Across a Star-Swept Sea
by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
Published: October 15, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eBook (464 pages)
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.
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.
Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series.
Sink me if I didn’t just adore this most excellent retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I do say the lovely author pulled off the futuristic and sci-fi world just splendidly. Alas, I admit that the politics were a little confusing at first, but I got them straightened out in my head soon enough and it was definitely much easier to understand than the politics of the first book. And oh such lovely politics they were! What a glorious exploration of the deep-rooted problems of sexism and inequality. It gave me so many things to ponder and the author represented the issues very well. You won’t find a combination of dystopian, romance, science-fiction, and retelling in such a fashionable way as it is in Across a Star-Swept Sea.
But seriously. I loved this book. The role of the Scarlet Pimpernel, who is called the Wild Poppy in this book, is a woman instead of a man like in the original. I really enjoyed the gender reversals in the story. The pace felt faster than the first book, For Darkness Shows the Stars. At first, Across a Star-Swept Sea felt like a companion novel until the very cool tie-in at the end. I would even say that I liked this book more than the first in the series which is saying a lot – I loved that book, too.
The romance was just superb. They have such a complicated relationship and I’m still impressed how well Diana Peterfreund pulled it off. I say! Bravo!!
What more can I say other than this book had so much heart. The fashion, the flakey Persis, the extravagant parties were entertaining but it never sacrificed being meaningful at the same time. This is my favorite quote from the book that I think sums up the story in a beautiful way.
Because I know from experience that sometimes it’s only the young ones who are crazy enough to change the world.
– Diana Peterfreund, Across a Star-Swept Sea pg 166
Overall, an excellent science-fiction/dystopian/romance that I could not put down.
Content Rating: Medium, for a few kissing scenes.
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