It is obvious that both Elliot and Kai were hurt deeply by Kai's departure. And with each cutting remark, I was heartbroken for Elliot. I wanted to protect her and just shake Kai. And yet, I wanted Kai to understand and overcome his disappointment and grief, and just work it out!
This book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The eventual romance is one of the best that I've ever read and ranks right up there with my favorites. I'll happily admit to having a lump form in my throat several times, and even shedding a few tears at the end. A re-read of this story will definitely be in order very soon. If you haven't read For Darkness Shows the Stars, believe me when I tell you that it deserves to be next on your reading list.