Home       About Me       Review Archive

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Across A Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows The Stars #2) by Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 464
Source: For Review from HarperCollins
Rating: 4.5 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.
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 short: Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund combines an admirable protagonist, an affecting romance, and an engaging story line to make it an exceptional read.
In my review of For Darkness Shows The Stars, I mentioned how nice it was to read a satisfyingly complete standalone for once instead of making a commitment to stick it out with a long-winded series with a never-ending amount of loose-ends. Well, that was before Across A Star-Swept Sea was announced as a companion book that would tie into the original world, but could stand on its own as a separate story with separate characters. Now companion books, I can get behind wholeheartedly! I would be fine if companion books became the new series books.

Across A Star-Swept Sea accomplishes exactly what I wanted in a companion book to For Darkness Shows The Stars. Namely, that I get to see more of the fascinating futuristic world I loved and didn't have to lose the strong female protagonist and the emotionally-charged romance aspects that I adored from For Darkness Shows The Stars. Diana Peterfreund is one talented lady! She has definitely earned her spot on my must-read-author list with her captivating premises and exceptionally well written prose. I appreciate that she never dumbs things down for her readers - her plots are complex and are not super easy to follow, but are somehow so much more rewarding because of it.

Just as Elliot was the heart and soul of For Darkness Shows The Stars, so was the fearless Persis of Across A Star-Swept Sea. She is, in a word, awesome. But that doesn't really cover it. She is brave, altruistic, and caring, all under the guise of a vain and vapid twat. In one life, she has an entire court of admirers wrapped around her little finger and in her other life, she is the revolutionary spy feared by the rebels. Along with Elliot, she is one of the most admirable protagonists I have ever come across. Her relationship with Justen was a fun and affecting romance of the slow-building variety (the best kind!).

My only slight complaint is that I would have liked to have seen a bit more espionage and undercover sleuthing because that was the coolest part of Across A Star-Swept Sea - it's not every day I get to read about a revolutionary female spy, you know! As it is, Across A Star-Swept Sea is very romance-focused - which is fine because it was an excellent romance - but I personally would've liked to have seen a bit more action. Overall though, Across A Star-Swept Sea is a well written and engaging story that I highly recommend. I don't know if other companion books are planned yet, but I sure hope so!

Previously, my review of For Darkness Shows The Stars.

Other Reviews:
Alison Can Read
Cozy Up With A Good Read
Ex Libris

Author Links:


  1. So glad you liked this. I loved this book so much that it didn't even occur to me that there wasn't enough espionage happening. But when I think about it, I agree with you. Still a slight complaint only.

  2. Lovely review! I'm so glad you liked this one. I also adored Persis, and she's definitely going in my heroine hall of fame. I agree, I could have done with more sleuthing, but overall it was still such a wonderful read!

  3. I agree with everything you said, Aylee! I loved Justen and Persis together and I hope there's more to their romance than that ending. Oh, that ending! I'm also glad that this is one a companion novel. I hope it gets to be the trend in the next few years.

  4. Eek I so have to read the first book in this series. I know it's a companion but I still have to read it first >.< It sounds like Diana did a fantastic job with the series being aligned and giving the same feel but still separating the two stories. The world is what sounds fantastic and the main reason I have been wanting to read this one! Great review, Aylee!

  5. Hmm, I need to pick this up, since I liked the first.

  6. I'm so glad you liked this one! I still need to read the first one, but I'm totally with you on companion novels. I have a difficult time keeping up with series, but I could totally handle companion novels more often.

  7. This one sounds so good and like you I love companion novels. However, I noticed you mentioned that this is heavy on the romance and I'm not sure if that would make me become bored with the story as I'm not that huge into romance to begin with.

  8. Im glad you liked it, and that it was more of a companion novel rather than an outright sequel, I often find those more interesting.

  9. I can't WAIT to get around to this. I only just recently picked up For Darkness Shows the Stars and I was really impressed with it (particularly the romance!). I can get behind the idea of a companion book-composed series too, and would love to see more of them. Great review, Aylee! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. :)

  10. WOW! I am so glad you enjoyed this one so much, Aylee. I myself read and loved For Darkness Shows The Stars and like you, I was thrilled to know that it was a stand-alone, a rarity in it's genre. Anyhow, Across A Star-Swept Sea was announced and I am so looking forward to seeing what Diana has written this time. You've made it sound so good and many readers have loved this one more than FDSTS, so yay- I need to get to this soon! Lovely review, girl!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  11. (1) Strong female protagonist
    (2) Emotionally-charged romance
    (3) Complex plot

    That's it, I'm sold. This sounds fantastic! Excellent review, Aylee! :)

  12. haha I wish more series became companion books as well - they'd have the added benefit of giving authors enough material so that they don't feel the need to stretch out one storyline/character too far.
    I didn't quite love For Darkness Shows the Stars, because I'm more judgmental when it comes to retellings than I am normally (Despite the fact that I LOVE retellings. It's weird.). But I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel. My dilemma is now whether to read that before this one, or just read Across a Star-Swept Sea without also being able to see how it compares to the original. The dilemma!
    I'm glad you enjoyed this one, though, Aylee! Also, if you haven't read them yet, then I encourage you to read Peterfreund's earlier works Rampant and Ascendant. They're fantastic and what made me come to respect her as an author.

  13. I can't wait to read this. For Darkness Shows the Stars was my favourite book last year and I'm expecting to love this one just as much!

  14. I haven't read this one yet but it's in my TBR pile, Aylee. I'm so glad you thought it was just as enjoyable as For Darkness Shows the Stars because I loved that novel. I like that the romance is slow building but I'm sure I'd want just a bit more action too.