What an absolutely gorgeous cover, am I right? It is absolutely perfect for the book, I don’t think it could be improved upon at all! For Darkness Shows the Stars is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Austen’s Persuasion. Having not read Persuasion, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. But as reluctant as I am to read retellings of books where I haven’t read the original, this was very worth it and did not disappoint.
Generations ago, genetic experiments caused most of the population to be Reduced. The only ones who escape call for drastic measures- which means banning most technology, bright fabrics, machinery, anything remotely new- and begin to call themselves Luddites.
Elliot North took charge of her family’s estate at a young age- what else could she do? Her mother died, her father is a useless, money spending lump, and her older sister is too busy flirting with the neighbors. For years she manages the estate and pushes away the heartbreak that started when her mother died and continued afterwards when her best friend and childhood love, Kai, left with no warning. Elliot is eighteen now, and preoccupied with managing the plantation and her secret, illegal genetic modification of wheat, with no time for love. Until Captain Malakai Wentforth shows up on her doorstep.
“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.”
(that last bit was from the Goodreads summary. I’m having some trouble lately with writing summaries for these books- they’re so abstract and hard for me to summarize. I’m considering converting entirely to GR summaries. Let me know what you think in the comments! :))
This book was amazing. The kind of book that you hug to your chest after you finish reading, the kind where the ending replays itself on a loop like an endless happy mix tape in your head. (did I really just reference a mix tape? Whoa.)
Let’s talk about the writing style for a moment. I enjoyed it a lot (and that’s huge, because writing style is big for me. I LOVE flowery prose) and it definitely fit with the fact that it was a retelling. I’m not saying that retellings always have to imitate the style of their originals, but I enjoy it when they do. The prose was very Jane Austen-esque and I absolutely loved it.
Elliot was great. I appreciate heriones like this, not necessarily overthrowing the regime with brute strength, but with their cunning wit and curiosity. Kai is perfect for her, it’s obvious from the beginning, but the finale is well worth waiting the whole novel for them to kiss already. (I sound like SUCH a teenage girl. But still.)
The world building obviously took second place to the romance, but that was something I wasn’t bothered by. It was clear enough that I wasn’t worried about the details. It wasn’t fuzzy, or confusing, it just wasn’t overly detailed, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I even got attached to the minor characters, especially Ro. She was so innocent and cute, yet brilliant in her own way. She was the character that really made me understand the Reduced, and connect with them. Without her, I might have been more annoyed by the whole “Reduced are servants” thing. I know, this book has servants in it. But they aren’t mistreated- they’re people who don’t have full mental capacity and literally can’t survive on their own. I believe the plantation owners take them in out of compassion, not want for laborers.
This is a must-read for fans of romance, especially anyone who loves Jane Austen!
Happy Reading, y’all!
P.S.- I met Diana at YALLFest (post on that very soon) and she was super sweet! She also told me there is a companion to this book coming out sometime next year or the year after (don’t remember) and I’m EXCITED.