August 27, 2012

Book Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfound

At First Sight: Many years ago, an experiment gone wrong - an event known as the Reduction - decimated the population and divided it into two classes: the Luddites - an equivalent to the aristocracy - and the CORs (Children of the Reduction) whose intelectual capacity was greatly diminished and they remain under the care of the Luddites and are often treated as slaves. 

The Luddites shun all type of technological advances, as they see technology as the source of the Reduction.

Elliot North is a Luddite and for her, life is all about her family's estate and her days are consumed with plots and plans to keep things afloat, not only for the comfort of her own family - her careless father Baron North and vain older sister Tatiana - but also to protect the workers, many of whom can't fend for themselves. 

If she ever thinks of another life - and of other people - she quickly squashes those thoughts away. Up until a desperate business venture puts Elliot in contact with the Cloud Fleet - a group of shipbuilders and explorers who aren't afraid of progress or technology - and Captain Malakai Wentforth.

Once upon a time, Elliot knew the Captain, only that back then his name was just Kai, and they loved each other... until Elliot chose her duty to the North estate over the love they shared. 

Second Glance: I was so looking forward to reading For Darkness Shows the Stars, the premise sounded pretty cool and I kind of liked that part of the story was inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. Plus, the cover was really pretty.

In the end, though, it was just a case of a pretty cover and a less than stellar book. 

The whole Persuasion thing? yeah, it was pretty faint, and the bulk of the story was a strange, not very well developed dystopian society where things didn't make much sense. What's more, you get thrown into the world without a word of explanation, so you read quite a bit before you get an inkling on what exactly Luddites, CORs and Posts are. Eventually it all makes sense, but I just didn't care by the time I got there. 

I didn't like Elliot or Kai, they were just meh, and their interactions often came off as fake. Also, they indulged in one of my bookish pet peeves where Character A asks Character B to do something, and B insists over and over that he/she just can't do it... only to turn around five pages from the end and do exactly what A asked them to do in chapter one. 

That was the last nail on the coffin of this book. 

Bottom Line: The nicest thing I can say about For Darkness Shows the Stars is that it has a really pretty cover (though the more I look at it, the girl's face does look a bit weird). The story had promise but it had a personality crisis, it didn't know if it was a re-telling or not, if it was historical or futuristic or dystopian or what. 

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