Feb 242017

Post-Apocalyptic Jane Austen!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Persuasion Retelling, Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian

SETTING: A post-apocalyptic world, several generations after “The Reduction”


  • Elliot North: Only member of the North family that does any actual work. Cares for all who are dependent on the estate for survival.
  • Kai or Malakai Wentforth: Elliot’s childhood friend who ran away four years ago because he wanted more with his life than to be an indentured servant.
  • The Luddites: Social class of people who are wealthy, privileged, and own estates. They are pure and believe technology and genetic modification is what caused The Reduction.
  • The Reduced: Social class of people who are lowly and work as servants. They are considered fallen and helpless, and bear the sins of their ancestors.
  • Posts: Social class of people who have the same capabilities of the Luddites but were born from Reduced lineage. Still considered tainted by the Reduction and work as upper servants.


Times are getting tough. The North estate is struggling to survive and with many servants leaving and crop yields diminishing, the outlook is bleak. For years Elliot has been working on a secret project that could revolutionize the harvest, but the estate is saved from poverty and ruin by the Cloud Fleet organization, a group of free Posts who are explorers that want to rent land from the North estate. The extra income is just what they need to survive, but it comes at a price…Elliot’s childhood friend, Kai has returned and he still bitterly resents her for not running away with him four years ago.


  • An Inventive-Post Apocalyptic World: Wow, what an incredibly unique and compelling story! As someone who hasn’t read a lot of sci-fi or dystopian stories, I was not quite sure what to expect, and I was worried this might not be my cup of tea. But I am happy to say that I greatly enjoyed this post-apocalyptic story! I found myself very interested in this world with its tragic past and there are differing beliefs about technology and what is right and what is wrong.  I liked that it wasn’t too confusing to understand the parameters and history of this new world. And I think the author did a wonderful job providing detailed descriptions and explanations.
  • Creative and Clever Nods: I love how the author didn’t overtly take the plot and characters of Persuasion and transplant them all into her post-apocalyptic world. Instead her story has a lot of originality and is mostly of her own creation, just with slight nods and echoes to Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It was so refreshing to see all the subtle ways Ms. Peterfreund alluded to Jane Austen’s story and yet intertwined it with her own.
  • Letters and Memories: The present-day action of this story was enhanced by the inclusion of Elliot’s and Kai’s childhood letters to each other. These letters appeared at the beginning of chapters periodically and were written when Kai and Elliot were six to fourteen years of age. I loved learning about their past together, and I thought this was a very clever way to illustrate what important events took place in their young lives.


  • Morality and Blurred Lines: With times changing, many people are beginning to question the Protocols (the rules since the Reduction) – including Elliot. Elliot is at war over this issue, and sometimes seems to accept and welcome the advancing changes, but at other times is horrified and calls them an “abomination.” I don’t mind a character wavering or changing their mind, but this was such an important obstacle for our main character and I didn’t feel like she came to a clear resolution with it.
  • Friends vs. Lovers: Since our characters were childhood friends who were separated at age fourteen and reunited at age eighteen, the relationship between them often felt that of very good friends. And for me, it sometimes became hard to think of them as romantically involved because we didn’t see a lot of romance between them, but maybe that was because of their young age…


This story was well-crafted and engaging and I’d certainly recommend it to readers who regularly read stories in the sci-fi/dystopian genre. But I’d also recommend it to readers who, like me, have read hundreds of Austenesque novels and are looking to branch out and try something new and different. 🙂

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  14 Responses to “For Darkness Shows the Stars – Diana Peterfreund”


    I’ve been curious about this one. Glad to see you liked it!


    wow, a dystopian variation…


    Well it certainly is different! Not sure if I’m ready yet but you just never know! Thank you!


    I got to read it last fall and loved the creative setting and take on Persuasion. I was a bit nervous how that would mash-up, but it was pretty clever actually. 🙂


      It was seeing all the positive reviews from people like you, Sophie, that prompted me to finally give this book a try. 🙂 I’m really glad I did! It was fun stepping out of what is familiar and comfortable for a little bit!


    I love post-apocalyptic stories Meredith and I believe I’ve seen almost all tv shows that have this theme, but I’ve never ventured into literary post-apocalyptic stories (except with the Divergent series).
    I think it’s fascinating that an author managed to put Jane Austen’s characters in this scenario, and this looks like the perfect book for me :))) I was just a little put out about the lack of romance 🙁
    Thank you for sharing this with us.


      Thanks so much for checking out my review, Rita! 🙂 If you love this kind of genre, you definitely should give this book a try! I think you may love it! The author did such a great job entwining her world and Jane Austen’s! It may be my own preconceived notions about Persuasion that made me feel the romance was a little bereft. Persuasion makes me think of long lost loves and yearning. 🙂


    I first heard about this book on Sophia Rose’s TBR challenge on Goodreads last year when it was chosen as a group read. I wasn’t able to take part but managed to track down a second hand copy which I hope to read this year. Your review makes me want to read it even more, Meredith.

    I’m quite a sci-fi geek when I take my Janeite bonnet off, and have read and enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent books in the past year, plus seeing all of the films made so far. Post-apocalyptic tales are amongst the ones that I find fascinating. So it sounds as though this one will satisfy both types of my geekdom.


      Awesome! This book is so perfect for you! I hope you get the chance to read it soon! It is great how mash-ups can combine two totally separate interests. 🙂


    I read this so long ago that I can’t remember much. I do plan to reread it some day and then post a review. Your review was helpful in bringing back some of the memories of the tale.

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