Wednesday, June 25, 2014

For Darkness Shows the Stars

8306761For Darkness Shows the Stars will appeal to fans of Jane Austen.  It is a futuristic, dystopian retelling of Persuasion.  As far as everyone knows, the inhabitants on the two large islands they live on are the only survivors left in the world.  It is a couple generations since daring scientists/innovators tried to make themselves and all their followers into gods.  They replaced body parts with better working ones, tapped into the human brain to make it better, etc.  The result was catastrophic.  The Luddites (those who didn't embrace the technology), thought God punished them by Reducing them to little more than simple-minded people who couldn't take care of themselves.  It fell to the Luddites to care for and protect the Reduced.  In reality, the Reduced are now little more than slave labor to most Luddite lords.  A new generation (Children of the Reduced, or CORs) has been born unaffected by Reduction.  These Posts are starting to rebel against life on the estates, striking out to make lives of their own.

The story takes place on the North estate.  Eighteen year old Elliott North is left to make sure the farm and its inhabitants survive.  Her father is power hungry but has no sense of how to run a farm.  Her older sister doesn't want to have to get her hands dirty.  Elliott spends her days working the land and taking care of the Reduceds and Posts on her estate.  Her energy goes to convincing herself she didn't make a mistake four years earlier when she chose to stay on the farm instead of running off with Kai, the Post boy she grew up with and came to love.  One day the famous Cloud Fleet, a group of Post explorers, comes to rent out her grandfather's land in order to build a new ship for renowned captain Malakai Wentforth.  He turns out to be none other than her Kai, only he is very angry and hostile toward her.  The boy she knew is long gone, replaced by a man she almost doesn't recognize.  Can the two learn to be friends again, or did her decision to stay end all hope of any future?

For fans of Persuasion, you will know how the story goes, but it was still rather enjoyable.  I really liked Elliott.  She was a very strong and interesting character.  Between chapters there were letters from Elliott and Kai's youth that they had left for each other.  It was a lot of fun reading them and getting to know the younger versions of them.  It was a clever way of filling in back story while remaining in the present tense.  Baron North was a horrid individual.  I wanted to strangle him.  I hated seeing Elliott impotent under his reign.  There is a sequel I am very interested in reading.  I want to know what becomes of all the characters.  Even if you aren't a fan of dystopian, but are a Jane Austen fan, I think you will enjoy this story.  Happy reading!

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