Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Notes: "For Darkness Shows the Stars", by Diana Peterfreund

The reason I read this book is that it was described to me as "a YA/sci-fi version of Jane Austen's Persuasion".  And I? Love both Jane Austen and science fiction.

"For Darkness Shows the Stars" didn't disappoint me.

Now, to be clear, I read this on vacation, when I was disposed to like everything I read just because I was so happy. (Being up in the Sierra Nevada will do that to me.)  But I don't think I was too prejudiced.

Peterfreund did a good job of lifting the main interpersonal plot points of "Persuasion" and transporting them into a new world, all of her own building. (Though, I think I recognize New Zealand as the geographical basis for the post-apocalyptic landscape?) I did think it was a little odd that, even with the new belief system she develops for the denizens of her new world, that there is little trace of Christianity or any other major world religions post-disaster. I think beliefs are more persistent than that, so my credulity was strained at that point.

But I enjoyed reading about how she envisioned society re-stratifying itself after a disaster, and the way those who weren't satisfied with the new order subtly rebelled. And the way she named her characters was so fun. :)

My one last quibble was that I felt a bit cheated on the world-building. It's not that the world-building wasn't good - it was; in fact, it was fascinating. But I'm used to sci-fi or fantasy books where the authors explain it all by the end, and at the end of this book, the nature of the apocalypse was left unexplained.

That might be realistic - how often in real life to we get complete explanations for world events? - but as a reader, it left me unsatisfied.

However, two mitigating factors:
1) The romantic thread came full circle, and I found it satisfying.
2) Apparently, there's a sequel.

So, I'm hopeful that more of the nature of the apocalypse that caused the situation will be explained in the sequel. It's on my reading list, and I'm looking forward to getting it.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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