For Darkness Shows the Stars is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, a novel which I have never read. The setting is dystopian and unusual, although not overly far-fetched. Genetic experiments have caused a population of Reduced, impaired humans. The Luddites are thought to have "saved" the population from further harm by essentially banning all technology or even the crossbreeding of plants. Elliot, the heroine of the novel, is a Luddite with strong post-reduction leanings. Kai is the hero of the novel and is a post reduction child (child that was born "normal" by those suffering from the reduction). Elliot and Kai have been close since childhood, but Kai becomes disgruntled with the way of life and leaves without Elliot, who refused to leave with him.
It is now years later and the plantation which Elliot runs for her family hosts a group of Post Reductionists who wish to build an elaborate ship. Kai happens to be a captain involved in the mission. Having not read Persuasion I can only gather than the romantic thread between Kai and Elliot follows the same pattern and offers few surprises. However, the setting and genetic alteration element added a fun look into the reactions such alterations would cause. The Luddites were essentially the highly religious element found in today's society and their reactions/comments regarding some things mirrored situations today, such as with stem cell research.
While the story is dystopian it had a strong historical feel to it. Due to the lack of technology you would be hard pressed to think it was farther into the future than today. Knowledge of other areas of the globe are also limited, leading to many to search for new places much like explorers hundreds of years ago.
Overall the story is well-written and enthralling. I thought the dystopian aspect was well executed and believable without being too heavy. The romantic element was engrossing and I loved getting to know the characters through their letters to one another and through Elliot's thoughts. Elliot was a very strong character that I could respect the choices of even if I was screaming at her to do otherwise. The romantic aspect I assume follows Persuasion, but even if the love storyline is known I think Persuasion fans would enjoy this novel as well.