Across A Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) (but can be read as a standalone)
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Changing Hands Bookstore
Summary: 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.
Recently I've been in a YA book slump. I was starting to think I had outgrown any YA book I attempted. So for the past few weeks I've been distracting myself with non-fiction and classics, but finally I felt the need to read something lighter, something I could lose myself in. And if you're having the same problem, I suggest you pick this book up. It's definitely the cure.
From the first page, you'll get lost in the stunning, over-the-top costumes and luaus of Persis' island home. Though it was essential for Persis to have all this excessive luxury to help disguise her personality, I couldn't help but be awed by every bizarre creation. From her gengineered 'sea mink' to the choice of hair color, and even the whole concept of 'flutter notes'. Throughout the entire book, new tech is introduced. (In an odd way, the majority of Albions reminded me of citizens of The Capitol, and I mean that only in their fashion choices.)
Persis Blake may only be sixteen, but she has to be one of the most clever YA characters I've read in a while. She has taken on a hugely difficult role, and pretty much has to sacrifice her personality to almost everyone she knows, in order to keep them off her tail as the Wild Poppy. Persis "Flake" is what everyone associates her with now. She's an airhead who is Princess Isla's best friend, and foremost fashion advisor. Anyway, most assume the Poppy is a man.
For those who have read For Darkness Shows the Stars…don't worry, there are cameos! I mean, they're not secret or anything. Essential to the plot line. It sure was nice to see Kai and Elliot again!
I don't want to write an overly long review of every single thing I liked about this book and all the great and important supporting characters, because I'm sure you'll just agree anyway when you read it. (It is not too late to add to your Christmas list, remember.)
All in all, Across a Star-Swept Sea is a fantastic and well-written retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and I'm just as impressed with it as I was the first book, a retelling of Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars. I dearly hope Diana Peterfreund decides to write more retellings in this dystopian world of hers; there's so much potential. But either way, I've had a hell of a toe-curling read thus far.
I suggest reading the prequel novella The First Star to Fall, and my review of the first book is here.