First Lines: Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass. Jef followed, tripping a bit as his feet slid inside his too-big shoes.
I got this for Christmas this past year, and I have a really bad habit of just leaving those on my shelf until the summer or even later. So when I ran out of books and I couldn’t make it to the library, I grabbed this off the shelf.
A few generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong lead to something called the Reduction (a mental degeneration which happened not only to the population in the experiment, but to their children as well). Nearly all of humanity was wiped out, except for the Luddite nobility class, who saw it as their duty to care for the Reduced. This is the world Elliot North grew up in, as a Luddite. At 14, she refused to go with her childhood friend and sweetheart, a servant named Kai, as he left the North estate to see what was left of the world. The last four years have been rough for Elliot, who had to deal with the rise of a new class of people called Post-Reductionists. Just as Elliot thinks her family’s estate will go under, a group of explorers called the Cloud Fleet wants to rent North land. The Cloud Fleet contains an explorer named Malakai Wentforth–Elliot’s old friend Kai, who is nearly unrecognizable. While Elliot thinks they may have a second chance together, Kai seems intent on showing Elliot exactly what she gave up when she refused to join him. But it seems Kai is harboring a dark, dangerous secret, one that could completely destroy society as Elliot knows it…
How do I even begin to describe this book? I guess I’ll start by saying that it’s supposed to be based on Persuasion by Jane Austen, which I haven’t read. So that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. I mean, I can’t compare and contrast the books like some reviewers can. I just read this because it looked like an interesting YA book.
And boy was it. I mean, everything was amazing. The lore behind the Reduction and Luddites was awesome because it was so rich in details, major and minor. What really stuck out was that there were children’s rhymes about the Reduction. That’s a level of detail you don’t see in too many books that make up fake worlds like this. And it just surprised me and made it feel all that much more real.
The characters were great too. I mean, I obviously rooted for Elliot the whole time. Because she’s cool. And Kai was someone I could understand. I mean, he thought Elliot would follow him anywhere, and then she didn’t. It’s kind of like when you have that high school ex and you want to show them how much better off you are now without them. Kai could and did do that. so I understood him too. And then there were those other characters that were just insanely well-crafted, even though you hated their guts. You just maybe didn’t quite know why. It was like a gut instinct. That was really cool.
I just loved everything about this story. It was interesting and exciting, keeping me riveted to it for hours. It’s the fastest I’ve been able to finish a book in many many weeks, I think. It was just a lovely story of two people who fell in love as kids and what happened after that…in a world where they are from two different classes and all that fun jazz. So kind of a dystopia love story.
Really looking forward to the sequel, though I guess it’s not going to follow these same characters. Peterfreund said it’s going to be like Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Fire because it will be in the same world and have some overlapping characters, but they’re mostly their own novels.