For Darkness Shows the Stars

by Diana Peterfreund

Cover Beauty Score: 8 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 5 out of 5

Plot Blurb: A loose interpretation of Jane Austen's novel entitled Persuasion. It follows the story of a young girl named Elliot North and her struggles to keep her family's estate afloat amidst hardships in production. This is set in a post-apocalyptic reality of the world where human's needs to progress and alter genetics have led to something called the Reduction. Aka, the offspring of the genetically enhanced humans came out mentally challenged. Elliot's story takes place a few generations into this new reality where her family kept the human's alive and flourishing because they rejected technology (we can only assume they were Amish or something back when societies flourished). And of course the love story... her friend Kai from childhood asked her run away with him to escape her overbearing father and the strict rules of their society. She didn't, choosing to remain home and look after her people, and four years later Kai returns, a wealthy explorer with a big secret.

My reaction: Do you hear that? That contented sigh of relief? That would be me, happy to have found a book that re-establishes my faith in the YA genre as a whole. Being on my Austen adaptations kick of late, I really wasn't expecting much from this. But I was incredibly surprised and excited to get a book that knocked my socks off. The writing was fresh and honestly captivating and the author managed to retain the essence of the original Austen story! How lovely! The book had some very pretty writing, with lots of imagery, but she did so without overpowering it with poetic dribble. Although I enjoy poetic dribble every once in a while, it wouldn't have seemed right with these characters.

Kai, as a hero, is fabulous. I'm a sucker for the wounded silent types, and Captain Wentworth has always been one of my favorite Austen men. I feel like the author did an excellent job transferring him over to a teen hero, all without compromising the way he changes and grows as a human (genetic enhancements aside). So many authors these days think they can just name the characters the same and arrange them similarly to the original book and that creates a justifiable modern adaptation. I'm sorry, but no. They should take a page out of Peterfreund's book... it's the change in the characters that the readers fall in love with. It's their journey that we want to read!

I would argue that the original Miss Elliot in Austen's Persuasion was a bit more helpless at times and almost self-pitying. But it was a slight change to make Elliot more of a go-getter... it was a fabulous way to modernize her and make us fall in love with the character herself. I completely identified with her and loved her interactions with her childhood sweetheart! She had such gumption that it was falling right out of my kindle (definitely will be buying this one in paperback for my library thought).

So overall, I HIGHLY recommend you go out and pick this one up. You won't be disappointed... I promise. Seriously, the only think I can say bad about it is that it was a YA novel with not enough of the smooching I like. I would LOVE to have read this in an adult romance format... I feel like Elliot and Kai didn't get enough loving on each other when they worked everything out! But oddly enough, that's how I always feel at the end of Persuasion, anyways.

Excuse me while I go re-watch my movie versions and squeal in joy over one of the most adorable love stories ever created. And then maybe I'll move on to another of Mrs. Peterfreund's fabulous books.

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