Balzar + Bray (an imprint of Harper Teen), 464 pages
Expected US Release Date: October 15, 2013
Format/Source: ARC, via Around the World Tours - thank you!
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.
We made many errors. I told you, I no longer believe in the way the revolution is playing out. But that doesn't make the goals that brought us to this point any less valid. Sometimes bad things happen when you try to do something good.
If you didn't know, I love love LOVED For Darkness Shows the Stars (read my awesome review here - I think I'm pretty hilarious). It was one of my favourite reads of 2012, and EVER. There's such beauty and grace to Diana Peterfreund's writing, and I was not disappointed with Across A Star-Swept Sea, either.
Now, again, I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel before so I can't say if it pulls inspiration well or anything - but I definitely want to read it after this. Diana Peterfreund solidified herself as an author I will read anything from. Again, it's not like it's the most action-packed, page-turning thriller; but the details are really something else, and it just makes for a story bursting with elements you fall in love with.
I don't know about you, but this is possibly the coolest futuristic, science fiction-y historical romance I've ever read. Sounds pretty contradictory, right? It totally is, but it had all those elements rolled into one! The drama and intrigue and gossip of a Queen's Court, with the great inventions created in this Post-Reduction dystopian environment, rolled into a revolutionary tale. If that isn't the best pitch for a book ever, I don't know what is.
The characters were fantastic in this book too - I liked how everyone wasn't quite what they seemed. Persis was pretty fascinating, though sometimes I felt the dichotomy between her and the Wild Poppy were a little too...much. I know she had to create this fake persona, and I completely understand why and how it worked -- but sometimes I felt like it was too extreme. Still, it made for a lot of fun little plot points and you really start to root for either of them and the shared cause. And of course, we all love a faked romance! Especially one where...I mean, c'mon. You know. You just know how it will end, and it's slowly, torturously, awesomely fun to get dragged along and get so caught up in the "OMG IT MEANT MORE I SWEAR" and the "DON'T YOU SEEEEEEE?!"
I have to say that I still love For Darkness Shows the Stars more - but that's expected, as I had expectations going into the second novel and knowing what I already loved. Which does bring me to: KAIIIIIIII <33333.
Ok. That's really it. Across A Star-Swept Sea was a fantastic read, one that immerses you into this great little revolutionary tale as we try to figure out what is ethically right and sound at the same time as rooting for the characters to all prevail and triumph -- which is brilliant, since a lot of them are opposing. The enemies are great, the protagonists even better, and getting to continue on with Kai and Elliot was just a cherry on top.