Author: Diana Peterfreund
Release Date: June 12th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen (Balzar + Bray)
Cover Judge: I LOVE this cover. Especially from the title down, it's amazing. The font, the colors, the stars in the background.
Quote Choice: It was so hard picking a quote but I finally decided on this one because I love it and GAHHHHHHHHH, swoon.
It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.
It is not often that I read not about the sweet, sad moments of falling in love but about the heart-breaking, beautiful moments of trying to rekindle a love you thought was broken. Considering this is a Persuasion by Jane Austin influenced novel, it only fits that it be one of the best romances I've read in my lifetime. And guys: I don't read books that have no romance. Let that sink in for a minute.
I am just...mostly in utter shock because this is a fantastic book. Contrary to what I usually do, I won't be giving a little Harmony summary of this because I honestly feel I can't do it justice so let's just jump in to what I thought?
I think if I could choose one word, it'd be: breathtaking. I have no idea why I haven't read anything by Diana Peterfreund before but her writing style is lyrical, introspective, and beautiful without being too overwrought and descriptive. This dystopian sci-fi world that she's imagined is caused by a genetic imbalance that occurs because, as Elliot describes it, "humans wanted to be greater than god", and the story is just believable enough while still maintaining an air of mystery. She doesn't give too much away but you get the gist of it, which I appreciated. Most dystopian books don't even seem to explain why the collapse happened these days so it was refreshing to hear Elliot's take on it all. Peterfreund touches on some great themes in this book such as not only the treatment of people in different caste but the...unwillingness to be accepting of change when you're supposed to be very rooted to your beliefs, which is what Elliot faces in most of the book.
Watching Elliot rediscover not only herself but her society was something wonderful to me. I always say that it's so unrealistic when the main character is instantly accepting of something they're supposed to be against and hate and I love that finally I have found an author who did it perfectly. Elliot is young and not burdened with the traditions of her ancestors as much as other upper-class people in the book are. And so, she's naturally really curious as to what the Posts (Posts are basically the babies of the people who tried to "be gods" and ended up losing everything) are doing but she's still ingrained with the beliefs she's been taught her entire life. She's smart, loyal, and the kind of heroine that is badass in her own right even if she's unable to wield a sword.
And ALL THE CHARACTERS. A brief overview includes Ro, who I wanted to hug everytime she came on my page; Olivia, who I really wanted to hate but like Elliot, I couldn't find it in me; Horatio and Donovon, who I loved; Andromeda, because man, she was tough while still managing to be vulnerable and alone; and finally, Tatiana: I hate you. That is all. And of course, Kai, who I wanted to smack and hug all at the same time.
And finally, this review is nothing if I don't touch on the romance. I'm still a little bit stunned to be honest because this romance is the kind of romance that becomes classic. This is a romance worthy of all the Jane Austen novels there is. Elliot and Kai have known each other since childhood and despite their class differences, they remained friends throughout that. But when Elliot refuses to run away with Kai at fourteen because of the commitment she feels to the people she must protect at her estate, he leaves without her. This is not a tender, awkward story of love, guys. This is about two people who have had their hearts broken by each other in different ways and have to find a way to not only forgive each other, but themselves. There were moments where I actually had to pause because I could just feel Elliot's heartbreak or I felt angry at Kai for saying something or doing something. But there was also times where I had to pause because I knew something good was coming and I had to prepare myself.
What more can I say except: this is an amazing book. I think Jane Austen would be proud.
COMMENT OF AN ECARD: