Author: Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
I have never read Jane Austen's Persuasion, so right off the bat I think I have a bit of a handicap as a reader. This novel is either a creative retelling of or a ode to the story. As I have no idea what Persuasion is about, that leaves me a bit at a loss to try to compare the two. So I will not.
On its own, it is a well written novel, though it is definitely heavily geared towards romance. I have never had a childhood friendship that blossomed into romantically inclined feelings that then got shattered, leaving you with the loss of your first love, so I don't exactly know how Elliot feels. Though I think she spends far too much time thinking about Kai, her lost love, other than her weepy romantic woes I actually found her a likable, strong female lead character. That is getting harder and harder to come by in YA fiction these days, so I have to go ahead and tip my hat to Peterfreund now for that. Elliot is compassionate where her father lacks. She works hard while her sister enjoys the benefits of being the oldest. And she cares for her ailing grandfather who has nothing left of his former self, not even his dignity. She straddles the fence, ever in moral conflict with herself between her traditional heritage and the future of her estate.
And not only does Peterfreund create a character I can almost relate to in a completely unrelatable world, but that world itself - dang. It is part steampunk, part dystopian, part repressed-slavary, part sci-fi, part post-apocalyptic... and all parts awesome. I almost wish it were more vivid, because I love this world in which Elliot lives. It's unlike any other that I have traveled to in between the pages of a book, and I want more. More, I say, more! While the plot may feel slow, and there isn't a whole lot of action/suspense, the subtle plot is still powerful and engaging with its characters. If the plot wasn't so heavily based on romance, this would definitely be one for my personal library. For those who love well written YA romance, this is definitely one to check out. I've got Across a Star-Swept Sea to start next.