Monday, October 01, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Growing up on her family's estate, Elliot North has always known her destiny -- as part of the "luddite" class, she will take care of her family's land and of the servants that tend it.  Most servants are the "reduced" -- descendents of genetic experimentation gone wrong -- who remain childlike and unable to speak, while a select few are "Posts" or "post-reductionists" -- children of the reduced who are born with the same intelligence as the luddites.

Four years before the start of the novel, Elliot almost ran away her childhood sweetheart, Kai -- a Post whose family worked on her estate, but chose at the last minute to stay behind.  As the novel begins, Kai has now returned with the Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders who have rented some of the North estate to build a new type of vessel.

Based on Jane Austen's Persuasion, the story of Elliot and Kai is filled with romantic tension and misunderstandings, while Peterfreund's dystopian setting brings a new perspective to this classic and invites the reader into a thought-provoking new world. (Knowledge of Persuasion is in no way required to enjoy this updated version).

If you enjoy For Darkness Shows the Stars check out Peterfreund's earlier works (especially her Killer Unicorns series), other Jane Austen retellings such as Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken, Austenland by Shannon Hale, and Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster. And if you're intrigued by the concept of a classic novel in a science-fiction-y setting, check out Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn (a retelling of Jane Eyre).

Peterfreund's fans will be excited to read a prequel novella Among the Nameless Stars (currently available as a free pdf from the publisher's website)

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