Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 15, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kate
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
The two books that comprise the For Darkness Shows the Stars series are quickly becoming some of my favorite post-apocalyptic young adult books of all the options in the genre. Peterfreund is a wonderful writer, and ACROSS THE STAR-SWEPT SEA is a spectacular example of her talents. Keeping the reader hooked in a world completely different than ours, explaining back-story without info dumps, and mixing action with a touch of romance, ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA is one of those books you just don't want to put down, and in my opinion even better than the first.
In ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA, Diana Peterfreund sucks the reader back into the post-apocalyptic world of FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, but with new characters and a new setting. For most of the book, I was under the impression that the events in ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA are taking place generations after FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, but as we find out, they are mostly taking place at the same time. In my opinion, showing the way that two completely different cultures could develop out of the same tragic event was brilliant and different. It is rare that we see multiple results of the after of an apocalypse- most books and series of this genre focus on one small individual part of the world and how it is coping.
While the setting is amazing, the story itself is also a gem. I loved the combination of intrigue and romance, action and character development. Nearly all of the characters in ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA are ones that I liked, and they all felt fleshed out. With the exception of Vania, the villain, who comes across a little better than a hand rubbing, evil-laughing caricature, all the rest have clear personalities and motivations that the reader can get a feel for. Especially, we have, Persis, our heroine, who is amazingly multi-faceted, not only because she has created a personality for herself in order to hide her clandestine activities, but also in her feelings and the way she deals with all the other characters. Her various friends and relationships, with her mother and father, for example, and her best friends Isla and Ariane, are all very real feeling- complicated in a way that relationships are, especially when there are disparities in power, such as Isla being the princess regent of Albion.
Those hoping to see Malakai and Elliot from FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS will be sorely disappointed, as they don't make much of an appearance. That being said, if you’re a new reader to the series, you’ll get just as much enjoyment out of ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA than if you had read the first book. Since the two settings are so different, with different histories, locations and characters, the reader is coming in new whether or not they’ve read FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS. As for the retelling aspect, I haven’t read THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, so I can’t comment on how closely it follows the original story, but there is quite a bit of spying action and dashing escapes, along with court intrigue and drama.
Both books in For Darkness Shows the Stars series are worthwhile reads for all the reasons I listed above and more. They make a spectacular duo, and I can’t wait to see where Peterfruend takes the reader next in the world she’s created. She’s come a long way from Secret Society Girl, and it shows. But you don’t have to take my word for it- Peterfruend has written two short story prequels, one for each of the books, both available for free. I definitely recommend THE FIRST STAR TO FALL, which tells of the beginning of Persis’s career as the Wild Poppy. For me, I’ll just try and sit patiently for the next book in the series!Series Titles:
0.5 Among the Nameless Stars
1. For Darkness Shows the Stars
1.5 The First Star to Fall
2. Across a Star-Swept Sea