Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review of Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) 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.

(Summary from GoodReads)

If you have not ordered your copies of For Darkness Showsthe Stars and Across A Star-Swept Sea, stop reading here.  Go to your favorite bookseller and get copies of these two.  As soon as I finished For Darkness Shows the Stars, I immediately wanted more set in this world.  I wanted to learn about corners of Peterfreund’s universe other than where Kai and Elliot live.  Thankfully I loved exploring New Pacifica, especially since I got to see it through the eyes of Persis, certified badass.  Across A Star-Swept Sea provides fantastic examples of great world-building, awesome characters, and riveting plot, making it one of my favorites of the year.

Albion and Galatea are so different from the parts of this world we see in For Darkness Shows the Stars.  The setting read as being very tropical to me.  Peterfreund described the bright colors of the clothes, aromas of flowers, and sights of the stars so vividly that I felt as though I was in this world as I read the book. 

Since this book is based off The Scarlet Pimpernel, our main character travels a lot between Albion and Galatea, and it took me a while to get the two straight.  I was dubious about how this would work as a re-telling, but Peterfreund carefully thought out both the social structure and science fiction elements of this novel.  She made sure there were no holes without ever info dumping on the reader.  Mistypoints out in her rewind that the retelling never feels forced, and it’s because Peterfreund knows what she’s doing with this world.

Of course, it also helped that Persis was a complete badass.  The ways she rescues other characters are so awesome.  As awesome as she is, Persis is also passionate and human, making her incredibly compelling to read about. 

The romance in this story was intriguing and page-turning.  Sometimes when I read romances, it feel like a side plot thrown in for kicks and giggles, or I can relate to one of the characters involved.  Guys, I did not have a moment of apathy or boredom during this storyline, nor did I question its relevance to the rest of the story. I was Invested with a capital I.

Across A Star-Swept Sea is a stunning companion to For Darkness Shows the Stars.  It’s a book that will have you rapidly turning the pages while still awing you with its depth.   Teens who enjoy adventure will love the pacing of this story, and readers familiar with The Scarlet Pimpernel will appreciate the careful craftsmanship found within these pages.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I also pre-ordered this one because I loved it so much.

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