Author: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: October 15th, 2013
“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.”
When I first read For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund I was swept up into a future dystopian society so unique, and yet so familiar, that I just knew the I needed to read its companion novel, Across a Star Swept Sea. I knew it would be equally fantastic, and boy was I right!
Across a Star Swept Sea had all the sci-fi, dystopian romance one could ever need, all wrapped up inside a clever and emotional retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. The story revolves around Persis Blake, a seemingly ditzy aristocrat who's sole purpose in life is telling her princess best friend what clothes she should be wearing, and Justin Helo, the revolutionary grandson of the woman who singlehandedly saved an entire class of people and who is bound to follow in her footsteps. Oh, how two descriptions could be so wrong! Persis, for all her glamour and glitz, is living a secret life as The Wild Poppy, Albian's most illustrious spy. And Justin, no matter how hard he wants to do good for his people, seems to only be able to help his uncle, the tyrant ruler of Galatea, commit atrocities against them. Once these two, from warring countries, come together it's impossible to put the book down.
Persis plays up her stupidity to keep her secret identity, well, a secret. And Justin, never suspecting empty-headed Persis could possibly be the country's greatest rebel and the only hope for his people, gets incredibly annoyed with the dumb blonde. He picks and pokes at her lack of intelligence, casting her aside when he's trying to think. But, even with Persis playing up the dumb act, he still finds things about her to like and respect, which is why I liked Justin so much. He isn't the type to say "Hey, this girl's dumb, but super hot!" He states a few times that while he finds Persis physically attractive, he could never seriously be with someone he couldn't hold a conversation with. I respect that in a guy. Though, his attitude toward Persis could be annoying at times since, as the reader, we know her ditzy act is just that.
And poor Persis. No matter how much she accomplishes for the good of humanity, she's brushed aside because no on can ever know that she is The Wild Poppy. No one can know she has a solid head on her shoulders and cares more about philosophy than fashion. But she puts up with it because of the people she can save and because someone needed to do something to try and stop the horrors Justin's uncle was committing. I really enjoyed her as a character. She's a strong, courageous heroine who's willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. And I loved her relationship with Justin. Even though she liked him, she always put her people before her love life. Persis was definitely a heroine I admired.
Across a Star Swept Sea starts out looking enough like a companion novel, with the characters from For Darkness Shows the Stars make a brief cameo, but the stories of both books are intertwined to the point that it feels more like a true sequel. As I mentioned, it's also a retelling of The Scarlett Pimpernel by Emma Orczy, but since I've never read or seen any of the movie versions I can't say if it's a true retelling. I can say that I probably enjoyed this modern version far more than I would the original.
At its heart, Across a Star Swept Sea, is a tale of equality and what it truly means to be a hero. If you enjoy sci-fi or romance Across a Star Swept Sea is sure to suck you in and keep you begging for more.
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