Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Stars Can Only Come Out When It's Darkest

"In spite of the darkness, 
in spite of the cold, 
in spite of the hostile ground where she sat, 
hope bloomed in Elliot's heart."
--Diana Peterfreund

Genre: YA Dystopia/Science Fiction
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 402 pages
Publication Date: June 12th, 2012

Goodreads Description

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.

Inspired by Jane Austen's persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

My Thoughts

Some of you know I work as a full-time RN and I work 7 days in a row for 10 hours each day. So I wake up at 5:30 am for 7 straight days. It is not fun. Not fun at all. Torture to wake up that early, to be honest. So here's the story. I finished a book on Sunday afternoon, the day before starting my 7 day stretch. Naturally, I consulted my TBR list on my phone, looked up a few on the library website, and off to the library I went. I came home with 4 books. One of them was For Darkness Shows the Stars. And I thought to myself, 'I've heard this was good, it's about 400 pages, this should last me a few days of my work week.'...

But then I started reading it...I'll give you the short end of it. I started this book at 5 pm and I did.not.stop. until I finished the novel in its entirety at 11:30 pm. Legitimately. Could not bear to put this book down. What, was I crazy?! I work the next 7 days at 5:30 am! How could I let myself stay up this late before day 1?! I'll tell you why. This book is amazing. I did not eat dinner. I did not pay attention to the world around me except to gush about this book on Twitter. I only got up twice to go to the bathroom. Holy. Crap. Beautiful does not BEGIN to describe my experience while reading.

First off. The title. Beautiful. Enchanting. I just love saying it. This is a title that you just KNOW is going to be good. You can't say that about many books. The title is poetry itself and the book is just the same. There are a lot of books that I like. There are a lot of books that I love. There are a lot of books that I obsess over. There are few books that tear at my soul in a good way. And there are a few books that make my chest physically ache because of the emotions I feel for the characters. This book made my heart hurt. In a good way :) The emotional journey and angst these characters go through is just, oh my gosh. I almost immediately felt in tune with Elliot's inner turmoil. Elliot. Oh goodness, where do I begin? She is an amazing character. So strong. So independent. So mature. She takes care of everyone around her so selflessly that you want so badly for her to choose herself for once and be happy.

And as much as I love her...there were many times when I wanted to just wring her neck! The dynamic between her and Kai was so emotionally painful at times I wanted to scream. The longing, the loneliness, the angst, I felt it all. I wanted to yell at them both, JUST STOP BEING SO STUBBORN AND TALK ALREADY!! I really liked Kai, but his character was very trying for me at times. It made the story what it was, but still...does not make for a very happy reader sometimes. 

The characterization of Elliot and Kai was done so well. I almost immediately could see the world and choices they each made from their perspective. I could feel the pain they both felt at the choices the other one made and I just wish they would have been able to empathize with each other sooner. Elliot had so many responsibility and people depending on her, it says a lot about her character (pun intended) that she would choose duty over her own happiness. Kai made difficulty choices too though. He left. Sometimes that is even harder than staying. They both are such strong individuals that it made reading about them that much more enjoyable. They were easy to relate to. They were real. People in real life have to make hard choices and these characters did just that. Not easy.

The entire world that Peterfreund created was so dark and creepy. The idea of an entire population of people who were Reduced was so unique and gothic. Totally twisted and bizarre. The whole idea of science and genetic advancement creating such a world leads to so much debate about faith vs science, it was just brilliant. How ignorant some of the character's could be about medicine and technology was just out of this world, literally. It just made me realize how obstinate and ignorant people could be when confronted with things they don't understand. You could apply the themes in this book to so many moral issues today it is incredible. This book is so smart and opens up so many lines of discussion of science and how far it too far, etc..

I loved that this was a re-creation of Jane Austen's Persuasion. After about 130 pages I realized I need to officially read all of Austen's novels. Thus far, I have only read Pride and Prejudice, and while I LOVE it, I have no idea why I never read any of her other novels...strange. But seriously. I loved this book. The writing is beyond beautiful. The themes are smart. The characters relatable. I just cannot say enough good things about this book. Love love love. Go read it if you have not yet :)

1 comment:

  1. YAY!! I've been slightly hesitant to read this, but you've fully convinced me! I love when you goet so hooked on a book you just NEED TO FINISH IT! Also: I feel your pain, I get up at 6AM most days.
    And YES, you absolutely need to read ALL of Austen's books!! Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite, I absolutely LOVED Emma as well, the only one I haven't read is Mansfield Park because people don't seem to like it very much.
    I also occasionally yell at characters when they need to communicate ;)


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