Thursday, August 07, 2014

Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having loved Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, I finally made the time to read its companion novel, Across a Star-Swept Sea. Set in the same world as For Darkness Shows the Stars but on the islands of New Pacifica, it took me awhile to relearn the lingo and remember how the Reduction came about, especially because Albion and Galatea were so different from the society established in the previous book.

Thankfully, while I kept getting distracted trying to figure out the worldbuilding, the characters held my interest. Like For Darkness Shows the Stars, Across a Star-Swept Sea features a strong heroine who is easy to support. Superficially, Persis appears to be a rich and spoiled aristocrat whose only concern is the latest fashion. Underneath the persona of a ditz, however, lies a girl who’s smart, loyal, generous, courageous, and determined to fight injustice and leave her mark on the world. Besides Persis, I loved that the League of the Wild Poppy involved other females who were committed to creating change despite living in a patriarchal society.

While it would be hard for me to decide if I liked Persis better than Elliot (who shows up in Across a Star-Swept Sea with some other characters from For Darkness Shows the Stars), I know that Justen didn’t hold a candle to Kai. Even though we get POVs from Justen and therefore get to know him better, I just didn’t swoon over him as much as I did over Kai. I blame Kai for stealing my heart with those letters …

Speaking of romance, I enjoyed the slow romance between Persis and Justen because I thought they complemented each other’s personalities nicely. I also thought that Peterfreund did a good job of not making the romance overwhelm the plot.

If there was one thing I could change about Across a Star-Swept Sea though, it would be the ending because it came way too soon! I rarely like epilogues, but in this case, I would have preferred one so that I could know what happened to all the characters. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third companion novel!

Across a Star-Swept Sea was released by Balzer + Bray in October 2013. 

Comments About the Cover: It’s so pretty! I think I like it more than For Darkness Shows the Stars’.


  1. I loved that Persis was strong like Elliot, and although I like both girls I still think Elliot is my fave. Same with Kai/Justin - Kai all the way!

    Have you read Persuasion, the classic that FDStS is based on? I suggest reading if you haven't, because hellooo Captain Wentworth. ;)

  2. I think I'll enjoy the slow romance between those two as well since I usually don't like insta-love. I absolutely love the cover and the plot seems interesting. I look forward to starting this series :D Great review!

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

  3. Yayy, glad you liked this one! I felt the same! I was definitely impressed that Diana managed to hit upon another really great retelling with a strong female lead. I would definitely love to see another companion novel in this universe as a retelling to some other classic (not that I've read either of the classics that the first two books are based on...). I hope it's a bit easier getting into the world on the third time because I too had trouble getting into it again for this book!

  4. Oh yes, this one ended too soon for me, too! I'm so glad you love it, and yeah, an epilogue would have been great. Do you know if there's going to be a third book? This was actually the first Peterfreund I read, but I've since purchased the first book and also really enjoyed her NA book ONE & ONLY under her pseudonym Viv Daniels.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. YAY! I loved this one too Z! Like you, I struggled in the beginning trying to remember the history of the world and all the terminology, but I fell madly in love with Persis. I did prefer Kai to Justen as well, though I enjoyed Justen overall! I just adore this series:)


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