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Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund Book Review

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 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.
Source: Barnes and Noble!
Page Count: 465
This is going to have to be a quick review considering there's a 15-page paper looming ominously over my head. I wish I could say that I would never even think of procrastinating. The very word insults me! But alas, my name is Emily, and I'm a bonafide procrastinator. So wish me good luck and with some serious caffeine, I'll be done with this paper before this review even goes up. Before I submit myself to torture, however, I want to say a few words about this book. AHEM. Go read this book RIGHT NOW. Seriously. That is all.

Personally, I think the above statement is a sufficient review of this novel by Diana Peterfreund, but to be thorough, I better tell you why you should read it. First of all, this book crosses so many genre boundary lines, I don't even know how to classify it. It's first and foremost a retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel which is so awesome because that book is one of my favorite classics and not many people even know about. The book is also set in a futuristic world, however, and could definitely be described as a post-apocylptic novel. On the other hand, New Pacifica doesn't actually exist, so you could even throw in a bit of fantasy if you wanted to. Oh! And it also is a bit of a gender-bender since Persis disguises herself as the Wild Poppy who everybody assumes is a boy, so there's that too. And of course there's romance! So basically, no matter what type of book you usually enjoy, Across the Star-Swept Sea has got it covered so there is no excuse to not read this book! I'm really a huge fan of this new trend of genre mixing. I get everything I love in one book. (I feel like I'm promoting some new gadget in a commercial)

The characters were just phenomenal in this book. Persis was so witty and brave and I just loved the way she was able to fool everybody and take care of everything herself. She's a very capable, beautiful, young girl and when something or someone she cared about was in danger, she'd do everything she could to help. I didn't just love the character, I really respected her and I looked up to her, which is really weird...since she is actually a figment of imagination, but whatever. And of course Justen. It was killing me the entire time that Persis had to pretend to be somebody else in front of him because I just wanted Justen to realize how amazing she really is and how much they need to actually be together. IT WAS KILLING ME! But Diana Peterfreund is a genius and she really took this classic tale and turned it upside down in the most amazing way while still staying true to the original story. It was just beautiful.

Besides the characters, the romance, and the cool technology, (um..can I have a "sea mink" too?) my favorite part of this novel were the very intense questions it raised. A lot of the plot deals this drug that "reduces" people and basically takes away all their brain power. This drug, however, is used almost as a revenge against the noble families who enslaved other people. I'm not doing this controversy justice and there is so much more to the history of this world than that, but it really causes you to question your definitions of justice and revenge. It's a narrative about how something good can be used as a weapon and how the world is not black and white. It's a big pot of gray that we all get stuck in. I just wanted to sit down and discuss this book with people when I finished. There's a lot of made-up elements that really apply to the world today. So it's an enjoyable read, but it also makes you think, which is always a good thing.

Both Across a Star-Swept Sea and For Darkness Shows the Stars were wonderful reads and I cannot recommend them enough. They make you happy. They make you think. They make you love reading. What more could you ask for?

Oh hello there! My name is Emily, though some of you may know me as the Bookie Monster. As the name would suggest, I devour books like the Cookie Monster devours cookies. In my spare time, I like to bake cookies (and devour those as well) and dream about taking over the world. As if my book obsession wasn't life consuming enough,

I work in the children's room at my local library and I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in English. It's safe to say I'm a bit of a book fanatic. I discreetly shed a few tears on my eleventh birthday when I did not receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter and I waited seven hours outside in the rain just to get a good seat at the Hunger Games midnight premiere. I'm terrified of blood and Disney movies make me cry (in a good way). My passions include hippos, hugs, and Hans Zimmer…and uh,long walks on the beach. I'm just a normal girl w
ith a slightly abnormal and frightfully expensive obsession. Nice to meet you!


  1. I thought this was really good. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  2. I haven't read this series yet but it does sound lovely. I don't know about classic it was inspired by but would love to check it out. Glad you loved it. :)

  3. Wow, I loved your review! Sounds like this book was freaking amazing :) Persis sounds like a really great character!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence


Hi! Thank you so much for commenting, I read each and every comment and love reading them :) Also, I'll comment back as soon as I can. Happy Reading!