Published by Balzer + Bray Genres: Fantasy
BOOK: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
WHICH CLASSIC: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Set in a slightly dystopian future when an attempt to enhance human genetics led to a massive dying out of the human race, the divide here isn’t noble versus peasant — it’s Luddites (those who refused the modifications) versus the Reduced (those who destroyed their genetic code and doomed their children to diminished IQs and mental capacities). But after a few generations, children of the Reduced are bouncing back, once more the mental equals of the Luddites (who don’t see it that way).
BEST CLASSIC MOMENT: That letter. You know the one.
“I can wait in silence no longer, but I’m afraid I’m already too late. I am trapped between agony and hope—believing I have no right to speak, but knowing more how much I’d regret it if I did not. Tell me I’m not wrong. Tell me that, this time, you will accept my offer. Because I’m making it again. I want you with me, Elliot. It’s all I have ever wanted. I offer you everything I have—my world, my ship, my self—perhaps they will be enough to replace what I know you would be giving up if you came with me. . . Come with me, Elliot. I have wanted to ask you for weeks, but I have waited, out of fear and doubt and the belief that it’s nothing but my own selfishness that wants you with me. I wrestled with this, and chance after chance passed me by. I can’t afford to lose this one.Please accept. This time, please accept.And please believe that no matter what, I am, ever,YourKai”
HOW IT STACKS UP: Excellent.
Persuasion is a novel that I first read in high school and didn’t like. It was fine, but at 17, I didn’t fully grasp the emotions driving the story. It’s a story you appreciate more as you get older, I have found. What Peterfreund does in For Darkness Shows the Stars, though, is make that story a bit more appealing to a younger audience, which I think was needed. The sci-fi/fantasy feel gives the revamped story a freshness that I think the novel also benefits from.
The characters are all wonderfully drawn and wonderfully adapted. The book is beautifully written. The newly imagined world never feels forced. But while the setting is very modern, the raw emotions and lost love and soaring hope of seconds chances is all Austen, and it’s a perfect balance.