Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Thoughts - For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
published 6/31/12
406 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

In the dystopian future of For Darkness Shows the Stars, a genetic experiment has devastated humanity. In the aftermath, a new class system placed anti-technology Luddites in absolute power over vast estates; and any survivors living there.

Elliot North is a dutiful Luddite and a dutiful daughter who runs her father's estate. When the boy she loved, Kai, a servant, asked her to run away with him four years ago, she refused, although it broke her heart.

Now Kai is back. And while Elliot longs for a second chance with her first love, she knows it could mean betraying everything shes been raised to believe is right.

My thoughts -

Persuasion MIGHT be my favorite Jane Austen novel. I say this while admitting that it's been a few years since I've read any of them, but I remember it being as one of the best. So I was quite interested to see what Peterfreund would do with her retelling of this classic.

I'm happy to say it was satisfying on all levels. As an homage to Persuasion, fans of the original will find that the author has lovingly and respectfully repurposed Austen's story to create something familiar and yet delightfully new. Because while this is, clearly, a re-telling - done by someone who obviously loves her source material - this is also a novel that stands alone without difficulty.

Elliot is a complex and intriguing heroine, and the reader immediately both likes and respects her. She is painfully aware of her situation - she knows exactly what she has given up and why, and she isn't looking to weasle her way out of that decision. She is a fantastic character, and I really hope Peterfreund plans to continue her story.

There were a few small things that bugged me - Kai seemed almost unrelentingly cruel, and it seemed hard to reconcile his behavior with the letters he wrote to Elliot. The ending seemed a bit rushed - there were details that felt unresolved, and I would have appreciated a few more pages to flesh out some scenes. Extremely small quibbles in a great accomplishment, I found this novel to be a delight from start to finish.

With the proliferation of YA novels that contain questionable romantic relationships, I would not hesitate to recommend this to any teen girl. Elliot is a young woman to admire, and her handling of the difficult situations in the novel is excellent. But I don't think this is a novel just for young adults - while its main characters are young, it certainly contains enough depth to be of interest to a wide range of readers. I certainly recommend it - a fun, entertaining read with lots to think about and discuss.

Finished - 4/3/13
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - PG-13 for adult situations and some violence
My rating - 8/10

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I haven't read Persuasion yet, because I ration my Austen very carefully. But I bet it would be fun to read both back to back. You have convinced me that I need to give this one a try. It sounds excellent, and like something that I would really love! Nice job with this review today Elizabeth, you were very persuasive ;)