Futuristic, post-apocalyptic science fiction that’s very loosely based on or inspired by Jane Austen’s novel of manners and thwarted love, Persuasion. Eliot North, the main character, is a girl who, like Ann Eliott in Persuasion has chosen duty over love and passion. As she is unavoidably throw together with the man she rejected over four years previously to the opening of our story, Elliot must decide how to guard her heart and remain true to her principles of loving and caring for the innocent and helpless.
There is, as I said, a science fiction apocalypse aspect to this story: the world is living in the aftermath of genetic experimentation gone awry, and the Luddites, who rejected the genetic experiments, are the only ones who are holding things together and providing for the Reduced, the mentally challenged victims of the experimentation. Elliot is a Luddite. Some characters, called Posts, have transcended the Reduction of their ancestors, but the Luddites still treat the Posts like Reduced slaves.
What I liked best about this novel was the Jane Austen tie-in. It made me want to go back and re-read Persuasion. I also liked Elliot as a character, although she could be remarkably obtuse at times. In fact, all of the characters in the novel had their moments when they should have seen what I as the reader could see clearly, but they didn’t. And sometimes, in a way I can’t exactly put my finger on, the characters jumped to slightly erroneous conclusions or unusual interpretations of events that didn’t seem to be warranted by the information given in the book. It made the novel skew very juvenile, maybe middle grade even, definitely YA rather than adult.
Maybe the problem was that Elliot North and her rejected suitor Malakai Wentforth just aren’t adult in the same way that Ann Elliot and her erstwhile love Frederick Wentworth are grown-up and mature in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Elliot and Malakai are only eighteen, and they act emotionally like sixteen year olds or younger. None of these issues spoiled what was essentially a good story, but they were there nagging at the back of my mind as I read.