Publisher: Balzer + Bray
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 undeniableattraction 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.
Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel? Hmmm. That sounded different and interesting.
Of course, because I'm a total slacker, I had never actually read Orczy's novel.
So. It may be hard to believe, but I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and read...gulp...a classic. Yes ladies and gentlemen, in preparation for this book, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel.
I know! I'm impressed with myself, too!
As it turns out, Pimpernel is a pretty easy read, and I'm glad I took the time to get to know the story. It made reading Peterfreund's novel even better, since I could immediately recognize the parts of the plot that she intertwined or tweaked from the original.
Was it as good as Baron Orczy's?
It was even better!
And while the original story is more of a swashbuckling story about an incredibly clever married couple who have no idea that they are each hiding secrets from the other one (think: Mr & Mrs. Smith), Across A Star-Swept Sea is a futuristic dystopian that puts a young adult spin on the tale. It also reverses the genders of the main characters, and adds it's own creative take on how the story would play out in the new setting.
I liked the way the author had the love story play out, as well. Justen finds Persis physically attractive, but he just can't stand that she's such a vapidly shallow person. Except, sometimes she seems to him to be a bit...more? On the other hand, Persis is totally attracted to Justen because he's incredibly smart and dedicated to his cause of equality for everyone. Unfortunately, she can't let him know that she's really one of the most intelligent, clever, and honorable people he'll ever meet, because she's not sure whether or not he's a spy for her enemies.
It made for a great back-and -forth between the couple as they struggled to decide how much to let the other person know about their secrets.
There was only one complaint I had, and it was totally my fault. I didn't realize that this was the second book written in this world.
I know what you're thinking.
How many times can this idiot plunge into a book, and not bother to see that it's part of a series?!
The answer is fairly simple (like me!). Lots and lots. Example: I just accidentally read the last book in a trilogy yesterday.
Please direct all of your complaints about my reviewing skills to Cat.
I would have liked to have known more about the disease and the previous characters, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story at all. In fact, all it really made me want to do was go back and read the other book. So I would say it's not strictly necessary to read the first book, because this one comes across as a stand-alone that's just set in the same world.
For those of you who have already read For Darkness Shows the Stars, you'll be happy to know that towards the end of this book, those characters make an appearance.
Don't get excited, 'cause I'm not giving out any spoilers!
The characters are well-written, strong, and smart. There's also no insta-love, no triangle, and no fluttery palpitations for no discernible reason. This one's going into my Highly Recommended pile!