Review – Across a Star-Swept Sea
  • Posted:
  • April 12, 2013
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For Darkness Shows the Stars was among my top ten favourite books last year. Diana Peterfreund has proven herself again and again with me. I adored her Killer Unicorn series and I adore this one as well. It is no surprise that its sequel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, is just as incredible of a read as the first book is.

While not a direct sequel Star-Swept Sea is a companion book to For Darkness… It takes place in a different part of a world ravaged by Reduction, a brain malady that brought civilization to a halt. There is little left of the world, but in New Pacifica the people thrive. Two islands, Albion and Galatea, are in peril as a drug induced uprising threatens to upset the order of things. One islander steps up to meet the challenge, the Wild Poppy, New Pacifica’s infamous spy.

What the people do not know is that the Wild Poppy is actually bombshell socialite Persis Blake, a native of Albion, in disguise. Persis hides her wit and ability under cosmetic tedium and her gorgeous facade. She fixates on clothing and makeup and generally dissuading people from realizing who she is. But her nation’s Queen, Isla, has a task that may be beyond her skill. An important revolutionary from the neighbouring island of Galatea, Justen Helo, has demanded sanctuary and Isla has to hide him. What could be more perfect than having him masquerade as Albion’s leading it-girl’s new lover?

Sound familiar? Well, that would be because it’s a retelling of another book some of you may have read – The Scarlet Pimpernel. Myself, I have not had the chance yet. However, reading this makes me want to jump headlong into it. I adored this book. Both the tone and the setting are rich and evocative. Peterfreund has world build a nation that feels like Hawaii, and I am sure that is the intent (the hints that this is Hawaii in the future abound). Persis is so multi-dimensional that she is a delight to follow. And Justen could not be a better foil for her. There is also Andrine, and Isla (whom I loved) and a host of other characters, including one genetically fabricated mischievous sea mink named Slipstream.

This is one of those books where everything works, and it works beautifully. Peterfreund is nothing but consistent. I cannot begin to convey how much I enjoyed this book. Also, how much I am looking forward to another book in this universe. I hope that Peterfreund continues in this vein. She could write five more books set in this universe and I would be exceedingly happy. Her retellings are top notch!

5  out of 5 happy stars.


 * Across a Star-Swept Sea releases October 15, 2013. Please do not ask to borrow my ARC.

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