Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

How Excited Was I To Read For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund? I was excited because this was my first time borrowing a kindle book from the library – surprisingly easy! Nervous because it was an updated – possibly sci fi – take on one of my favorite books, Persuasion.

Book Rating: 4/5. Extra points for realizing its inspirational source material is the best. Minus because, well, it’s not my favorite ever, so far far worse than the original – and parts of it made me like the original less! Sad!

Book Jacket: 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.

Book Review: Well as mentioned above, I love Persuasion. One of my favorite books of all time. And the 1995 movie… oh my goodness. Don’t get me started on the more recent 2007 BBC version. Rupert Penry-Jones is beautiful and all, but he’s maybe too pretty? Too blonde? Don’t shoot the messenger! And Sally Hawkins, whom I have loved elsewhere, is so breathy and crying. Repeatedly. Anne Elliot was stoic! And the ending! Running through the streets? Gah!

See? This picture sums up the 2007 movie in a nutshell. Breathy, pretty man, probably about to cry.








 I mean, I obviously still own the 2007 version. But authenticity, thy name is Ciarin-Hinds-Amanda-Root-Persuasion-circa-1995!










So this update. What would I think? Put Persuasion in the future? Insert major societal politics? Dystopia? Who knows?

I held off for a long time. I felt it was safest. But then I couldn’t resist. Emma has been remade in the awesome form of Clueless. Pride and Prejudice – I can’t even begin to count the modern interpretations, but let’s name the classic and go with Bridget Jones. I would have preferred to see a modern take on Persuasion (is there one? if so, please somebody point me towards it!) but maybe Persuasion is more than any other driven by the time and place and essentially immune to updates.

Which would explain why Peterfreund felt she had to transport us to an unrecognizable future, and recreate an estates/lords/caste system for her setting.

IN ANY EVENT, Elliot is an awesome main character. I loved her. Everyone should love her. And when I say ”everyone,” I’m lookin’ at you, Kai. She is perhaps too good. I don’t know Anne Elliot necessarily needed a kick-a** social justice streak to be loveable. But that is just one issue.

My main problem with the modern day characters was Kai. He was really very mean. That’s not to say this book didn’t have a happy ending. An update of a Jane Austen novel - how could it not? But at times it was a little uncomfortable. I think our heroes feet of clay got a little muddied in the process.

Nonetheless, I raced through this book. On a work trip. Not the wisest move, but I had fun. So take my complaints with a grain of salt. 

Also, this book is kinda weird. Quinn, you won’t like it :)

If you enjoy this book, you should also check out: Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, etc. etc.