For Darkness Shows the Stars
By Diana Peterfreund
June 12, 2012
Balzer & Bray
I never thought I’d say this, but what a way to introduce myself to the world of Jane Austen by NOT reading a Jane Austen novel. Somehow I feel like less of a woman by saying this but I have never read a single Jane Austen book before – *Ducks from flying rocks!* Thanks to Diana Peterfreund and her unforgettable story I think a trip to the Classics section in my local bookstore is in order. For Darkness Shows the Starsfirst came onto my radar through my good friend and owner of this very blog – Jenna DeTrapani! Have any of you ever received that tingling, butterfly-flapping feeling in your stomach when you come across a book that you know is going to be something really special? – No? Just me then? Alright, I’m weird. But that’s the feeling I got when this book was introduced to me. What blew me away more than anything was the title. I absolutely love the hidden meaning behind it – love it, I say!
The plot is a futuristic, sci-fi interpretation of the classic Jane Austen novel, Persuasion. Because of this fact it’s different than any other book I’ve read before. Instead of heart pounding adventure, suspenseful action, wild fights, and passionate romance this story is fueled by word banter, accidental brushes of skin, distanced glances, and intense emotion. I am once again blown away by the world Peterfreund has created and the great message that’s intertwined through each word and phrase. It’s a revolutionary tale about a large band of people fighting against their labeled caste system. Striving for freedom from prejudice, injustice, and persecution. And at the heart of everything is the tale of forbidden love between two individuals who, in the eyes of society, were born to hate each other.
FDSTS has an amazing cast of characters. The heroine of this novel is, beyond any doubt, a true hero. All other literary heroines should bow down at her feet. Elliot North truly understands the meaning of selflessness, hard work, love, and sacrifice. Malakai Wentforth is a difficult man to love but also a difficult man to hate. He is vicious and cruel but even the most casual observer can see that his actions come as a result of a broken heart. It’s very hard to hate a man when all you want to do is take him into your arms, give him a hug, and tell him everything is going to be OK.
The setting is clever, unique, and a lot of fun to figure out. Although this book is based in the future the reader feels they’ve gone back in time. And seeing as how majority of the world has an abhorrence to technology it makes sense why that is the case. Peterfreund doesn’t actually come out and say how far into the future the story takes place but she does make references to the past and it’s entertaining to try and guess what the year is. The pacing of the tale can, at times, be a little slow but by no means does it make the story dull. Another sign that you’ve found a gem of a novel is when you have a difficult time putting the book down. If I ever came across a slow patch in the story I’d set the book aside to rejuvenate but two minutes later the book was back in my hands again. The style is also very clever, unique, and it tugs at your heartstrings. The story is told through an alteration between Elliot’s POV and childhood letters between Elliot and Malakia. The letters are so sweet and you really grasp a sense of just how close these two star-crossed lovers were before things took a turn for the worst.
In the end, all I can say is when I finished For Darkness Shows the Stars, I felt a gaping hole was left in my heart and I paced around my house for days trying to get my life back in order. This story will definitely leave a lasting impression.
BUT WAIT! A word of advice for each of you! I highly recommend that before you begin this story you visit the author’s website and read the free, 60 page prologue. This will definitely help you understand the character of Malakai and why he is the way he is in FDSTS. It will make it easier to understand and accept his rudeness and love him in spite of it.
Enjoy! And happy reading.
Plot: 10 (Emotional, distinctive, great message)
Characters: 10 (Long-lasting and admirable)
Setting: 10 (Clever, different, and well thought out)
Pacing: 9 (Occasionally slow, but doesn’t deter the progression of the story)
Style: 10 (Smart way to show the strong connection between two characters)