Mini Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) by Diana Peterfreund

Title:  Across a Star-Swept Sea
Author:  Diana Peterfreund
Series:  For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date:  October 15, 2013

Pages:  449
Format/Source:  ARC/From Publisher via BEA
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction, Romance, Retelling

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

*Warning:  This is the second book in a series.  While I really don’t like spoilers, you might find some slight Book 1 spoilers in this review.*

I have SO MUCH to say about Across a Star-Swept Sea that I might just have to make a new book club in my new town just to talk about this series alone. But because this is the second book in a series, I just don’t want to risk the spoilers, so I’m going to just write a mini review where I share some of my notes:

  • I remember reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, which was Diana Peterfreund’s inspiration for this book, in school, and I remember loving it but I don’t remember much about it at all.  Now I really want to go back and read it!
  • I love how this is the same world, but yet it’s a different region so life and the government and culture is all slightly different than that in For Darkness Shows the Stars.
  • I love how Peterfreund has taken this story so much farther with not only a cure for the Reduction but also the Darkening, a side effect of the cure. This series would be fantastic without those extra things, but it takes the story along such an interesting path and adds so much complexity to the characters.  I also love how every individual has a slightly different way of seeing the revolution, no matter which side they’re on.  They each have their reasons for feeling that way, and it makes sense for each character. And this is so realistic, because in wars and conflicts like this, each side has legitimate reasons for feeling the way they feel, even if you don’t agree with their beliefs or their methods.
  • Across a Star-Swept Sea definitely is heavier on the sci-fi than For Darkness Shows the Stars, but it’s still not space/aliens/high sci-fi. It’s more gadgets and biochemistry and gene manipulation than planets and aliens and robots and things like that.  And while I love high sci-fi, I love this kind of stuff, too.
  • I like the idea of the Flutternotes and genetemps.
  • I had some moments when I got super excited about this book, where I fangirled a lot.
  • Beautiful writing, just like in For Darkness Shows the Stars.
  • A dress to rival Katniss’s gown in Catching Fire!
  • I love Persis and Justen’s slow-building relationship.
My rating for Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund:
5 HUGE stars.  I’ve added this to my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, and I think I might have even enjoyed this one more than For Darkness Shows the Stars, which is also one of my favorites!  I definitely recommend this series to any fans of Young Adult novels!
You may also enjoy:  Cinder  Oryx and Crake │ Uglies

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Book Expo America, in exchange for my honest review.  (Thanks, Balzer + Bray!) I was not compensated in any other way for this review.


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