For Darkness Shows the Stars

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For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

So I picked this book up as you know I will review anything Austen. I thought it was going to be about Pride and Prejudice as most are, but it surprised me and was about Persuasion instead.

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Persuasion was published in 1818 after Austen’s death, alongside Northanger Abbey. Out of all the Austen works, these two seem to have the least amount of fans and notice.

It is sad they don’t have more.

I have always found that strange as I love both of these novels.

Even though it isn’t as loved by people, Persuasion has had two films made of it and a lot of it is based on Austen’s feelings of her first love and a wish fulfillment of being reunited.

Anyways, just in case you’ve never heard of it (and as I have yet to work through it as I am still stuck on Emma) I think we need a quick review.

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Anne Elliot and Fredrick Wentworth fall in love. He asks her for her hand in marriage, but Anne’s father refuses. Anne is unsure and goes to a family friend for advice; as her mother is dead, her father lives in his own world, and her sisters don’t care. This family friend persuades her to say no as Anne is above him in station, Fredrick has no options for promotion (as his family can’t procure it), the likelihood of him dying and living Anne a penniless widow (as her father will leave her nothing) is very high, and the two are so young.

Hmm…

Anne goes to Fredrick and refuses, him becoming angry as he thinks it is just because of his lack of money and station. (In Anne’s defense the real thing that made her unsure was the stressing of him most likely being killed and her being left alone.)

Years pass, Anne has never seen Fredrick again or stopped loving him. She had other men interested, but refused them as she didn’t love them.

What has changed is the Elliot family fortune, her father and older sister have blown through their money so fast that they are being forced to let out their home to a sea Admiral. A Captain Admiral Croft and his wife, Mrs. Croft. Mrs. Croft who turns out to be Fredrick Wentworth’s sister!

Anne goes to stay with her sister, Mary Musgrove, for a while, while her other sister and father are staying in Bath, with Anne to join them later.

When she is staying with Mary, Fredrick Wentworth returns to visit his sister and husband. Now a Captain, he has also become extremely wealthy; having taken so many risks in the war that he excelled monetarily and was promoted. Captain Wentworth is searching for a wife, and is funny and kind to all; but Anne.

It appears that old hangups remain so. Will Wentworth and Anne be reunited? Will Wentworth marry another?

You have to read the book!

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So this science-fiction/Fantasy book takes place in the not too distant future…

Sorry, anyways…there were advancements in technology, so much that they were able to do DNA procedures to make your body excel in ways previously unimaginable, almost cyborg like.

These DNA procedures cause a war between people who believe this is not what God wants, and those who believe that the pursuit of science is the only answer. Unfortunately, they discover they did not know everything, as many of these experiments go wrong as people lose a majority of their faculties.

After wars, bombing, and a complete restructuring of the world they know, the people are divided into two groups: Luddites and the Reduced.

Like the class system in Metropolis.

Luddites are the royalty and own all the land, they care for the Reduced in a feudal system/slave system as the Reduced are tied to the land, but more extensively like slaves, yet not traded and sold as slaves are. Reduced are mutes, who aren’t in complete control of their faculties, need to be supervised, etc.

Recently, things have been shifting as there are “Reduced” who are born very intelligent, able to speak, often called “Children of the Reduced” or “CORs”, and “Post-Reduced” or “Posts” by themselves.

Our main character is Elliot North (Anne Elliot) a wealthy Luddite, one of the oldest Luddite families. She, her father, and sister have a farm; but it is going downhill as her father and sister don’t care about the people, the farm, long term care, but only themselves and what they want. For instance her father has cut down all their apple trees for a “better view” or destroyed Elliot’s planted field for a racetrack.

Elliot tries hard to keep things running, to take her mother’s place, but finds herself drowning in the debt her father and sister, Tatiana North, create. In fact, they have had to rent out her grandfather’s, Chancellor Boatwright, home and ship yard to a set of wealthy free Posts- Admiral Innovation, his wife Dr. Felicia Innovation and their crew: Captain Malakai Wentforth, Andromeda Phoenix, and Donovan Phoenix.

Not good

Elliot’s only solace is the barn, where she would work on her plans, and relive her memories with her old friend, the boy she loved, and Post; Kai. Since she has lost her field and all her months of hard work, nothing seems right. But there is plenty to do on a farm.

When the Innovations and their crew arrive, Elliot finds herself admiring and enjoying the company of the Innovations and the crewman Donovan. Andromeda doesn’t seem to like her one bit, although Elliot has no clue what she could have done to upset her. However, everything changes when she meets Captain Malakai Wentforth. It appears it is her old friend and love has returned-Kai (Captain Fredrick Wentworth).

Years ago the two forged a friendship, (despite her father’s constant striving to keep them apart), a friendship that turned into love. The two made plans to run away together, but in the end Elliot couldn’t do it. She knew she had to fulfill her promise to her mother and take care of the farm and the Posts. She wrote Kai a letter:

Dear Kai,

Please do not hate me. I couldn’t bear it if you hated me.

                      But I cannot go with you.

                      I thought I could. Last night, I thought everything was possible. I thought you were right, that there was nothing for me here, either. Mother’s dead, Grandfather’s locked in his own head, and you’re leaving. Why in the world should I stay? It was a beautiful dream. But outside your room, outside the barn, in the cold light of morning, I realized that was all it was. A dream. There is nothing for me here, but that doesn’t mean I am nothing to the North estate.

                     Today, when I was supposed to be packing, I wandered the estate. I watched the Posts in their little cottages, I watched the Reduced in the fields, and I thought about our lots in life.

                    We can’t escape who we are born to be, Kai. The Reduced are Reduced. They will always be Reduced. And I will always be a Luddite. I was born this way. I will die this way. I can’t turn my back on that. Luddites were handed a sacred trust-we are the caretakers of humanity. Without us, the world would have burned, and all mankind would have been destroyed. I cannot ignore that. I cannot forget who I am.

                    But you are not a Luddite.

                    That’s why I cannot go with you. And also why I can’t ask you to stay.

                     God be with you.

Yours,

Elliot

 Elliot’s feelings for Kai resurface but he wants nothing to do with her.

He is rude, cruel, cynical, and nasty around her. He spends a lot of time with their neighbors, the Groves-Horatio and his younger sister Olivia. Olivia has fallen for Kai, and to Elliot’s utter disappointment it looks like he feels the same way.

Noooo!

But Elliot cannot focus on that only as her long lost cousin, Benedict and air to the North estate, returns eager to regain control of the promised land, her grandfather grows more ill, and her father tries to engage her in even more power plays.

During one of her free moments, she joins Andromeda, Kai, Donovan, Olivia, and Horatio on an outing to the sea cliffs. Kai and Donovan jump from incredible distances, and Andromeda explains that they recognize the wind shifts because of their piloting expertise. As they continue, Elliot realizes something is not right.

When Olivia tries to do the jump, she falls and is horribly injured. While they try and help her, Elliot realizes that Kai is hiding a big secret, one that could destroy everything.

Not good

Once again Eliot finds herself at a fork in the road. Should she follow the man she loves? Or cling to her Luddite responsibilities.

***Spoiler Warning***

I thought it was pretty good story and interpretation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Having Wentworth as a slave/serf rather than lower standing put a completely new spin on the relationship.

I liked how in between the time of the novel, there were letters and notes their younger selves passed, giving us a view of how their relationship started.

Aw!

It doesn’t follow the book exactly, but the author did a good job in staying true to the core of the story, while at the same time doing her own thing.

Good job!

Now there are two things I didn’t like.

First, I didn’t like how the author inserted God to create conflict between those who wanted change and mutation and those who wanted things to remain the same. The insertion wasn’t really what bothered me as much as the author not really giving us a stand on how our main character felt. One of the laws is to not try to play with genetics as you are raising yourself for a a fall, messing with things you shouldn’t control, etc. As much as the main character struggles with her ideas and wondering if they are against God, we never see what her relationship to God is. Is she extremely devout? Who or What is her God? What exactly do they believe in their religion? She brings it up constantly, but we never really know why this is such an issue to her because the author chooses to ignore it. We never see her pray, attend church, do any type of worship, etc. In my opinion you either need to go all the way or just leave it out; no in-between.

The second thing that bothered me was how mean Kai was in this. I mean he was horribly cruel. Now in Persuasion she doesn’t really explain herself as to way she refuses him, so he draws his own conclusions. I this Kai knows! He knows that she needs to help care for the people! He knows how her father and sister are, and without Elliot they would be cruel, starve everyone, and run the whole farm down into the groumd! Yet even though he knows this, he is so horrible to her. I understand why the author made him that way, and it completely makes sense as to character to behave in such a way. But it makes it hard to read as he acts like a jerk, before he finally comes to his senses.

But otherwise I thought it was an excellent read and one of the better Austen reinterpretations on the market. I suggest you check it out for yourself.

For more on Persuasion, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more Persuasion variations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Don’t You Forget About Me

30 years ago, one of the best movies was released:

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Yep this baby.

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Now I know you all are thinking, but it says March 24, 1984. That’s the time in the movie, the film was actually released February 15, 1985.

This film was written by John Hughes in just two days and completely shot in sequence. What also is really interesting about this film is that Hughes actually allowed a lot of ab-libbing in the film. Such as Brian’s reason for a fake ID- “so I can vote”; the whole scene when they are in a circle sharing their feelings; and even the fist in the air by Judd Nelson at the end of the film. Now that last scene is extremely iconic, just like the song “Don’t You Forget About Me”. This song was especially written for the film and was turned down by a quite a few artists, like Billy Idol, to finally be performed by Simple Mind. Of course it became a huge hit for the band and is covered by millions, including Billy Idol. I guess he changed his mind.

So some of you many not be aware of the story, so here is a brief recap.

Five very different students have been sentenced with detention. We have Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), “the basket case” who just came for fun; Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), “the athlete”, who received detention for bullying a kid; John Bender (Judd Nelson), “the criminal”, sent there because of his acting up;  Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), “the princess”, caught skipping school to go shopping; and Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), “the brain”, who brought a flare gun to school.

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In the beginning everyone abides by their cliques, Claire and Andrew sit together as they are on the highest level of the totem pole, while the rest sit by themselves. At first they keep their distance and Bender riles everyone, but through the course of the day they all bond together sharing their most personal secrets and working out their dysfunctions.

Allison feels ignored and therefore is a compulsive liar and a klepto, seeking out attention. Andrew hates his overbearing father who is always pressuring him. That is one of the reasons why he was bullying another kid, his father said he wasn’t being manly enough. Bender is abused by his father and ignored the rest of the time. Claire feels confined by the role she is in, as everyone sees her a certain way when in reality she has hardly ever dated and is a virgin. Brian feels so pressured by his family to be perfect and get into a good college, that he contemplated suicide over getting a bad grade in woodshop. Through these discussions, everyone feels much better and is much happier. But at the same time they feel sad and scared that once they are back in school Monday they will no longer be friends and things will continue as they have before.

Before the day ends, they hook up the sound system and have a big dance. Claire and Bender pair up and so do Allison and Andrew. Poor Brian gets stuck writing their detention assignment.

In the end Claire gives Bender one of her diamond earrings so they’ll never forget that moment. Allison steals Andrew’s Captain letter and the two kiss, while Brian gets nothing (poor nerdy guy). And the film ends with Bender’s triumphant arm thrust and Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me playing in the background.

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Now I love this movie. Like freaking love it.

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And watch it over and over.

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I mean how could you not love it and the messages it covers? First of all you see that labels are nothing, just things we create ourselves to make us feel accepted, when in fact there is a little of everything in all of us.

We all have insecurities:
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And that we all are strange. Nobody’s perfect or has it all together.
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Yep, I just love this film.
In fact, I am such a fangirl over it that in one of my college courses, a group of us became such great friends and were all so different, yet the same, that we named our collective “The Breakfast Club”. Yep, my fangirl was showing.
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So of course being a huge fan, when I saw a quiz to see which character I was, I had to take it. And I got:
To see who you are, click here.

To see who you are, click here.

Now this surprised me as I would have thought I’d get the Basket Case, Brain, or Athlete before I ever got the Criminal. But, and you guys will laugh at this, a few weeks ago (and right after I took this quiz) I was watching this film with four other friends. We started teasing my friend Gabe that he was Brian the Brain. He started joking that our friend Stephanie was Allison the Basket Case. Then we all started pairing up people and characters. Laurence did sports so he became Andrew the Athlete. And even though Jack was a boy, we decided he was Claire the Princess, or Prince in his case. And that made me Bender the Criminal. In fact, that night I was wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and black boots; not the exact ones Bender wears, but pretty darn close. Now whenever I see Jack, I always joke around that he’s my girlfriend, or woman as I feel Bender would say.

So this is one fantastic film that I strongly suggest you view. If you’ve never seen it, get a copy and do so as soon as possible. If you have, another thousand viewings is what I recommend. 🙂

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For more on The Breakfast Club, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For more on Judd Nelson, go to I’m Going Down the Tubes: Making the Grade (1984)

For more about the ’80s, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

For more quizzes, go to Shall We Dance?: What Happens in Vegas (2008)

The Final Chapter

So if you have been following my blog you probably wonder why my attitude from my ex went from I’m happy it’s over to he’s a cheating, lying,

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Some of you are probably like that is every relationship, but no that’s not the reason. Let me back up and just give you who are new to following a brief recap.

So my ex and I broke up last year and it was not the best ending for me. You see I was away at school and we were trying to make a long-distance relationship work.

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I had thought things were fine, until Michael, my ex started talking to me less and less. I went down to see him and he took an extra shift. When I was coming back for Thanksgiving he wasn’t sure he would be able to fit me in.

Now for all you people (and me now) it is clear that this guy was obviously moving on from me. But of course, I didn’t see it as:

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So he was talking to me less and less and I was just so confused by it.

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My grandfather died, and still barely any peep from him. I know, my grandfather dies and he can’t see me or comfort me. What a major loser, am I right?

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So I go surprise attack him and see him, trying to get an answer out of him why he was so distant. Did he even want to stay together? You know, the usual questions. I mean I was so confused and unhappy and emotional, I just wanted the truth. We ended up breaking up. Now at first I was completely heartbroken, and there are earlier posts which detail that phase of my life.

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In fact I stupidly blamed myself for most of it. Maybe if I had done this differently or this we would still be together.

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Luckily, I eventually realized it wasn’t all my fault, in fact I was a great girlfriend. I sent him care packages, I treated him wonderfully and he was the one who was acting wrong and not like a boyfriend at all. I mean I got hit on by tons of guys and could have cheated on him or passed him up for someone “better”, but I didn’t as I really cared about him. I’m not gonna lie, it took a while, but I eventually got over him.

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I realized that breaking up was better than being in a relationship that was becoming non-existent.

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I mean he couldn’t even get up the balls to break up with me. Like what was he expecting me to do  over Christmas break? Never come around?

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But then I found out something. You see, Michael was cheating on me those past few months of our relationship. When I found that out I was incensed! I wanted to hurt him so bad!

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I was seriously angry. I would imagine myself going and punching his lights out.

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I really wanted to make him pay. In fact it took every ounce of my will to not go to his work and teach him a lesson.

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Now some of you this might seem a normal response, but for those of you who are shocked or appalled at my confession, let me tell you why this rankled me so much. You see I have always vetted the guys I date very throughly, so much that many don’t make it far with me. Yes, I’m picky but I just don’t want any old boy.

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And I had allowed Michael to get farther than any other boy had. I became his girlfriend, which is something I had always stayed away from becoming as I was always afraid of picking the wrong guy. With Michael, I didn’t think we were soul mates or meant to be together forever, but he just seemed so right.

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Only for me to find out I was dead wrong. Extremely wrong. You see when he asked me to be his girlfriend I told him I had three rules he had to agree to for me to say yes. The first was to NEVER, EVER cheat on me. Cheating is just a horrible thing to do as it screws people up for a long time. Second to call or skype me once a week, and third visit me at least once a semester. He agreed, especially to the first rule as he had been cheated on before and knew what it felt like.

That horrible guy!

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How could he treat me like that if he knew how it felt! I was enraged! But slowly, I got over it.

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It sucks that the first guy I gave my heart to turned out to be such a Wickham:

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But I’m not going to let him have any more power over my life. I already wasted time thinking, crying, plotting revenge, etc on him.

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It sucks that he turned out to be such a rotter, but that’s life right? You can’t protect yourself from everything.

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Bitterness, resentment, and revenge may seem like your best friends, but they really aren’t doing you any favors.

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After all, they’ve already misused you, why let them continue that. It is always better to move on.

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And I’m not letting that guy hurt me anymore. After all I got the best deal. I love his family, and they still love me. Plus I’m amazing! Eventually, maybe not anytime soon, but one day he’ll realize what a catch I was and kick himself for letting me get away! Your loss!

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And someone else’s gain.

And you are out of my thoughts forever.

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And that would be the end of the post, except for one thing. I did see him again. And no I didn’t hit him or injure him.

You see every year my family goes to see the free Christmas play in town. And this year guess who had the lead? Michael.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

No I’m kidding. It actually wasn’t that bad. I saw his relatives again who I absolutely adore. I saw him and to be honest I didn’t care. I will admit that at one time the urge to kick him really hard came over me:

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But it was a really small urge.

In fact seeing him again, I actually wasn’t impressed. No heartfelt longing to get back together. No breaking down and crying. In fact, nothing at all.

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Now some of you might be wondering why I haven’t said anything about the girl he cheated on me with. I don’t really feel as if I can say anything because I don’t really know her role in this. Did she know he had a girlfriend? Did she try purposely to break us up? And to be honest, if she was actively involved than she is a horrible person, as scamming on somebody else’s person is just down right low. But, the person in the relationship is more at fault as they should know better.

And you know what, whoever is at fault, they’re going to get what’s coming to them. What goes around comes around. I don’t have to settle the score as someone else will. What’s important is to concentrate on me, and the next phase of my life.

Some of you may think, that’s a lot of personal information. Aren’t I worried if the guy finds out and reads it? Well, first of all:

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And secondly, if he wanted me to say something nice, he should have been nicer.

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Now I’m planning this to be the very last post on my ex, I’m not planning on seeing him ever, and I don’t think I will write another thing on him. Now think is the operative word as every time I thought the Verne Saga was over, he would come around again.

So I am going to end this last ex post with something I want you all to remember. If you have ever been hurt by someone, let it go and never, ever let it take over your life or destroy your personality.

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Stay golden!

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For more musings of me, go to Concentrated Awesome

For more on getting over a broken heart, go to If It Means A Lot to You

For more on Nicholas Sparks, go to I Don’t Want to Be in Love (Dance Floor Anthem)

For more on Sarah Dessen, go to I Will Survive

For more on Steve Maraboli, go to Love Will Find a Way

For more of my favorite quotes, go to The Many Reincarnations of Me