Date of Publication: June 12 2014
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.
First and foremost, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a slow burn. It will take quite some time for the story to unravel, and the story lacks the complexity to warrant this book's quite lengthy page count. However, I am known to prefer longer reads with details, and this one skirted the fine line between dull and savoury.
The world is the future, far after humans begin to alter their own genes. The setting is a dystopia: Luddites, those descendants of the people that refused genetic manipulation rule over estates and all the Reduced and Posts within then. The Reduced are the children of those that experimented, and they seem to have sorts of mental disabilities. The Posts are the very few children of Reduced that are born like people of the past again. They are akin to Luddites in all but station.
Naturally, this star crossed story mostly centres around a Luddite, Elliot. Elliot North is the type of character I'd love to be friends with in real life. Elliot is determined, strong and she is always does what is her duty. I respect that because she ends up having to make some sacrifices. Elliot is the rare character that doesn't give everything up for a boy, and I admired her.
Her story, told by Peterfreund, took quite some time to get going. There were letters back and forth between her childhood friend and the one that got away, Kai, a Post. There was a great deal of narration and description which ended up explaining the world, and the well rounded characters within it.
The actual plot is underwhelming. It's full of tension and an interesting cast is created but they don't do very much. If it weren't for liking Elliot, I wouldn't have ended up finishing For Darkness Shows the Stars because the plot is almost nonexistent. And so, if you always need a strong plot, I would not recommend this story to you. Its charm is in the characterization and setting.
I suppose the writing is nice too. It's very hypnotic and full of little thoughtful moments that really explain the differences that exist between classes in a society. Although the plot wasn't enthralling, the writing was very readable and I comfortably fell into the flow of reading.
Now, I mentioned that there was great characterization, like Elliott and the people around her (being vague to avoid spoilers) but the one thing there wasn't was a character that really ever stole the slow. Elliot was good, and no one ended up being great.
The ending was fine. It closed the story, and I don't understand why the author wrote a sequel when this sort of ending works well. You could easily read For Darkness Shows the Stars as a standalone. Overall, it's a good read. I feel like it could have had the potential to be so much more, and the plot wasn't impressive in the slightest, which is why this book gets 3 stars. I liked it.