Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Posted August 28, 2013 in Review / 5 Comments

For Darkness ShowsFor Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1)
By Diana Peterfreund
Published June 12th, 2012
Balzer + Bray
402 pages
Young Adult | Fantasy | Dystopian
Source: Library




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About the Book:

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 really need to find more books that are adaptations of classics.  Because I’m becoming a sucker for these types of books.  Jane Austen, who knew I loved you so much?!  I was picked up and not only swept away by this story but I was tossed into the air and thrashed back and forth like that cow from the “Twister” movie.


I was flying high on the breath taking dialogue, Elliot’s frustrations and her impossible decisions over her family, and the heartbreaking love story between her and Kai.  I’m just so sorry it took me so long to read this book!

Story / Tempo / World Building

To establish her world, Ms. Peterfreund uses old letters between Elliot, the estate owner’s daughter and Kai, one of the children on the estate who works in the barn on the farm equipment with his father.  Immediately from page one, I’m suckered into these sweet letters between a 6 year old Elliot and a 7 year old Kai as they describe their young lives and how different their lives are.  Back and forth between letters from the past that Elliot has saved and the actual story enfolding, we learn that, for simplicity sake, the dystopian feudal system is slowly crumbling around a now 18 year old Elliot.

To help save the estate, part of it is rented out to famous explorers who are building a new ship.  And front and center on this ship building crew is her long lost childhood friend, Kai.  And he’s none too happy to see Elliot after she refused to run away with him and leave the estate.

Back and forth, the past unfolds in letters while Elliot tries to understand this new Kai.  But that’s not all there is to this story.  There’s treachery in the form of politics, a small study of morality or what’s ultimately right and wrong, and finally there’s that ultimate “Spock-ism” – the needs of the many… do they outweigh your own needs and wants?  I think that’s the main crux of this story.  And you just don’t know how it’s going to end! 

It’s what kept me reading day and night, never putting the book down for too long.


I would be very surprised if any reader truly admits that they like Kai.  Elliot…  she’s my girl!  From the first teasing letter to Kai to how she takes care of her friend Ro, she is a smart, beautiful girl.  Young Kai, he was a sweetheart.  But new and improved Kai?  He’s nothing but bent and hurt and taking it out on the wrong people.  He doesn’t deserve Elliot’s attention.  Grrrrrrr! 

It’s pretty amazing when you can get so worked up about a book and it’s characters, as if they are real and you’re living right there with them.  That’s a sure sign of a good book for me. 

Oh, and yeah, there were supporting characters.  Yep, they were absolutely perfect.  Perfect, perfect, perfect… 

So I absolutely can’t wait to start Across a Star-Swept Sea, book two in the series (it really could be a stand alone book because it’s not a story continuation, it’s just written in the same world).  It’s an adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I just want to read MORE of Ms. Peterfreund’s writing!!!


By the way, every review should have a flying cow in it…


Diana Peterfreund

About the Author:

Diana Peterfreund has published eight novels for adults and teens, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series (Bantam Dell), the “killer unicorn novels” Rampant and Ascendant (Harper Teen), and For Darkness Shows the Stars, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. In addition, she’s written several critically acclaimed short stories and a variety of non-fiction essays about popular children’s literature. Diana lives in Washington D.C., with her family.

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Other Books in the Series

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About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of “happily ever after” books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It’s for her family’s sake. When not reading, she’s homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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5 responses to “Review: For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

  1. Nan

    I liked this book quite a bit, too, although it sounds as if you liked it a bit more.

    Another good retelling of a classic is Jane by April Lindner. I only gave it three stars on my first read, but it’s lingered in my head in a way that says it’s a true favorite.
    Nan recently posted…Review: A Spear of Summer Grass