Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Hangover: FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund

YA Science Fiction Romance
398 pages, hardcover
Available now (June 12, 2012)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review copy received from author (via BEA)

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, 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.

You know that gaping emptiness when you finish a book, an emptiness that seems will never be filled by another story? One that makes you stare off into space, absently brushing your fingers across the cover of the book as if you could magically dive back into that world and be deeply involved yet again with those people and their lives? Yes. This. This book did it to me. 

Credit
I wasn't actually expecting to love it as much as I did or to get as caught up in the story and the lives of Elliot and her Kai. But I was dragged into the world, sucked down the rabbit hole, so to speak. The relationship between Elliot and Kai (or Captain Malakai Wentforth, as he is later known) is one that spans the deep divide between their classes, one that--while broken temporarily--transcends the bigotry and prejudice of their small world. Told through a series of notes passed between the two as children and through Elliot's eyes when Kai returns to the estate, their relationship is both heartbreaking and beautifully rendered, much like Jane Austen's PERSUASION, the story upon which FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is inspired.

Then there's the world Diana Peterfreund created for her characters. First, there was the apocalypse brought on by the foibles of humans believing they could play God, muck about with DNA (including human), and create new and "better" species. Destruction followed, again by humans as those called the Lost set about to destroy everything they created to prevent anyone from getting their hands on it and to erase their dreadful and disastrous mistakes. But the Luddites survived, hiding away underground for years and avoiding all so-called advancements of the Lost. So did the Reduced, products of the Lost's unGodly experiments.

Fast-forward to this story's present day. While the childlike Reduced still survive, many of their children are "Posts"--people who no longer suffer from the genetic defects of their parents and grandparents. In the caste system that emerged by necessity in the post-apocalyptic world, the Luddites ran things and the Reduced were the mindless workforce. As Children of the Reduced were born, the Luddites accepted them but still treated them as lesser, much like indentured servants, bound to the estates with the Luddites in control. But the world is changing yet again and Posts are coming into their own.

Elliot is a member of the Luddites and daughter to the powerful Baron North while Kai is a Post, the son of a Reduced woman who belonged to the North estate. A star-crossed love if there ever was one. But this is not a tale filled with action and adventure, wild fights or impassioned outpourings. Its pace brings to mind that of Austen's stories, relationships told through side-long glances, delicate brushes of skin, innuendo, and wordplay. Fabulous. (And now I want to re-read some Jane Austen--or maybe watch Pride and Prejudice with the adorably awkward Mr. Darcy.)

23 comments:

  1. Wow, this sounds like a must read! And I will assuming that my box of books arrives safely (cross fingers!).

    Where did you find that quote that you have up there? Do you follow that tumblr site already?

    I totally know the feeling when you wander aimlessly after finishing a book, thinking that nothing can ever be as good.

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    1. Actually, I found the quote and then the Tumblr through Pinterest. (Ah, Pinterest. My addiction.)

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  2. I also loved this book. I love the world and the characters that drive it. The book also left me hankering for some Jane Austen. I'd read Persuasion before but couldn't remember it when I started For Darkness Shows the Stars. I'll probably start with that :)

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    1. Yay! I couldn't remember Persuasion either but it came back as I read this book. Still, I really need to re-read it.

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  3. I think Jenny reviewed this book awhile back and I was intrigued, and now I am doubly so! I always like a book that creates a hangover. :)

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    1. She did--one of the reasons I was so excited about it. I do love a book hangover, too.

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  4. YAY YAY YAY YAY MARY!!!! I was all nervous when you picked this one up at BEA-- since I completely gushed to you about it I was worried you would be like "what is she smoking?" So glad you loved it as much as I did, and I completely agree with you on the emptiness, I couldn't pick up another book for a couple days after reading this one. *does happy dance because you loved it*

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    1. Girl, you were smoking the GOOOOOD stuff when you recommended this one. *joins you in the happy dance*

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  5. Omg this sounds absolutely amazing!! And the reviews all sem very similarly passionate lately I gotta get this book! Wonderful review, chicky! It sounds like a fabulous world and great characters! <3

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    1. Read it! Read it! (God, I hope you like it...)

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  6. I have this book pre-ordered and I'm SO excited to start reading it! I loved that it's based of Persuasion too! The world, the characters, and the romance just sound fantastic!

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    1. Ooh, I hope you do love it, too. The Persuasion influence is subtle but woven throughout.

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  7. A friend told me about this last week, and I'm super intrigued. Especially after such a review...Definitely on my To Read SOON list! :o)

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  8. I know exactly what you mean on the gaping hole front. One of the first series I truly loved, I was about 8 when I finished it, I can still remember crying at school because I wouldn't get to spend time with those characters anymore!

    Sounds like a great book!

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    1. Aw! That's a fantastic early bookworm story (even though you did cry...sorry about that).

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  9. Jane Austen meets scifi? Sounds incredible!! Glad to hear it lives up, too. Loved your review, and thank you for sharing your thoughts! We're gonna try and get our hands on this one asap... ;)

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    1. Oh, yes! Get your hands on it--I really think you'll love it.

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  10. Book hangover?!?!? I haven't had one of those in FOREVER!!! Lol! Like you though, I honestly wasn't expecting this book to be the one to do it for you, Mary. But I'm glad to hear it did! Have you read the prequel novella? I think it's free on e-book now. I have it on my iPad. Maybe I'll give it a shot and see how I feel!

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    1. I know, right? I've read some good books but this one...I don't know. It just clicked (I so wasn't thinking it would be the one to do it either!!). And I'll definitely have to check out the prequel--thanks for the tip!

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  11. I am totally blaming you for making me rush over to Amazon to order this book just now. I can't wait for it to arrive on Thursday! You completely sold me with your review. :) Yayyyyyyy, I'm excited for it to arrive!

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  12. I really liked this one too! Not as much as you but I did like it. I'm not really a fan of Jane Austen type romances so that was kind of hard for me but it was still a good story!

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  13. Absolutely stunning review. I've been longing for a book that would leave me with that exact feeling, completely ruined for any others that follow.

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