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.
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in a post-apocalyptic future. Can you say awesome? People have their Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I’ll take this over it any day. It’s the way a re-telling should be, enough of nods that you can tell its source material but different enough that you’re still interested.
I read Persuasion right before diving into this book because I wanted to be able to appreciate it more and I’m so glad I did! I like Anne Elliott’s gentle, sensible nature in Persuasion but I absolutely love Elliot’s stronger personality in this. She’s so caring to the point of self-sacrificing and she just tries so hard to maintain everything. It’s really tough being in her position, especially with her family, and I admire her tenacity so much. So when Kai reappears all shiny and hard lines, I wasn’t too keen on his remarks about her. However, Peterfreund wrote a prequel about him called Among the Nameless Stars that made me understand him more. Also, if you’ve read Persuasion, you’ll know about that moment that knocks you over sideways. Let’s just say Jane Austen can really write letters and Peterfreund captures the swoon seamlessly.
It’s not only the romance that makes this book great but also the questions it raises. It’s really creative the way Peterfreund incorporated the class differences by making them innate. In this post-apocalyptic world, people are divided into Luddites (the high society), Reduced, and Post-Reduced (Posts for short). Luddites are the natural humans and the Reduced are the descendants of people who used to science thinking they would be gods, only to have it backfire. I think it’s really interesting in regards to science vs. nature, humanity, &c, especially when Post-Reduced are add into the mix. Elliot is a Luddite while Kai is a Post, a class difference that persists with them. I wish I could see this explore a tad more in terms of the Posts we meet in the story but overall, I was satisfied.
For Darkness Shows the Stars is not merely a pretty cover but a glittering, tour de force that captures the essence of Austen. I really enjoy this one and I’ll be checking out Peterfreund’s other works for sure.
Sound: Feist – A Commotion
If it rips you all apart
The grudge has still got your heart
I think Feist’s album, Metals, can work for this romance in this novel because it has heartbreak, beautiful and subtle.