{Review} AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS by Diana Peterfreund

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Kai's fingers would itch for a paper glider to write down everything he saw and share it with Elliot, just as they always had.  The ruins, sprawling and dangerous but utterly empty, even of other travelers.  He'd heard that, at its height, the city had been home to a million people.  And now there was nothing.  By the second week of his journey, Kai had grown used to his solitude, though he still caught himself composing letters in his head.  

Dear Elliot, 

This morning, the sky was clear and I got my first glimpse of the volcano.  It was just like the pictures in books: an enormous red cone pointing at the sky.  

He was a good paragraph in before he realized what he was doing and stopped himself.  He'd sworn he'd never write her.  Never.  If she wasn't coming with him, she didn't deserve to know what he saw.

(page 8, nook e-book edition)

The ebook novella AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS by Diana Peterfreund is a precursor to FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS.  A stand-alone companion novel, ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA, is scheduled to come out in 2013 from the HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray.

I'm currently reading FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS and will be reviewing it soon.
(And I am so excited! I have wanted to read this one since the publishing deal announced in 2013, and I bought it when it came out back in June!!)

AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS is a novella, clocking in at 124 pages on my nook, which is a steal of a deal at 99¢. It exists as a stand-alone, able to be read without feeling like one is thrown into the middle of nowhere.  It takes place four years before FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS and revolves around Kai, a Post who has left his estate to make his own way in life.

When I actively began reading FDSTS last night, I was glad that I chose to read this novella before digging into the full novel.  Usually, I wait and read companion novellas after finishing the book to avoid spoilers, especially because when they're told in POVs that alternate from the main novel's title character, it's often a re-hash of the same events.  That isn't the case this time around.  Reading Kai's POV gave me a theory as to something that may happen when I get further into FDSTS, but not in a way that would hinder my enjoyment in any way, shape, or form.  Instead, as I started reading FDSTS, it helped flesh out the history of main character Elliot and the letters she wrote back and forth to a boy named Kai as a child before he disappeared from her life.  I just finished reading Chapter Four, where the two characters are re-introduced for the first time in four years, and having read the novella first makes me feel fuller, with no confusion so far. If I hadn't read it, I'd be examining the plot more closely in spots and spinning theories in my head. (This is why it's so easy for me to spot "surprise revelations" in one line and why I try so hard to avoid spoilers.  My brain spins too much as I read and I often know things before I should, which sometimes leads to less enjoyment on my part.  But that's just me and my weird brain!)

It's too hard to explain the backdrop of ATNS and FDSTS in a review, but it is, in essence, about something horrible that happens in the past, causing a split in the shape of humanity, which is now ruled by the Luddites.  Kai is a Post, considered as "lesser," and leaves the North Estate where he grew up to make it on his own.  Along the way he is injured and almost killed, a reminder of why Posts never leave their estates.  He is, however, a skilled mechanic, and quickly finds work, only to be stolen away by a greedy man who treats him unfairly.  Readers get a close-up look at the hard life most Posts are forced into, as well as a chance to see how Kai joins up with the Cloud Fleet and meets characters that I'm sure will be integral to FDSTS.

Finishing this novella makes me want to read FDSTS even more.  A novella was all I had time to read last week during the holidays due to a mixture of holiday preparations, daily life/work, and being sick.  Last night, picking up FDSTS again gave me a thrill.  I'm already eager to go back to see what happens now that Kai and Elliot are in the same room after four years apart.  I doubt I would have realized the enormity of this moment had I not read ATNS first.

Whether you read the novella first or second, I feel that it's important because it shows Kai's backstory through firsthand experience, giving more readers insight into his life and the trials he endured before FDSTS.  Since FDSTS is in Elliot's POV, I don't know how much focus there will be on what makes Kai tick.  Through ATNS, we can sense his feelings of bitterness and betrayal, and share his paining knowing that despite the fact he managed to escape and become "free," he is destined to return to the North Estate and Elliot.

The only thing missing in ATNS?  Killer unicorns! ^.~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is breath-taking, and I love that some of my favorite elements from it are transferred over to the cover for AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS.  I love the sparkling stars and the swirly orange font that glistens with the colors of the galaxies.  

The rocky terrain leads readers to wonder about the world in which the story takes place, which isn't overly described in the novella, but surely will be in the full novel.  It gives readers just a taste and makes them want more!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray / HarperTeen 
Release Date: June 4, 2012
Received: Purchased

Before Kai joined the Cloud Fleet, he wandered… AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS 

Four years before the events of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, the servant Kai left the North Estate, the only home he’d ever known, and Elliot North, the only girl he ever loved, in search of a better life. But the journey was not an easy one. 

Featuring narrow escapes, thrilling boat races and at least one deadly volcanic wasteland.


  1. I loved FDSTS, but have put off reading ATNS because its a prequel. I didn't feel I needed to know what happened in the four years between Elliot and Kai's reunion, nor, when I finished the book, did I want to. Though, seeing it's more a novella, I'm thinking I might cave and read it.


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