For Darkness Shows the Stars
By Diana Peterfreund
Balzer + Bray, 2012. 407 pgs. Young Adult
When the Lost took genetic experimentation too far, the world suffered devastating consequences, including wiping out a lot of the population, many of the survivors being Reduced (or left with limited abilities), and as far as they can tell, life only remaining on their isolated island. The Luddites, those who resisted the genetic experimentation, have become the caretakers for the Reduceds, and their offspring, some of whom are Posts, or Post-Reduction and don't have any diminished capacities. However, not all of the Luddites take care of their Reduced and Post tenants very well, and that's Elliot North's biggest problem. Although she is a Luddite, her dearest friend ,Kai, who later became her love interest, is a Post, and through their friendship, Elliot was able to see that her father is one of those who doesn't care about his people, and with his tendency to spend money that the family doesn't really have, Elliot knows their people are in trouble. She'd do anything to help them--even, when Kai decided to leave and invited her to go with him, staying behind when she wanted nothing more than to leave. Now, four years later, Elliot is still desperately trying to help the people living on the estate, even as her father's spending habits threaten them all. Elliot is even desperate enough to try banned genetic experiments with the wheat crop.
With all of their financial troubles, it's a blessing when the Cloud Fleet, a successful, wealthy group of Post explorers want to rent the North family's boatyard in order to do build a ship. But Kai, who Elliot hasn't heard from since he left four years ago, is now Captain Malakai Wentworth, a respected member of the cloud fleet who constantly scorns Elliot and who can't seem to understand that her choice between him and everyone else she loved was one that she had to make. With Kai hating her, and the Cloud Fleet hiding secrets, Elliot has more going on than she can handle.
I was intrigued to see how well an author could pull off a post-apocalyptic Jane Austen, and I'm happy to say that Peterfreund did a great job taking Persuasion and turning it into a scifi story. Elliot's struggle, with her feeling like she needed to stay to protect her people from her father but wanting so badly to go with Kai was a great added element, going beyond just duty to her family and really invoking the reader's sympathy. There were a few times I wanted to smack Kai because he was so rude to Elliot, but I was glad to see him redeemed in the end. I'm quite impressed with how the book all came together.