Latest Read: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Here are the basics ...
Across A Star-Swept Sea (For the Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) by Diana Peterfreund
Publication date: Oct. 15, 2013
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Category: Young Adult - Dystopian
Source: ARC from Alexa (Thanks!)

Summary: The two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked 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 brain-damaging drug and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy. On the neighboring isle of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake who uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose. Her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo is her most dangerous mission ever. Though Persis is falling for him, she can’t risk showing her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect. (Adapted
My thoughts…
I know I'm going to be in the minority on this one but the truth is, I wasn't that crazy about Across a Star-Swept Sea. I didn't hate it by any means but I didn't love it either. It fell somewhere in the middle and part of that feeling hinged upon my disappointment. Because let me tell you, when I read For The Darkness Shows The Stars, I could not put it down. It was one of those books I started late at night, work-be-damned because I'm not sleeping until I finish kind of reads. There's no denying Diana Peterfreund is an amazing, imaginative author and even with my lukewarm feelings towards this companion novel, I don't feel any differently about her writing. It's still really good but I just couldn't get into this book no matter how hard I pushed myself.

Across a Star-Swept Sea takes place in the same world and time period - after the world has been devastated by the Reduction and only recently began to heal - but in a different land called New Pacifica. Here a cure for Reduction was discovered by the Helo family but the cure wasn't 100% foolproof. It gave birth to another illness called Darkening which only affects a small portion of those who were cured. But the Regs (common people) from Galatea are still angry at the Aristos (the rich Aristocrats) and punish them by forcing them to take Reduction pills. This is where the Wild Poppy comes in. Better known to the public as the superficial but beautiful Persis Blake, lady-in-waiting to Princess Regent Isla. Persis and her league (which does include the princess!) save these Aristos and anyone who needs help from this fate. No one knows who they really are and it's meant to stay that way. Then Justen Helo, grandson of the woman who found the original cure, comes to the Princess Regent (and Persis) wanting to help. They don't tell him they're the league of the Wild Poppy but they do allow him to stay. Under the guise of Persis' latest suitor.

That description only scratches the surface. It's about civil war, spying, technology, medicine, science plus these characters, their relationships and all the little details of New Pacific. And I think that's where I struggled. There's so much information and so much world-building but not enough time spent developing Persis' or Justen's characters (I even wanted to know more about the secondary ones because they were interesting too!). I understood Persis and Justen's motives but they're constantly hiding and pretending who they truly are. Persis is pretending not to be a spy, to be the most frivolous woman in the country and denying her attraction to Justen, who has secrets of his own. I couldn't connect to them and as a result, couldn't fully immerse myself in their story.

Do I recommend?: If you haven't read any of Diana Peterfreund's books, you should. It's a great series and while the first book is by far my favorite of the two, I can see why the second appeals to so many people (even if I'm not included in the bunch).

Happy reading!


  1. Aw, sucks this one didn't live up to your expectations. I hate it when that happens. I did enjoy the 1st book, but didn't outright love it, so Idk how I'd feel about this one. Maybe one day I'll give it a read, haha. Great review Rachel!

    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  2. I'm sorry you ended up not liking this book as much as I did! I don't know why, but this book really clicked with me in spite of everything that was going on it. I'm a big fan of Persis Blake, and that's probably a big reason for this book to have worked for me.

  3. Hmmm... I've seen a lot of mixed reviews of this one! I pre-ordered a copy bc I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars, but I still haven't felt like picking this one up yet. This review actually makes me more curious because now I'm wondering if I'll feel the same!


with love,