Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): When I Look At You by Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton [The Scarlet Pimpernel musical soundtrack].
My reviews are a bit different than most. As an undercover superhero (ordinary girl extraordinaire), my purpose is to try and uncover hidden gems lost from the familiar radar. Because of this, I have set up some guidelines for myself (just like the pirate code). :)
I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 bestselling books (based on Amazon ranks).
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or larger.
I will review recent books or books of great merit (preferably both).
Published: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Current Amazon Rank: #30,623
Author's Website: Diana Peterfreund
Want it? Find it here.
The First Line:
My name is Elliot, and I am six years old and live in the big house. Everyone says your smarter than me but I know I am the smartest. I bet you can't even read this letter.
Elliot North raced across the pasture, leaving a scar of green in the silver, dew-encrusted grass.
I adore this book. Go. Read it as soon as you possibly can. Buy many copies. *tosses fairy dust in your eyes*
Somehow, even though that is all I want to say over and over, I don't think that will cut it.
This book is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion. If that doesn't catch you in a ball of squee right there, Elliot's character will capture your heart within pages. I love Elliot. She is so smart, and kind, and resourceful. And so incredibly brave, but not in any of the normal sword-wielding, butt-kicking ways you might immediately think of (don't get me wrong. I love those girls aplenty too). She is strong by standing still, like a rock against a terrible, relentless storm. She is the only one standing between the people who work on her estate and her own family. She is the only one who truly cares about them and sees them.
That is why, four years ago, when her closest friend and the boy she deeply loved asked her to leave with him, she refused him. The people on the estate needed her more. But now Kai is back, but he is Kai no longer. He has taken the name Malakai Wentforth as a sign of shedding his status as a "post-reduction" worker. Employed under a group of explorers known as the Cloud Fleet, he is now rich beyond imagining. And with her estate on the knife's edge of ruin because of her family opulence, she has no choice but to rent out land to them so they can build a new ship.
At first she hopes that something might be mended between them, but those hopes are quickly incinerated when Kai shows her just how little he cares and what she lost. There are times when I literally wanted to thump Kai upside the head with a 2x4, but at the same time, I understood Kai's hurt and betrayal. Also, knowing this was a reimagining of Jane Austen kept me turning the pages in eager anticipation, fully realizing how this would end. But oh man, does she [Austen and Peterfreund] put you through the emotional wringer. I read this into the wee hours of the morning, refusing sleep because I could not put the book down. That doesn't happen often, and it is a glorious moment when it does. Because there is a secret Kai is keeping from everyone, and he is not the only one.
Elliot is not the arrogant, demure and obedient Luddite he believes her to be, and the secret Kai keeps could bring their entire world to its knees. It changes everything, for both of them.
It is such a fantastic read, and let me just say this now - THE BARN SCENE. Oh my gosh you might die during the barn scene. And no, it has nothing to do with hay. Diana Peterfreund has done something masterful in this work. She has paid a beautiful homage to Jane Austen while fully making it her own. Absolutely wonderful.
The Final Word:
For lovers of Austen and of good stories everywhere. So so good. Really, just go read it.
There is a FREE ebook that serves as a bridge/prequel to For Darkness Shows the Stars! It tells all about Kai and what happened to him after he left the estate. If you ever got frustrated with Kai, you will understand him a whole lot more now. It is fantastic and is a perfect compliment, in my opinion. It's called Among the Namelss Stars.
Also, if anyone is terribly interested (like I am), Diana is offering a marked up copy of this book as a part of Presenting Lenore's Dsytopian Month. And there are some other amazing ones there too. You may want to submit your own dystopian review soon. Like, before Saturday.