Author: Diana Peterfreund
Rating: 5 Stars
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.What can I say about Across a Star-Swept Sea? It was dazzling! In this companion novel to For Darkness Show the Stars, Peterfreund spins us a captivating tale of strength, passion, and overcoming the cycle of persecution.
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. -Summary from Goodreads
Though I have not read Scarlet Pimpernel, which this story is based off of, I recognized the setting as reminiscent of the French Revolution and thought it was done very well. Galatea rebels overthrow a government only to become tyrants themselves. It’s not something I often see in YA novels. Normally the stories are about the rebels themselves and their fight against the injustices that plagued them but this story is about trying to save people from the revolutionaries who have lost their way.
I really couldn’t get enough of this book. The premise is one that I’ve always loved, a spy fighting to save the people against an evil tyrant, and in Persis’ case they weren’t even her people. Persis Blake is an amazing, well rounded character. By day she is the flakey socialite who cares about nothing but clothes and parties while by night she is the spy known simply as the Wild Poppy, who the citizens on both Albion and Galatea believe is a man. Because women in Albion can hold no real power, she works for the princess regent in secret to save many “aristos” and “regs” from Galatea, where the revolution is happening, who are being turned into mindless beings, or “Reduced.” Persis risks everything and yet only a select few, not even her parents, can know how much she truly cares.
Justen Helo is a young scientist from Galatea, running from his war torn country in hopes to find a safe place to find a cure for those being reduced against their will. He is constantly going between frustration at Persis’ flighty ways and confusion at her random words of wisdom. He still holds some prejudices against aristos yet he wants to save his countrymen from being reduced to mindless shells. Like Persis, Justen carry’s a dangerous secret that weighs heavily on him. It was interesting to watch him and Persis play off each other, each holding their own secrets and making their own, mostly wrong, judgments about the other.
This book has danger, intrigue, romance, heartbreak, surprises and more besides that! It quickly gained a top spot on my wishlist and favorite books of 2014 list! It is a must read!