Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea, by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea surprised me with it's political intrigue and interesting world building all wrapped around a slow building romance.

Across a Star-Swept Sea is really a spy novel. There's a revolution on one island, Galatea, and a secret spy from the other island, Albion, in what is left of the world. Then we have Justen, who has escaped the revolution because all he wants is to find a cure for the drug that his island is giving the aristocrats that damages their brains and turns them into slaves.

Justen convinces Isla, the ruler of Albion, that he needs to be able to do research to continue to find a cure -- research that his famous grandmother started years ago. Isla thinks Justen and her best friend, Persis, should pretend to be in a romantic relationship. What Justen doesn't know is that Persis is the secret spy who is rescuing aristrocrats of Galatea. Persis finds out things about Justen that causes her to believe his motives may not be truthful.

The politics, and the history of how the islands got to this point is complex, but interesting. The characters are well developed. I really liked Persis. She acts pretty much like a rich airhead -- but is really an intelligent and very successful spy. There are subtle nuances that add a lot to Across a Star-Swept Sea. The intricacies of the disease, how it affects the "regs" as opposed to the "aristos" and how the disease has changed over the years is all very intriguing. The technology is unique, and the differences between Galatea and Albion technology just adds to the tension.

The plot is steady, although I wouldn't consider Across a Star-Swept Sea to be unputdownable. The ending provides much tension, but up until that it's just a really interesting, well-paced story that I really enjoyed.

Because of the details, I wouldn't recommend Across a Star-Swept Sea to reluctant readers or younger teens. Although it adds a bit to the story to have read For Darkness Shows the Stars, it isn't necessary. I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I can't comment on Across a Star-Swept Sea as a retelling. Those teens who like a bit of espionage with their romance will enjoy this one for sure.

Published by Balzer + Bray, October 15, 2013
Copy obtained from Edelweiss
464 pages

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I am so excited to read this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I got it from Edelweiss as well, but my Kindle must have eaten it or something. It just disappeared. I'm waiting on my copy to arrive. I can't wait to dive in!

  2. Sounds like it is worth the read. I liked For Darkness, but haven't been motivated to get to this one yet

  3. I really loved the first book, and I can't resist any story that has spies in it! Super excited to get to this one soon. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it. Lovely review!

  4. This one wasn't on my radar, but it sounds really interesting. I'll have to add it to my never ending tbr list. I usually seem to enjoy the same titles you do.


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