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Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars Book 2) Kindle Edition
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This is also my second encounter with Diana Peterfreund’s writing. And, she is masterful.
Peterfreund reinvented the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel for the future. I didn’t realize that in the first book, the world she created around the retelling of Persuasion would be the same world continued in Across A Star-Swept Sea.
This concept is quite unique, and I love how the original story being told is completely re-imagined. The author created a completely standalone world that doesn’t need the retelling aspect but is enriched by it. I think that’s extremely important in a retelling.
There’s a difference in using an idea as inspiration and rehashing the same exact story. Peterfreund excels at the former.
I must say, though, that the world is a very complex one. I had to mentally rehearse the history of New Pacificia, as things can get a bit confusing.
I’ll summarize it for you: In a futuristic world, people have meddled with genetics to improve humanity. As is the case with any gene tampering, it backfired. The wealthy who could afford gene modification became reduced, a term that signifies a mental handicap where the people affected cannot speak and have reduced brain function.
Those who didn’t undergo genetic modifications are called Regs (regulars). This history is true in both stories.
However, in Across A Star-Swept Sea, we learn that a woman named Persistence Helo created a cure for for the reduced and inoculated the entire generation affected by the Reduction, thus reversing the effects of being reduced.
The twist is that the children of the Reduced have DAR – dementia of acquired regularity – when they age. So there are regs, working class types and Aristos, the ruling class in New Pacifica.
With such a complex history there comes interest but also confusion. I hope my description doesn’t put you off. Across A Star-Swept Sea has a fascinating back story and one that serves the plot very well.
If you can mentally parse out those details (which you can skim the basics of while reading), you are good to go.
Because the characters offer up the rest of the complexity. Persis is my literary hero. She’s smart and beautiful and a planning mastermind. She believes strongly in what she’s doing – aiding helpless aristos from being harmed by unstable revolutionaries.
And when she meets Justen Helo (the grandson of Persistence), she’s in danger. Not only of having her true identity revealed (she secrets around as the infamous Wild Poppy) but of having her heart broken (sorry, I couldn’t help add that dramatic flair).
Not that Justen would even know. All he sees is the vain and airheadded Persis Blake. The alternating POVs also help round out character development and reasoning behind particular opinions.
I actually enjoyed how political this book was…and how certain characters from the previous book make an appearance.
Some may be put off by the complex background of the story, but if they push through they’ll see the stunning writing and inspiring characters. The changing POV was perfect for this story, and I love how well defined and real Persis and Justen were. Across A Star-Swept Sea is a beautiful story, and I’ll officially read anything Peterfreund decides to write!
So if you feel bogged down in the beginning ... keep reading!
Although this is book two in the FDSTS series, it isn't necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one. In fact, I had forgotten so much of that book by the time I began this one. It was okay, though. This takes place soon after the events of that book, but it is at a completely different area of the world. This group of people live on neighboring islands, and their people believe that they are the only survivors in the world after the great Reduction. Although I say that it is not necessary to have read book one, I do think that it would have been really interesting to me to remember the events of that book as I read this one, just to see the contrast in the way that the two societies evolved after the Reduction. Fascinating! And, for all of you fans of Elliot, Kai, Ro, and Andromeda ... they make an appearance (an important appearance) in this story (bonus!).
There is romance in this story, but it is one of the more unique romantic stories I have read. Why? Well, for pretty much the entire book the romance is a fake, put on by the lead characters, Persis and Justen, in order to create a misleading story for the people. Persis is not sure if Justen is someone to be trusted, and Justen believes that Persis is a flighty and superficial flake. Neither should fall for the other, and yet they do ... sort of ... eventually. I'll leave that story to the readers to discover. It is sweeter that way. And, boy, is it sweet! I really loved these two characters and the many different difficulties they faced in their two different societies. It is too complicated to explain exactly what pulls against these two as they try to do the right thing in a world that does not always support those good choices, but the ideas and themes presented through their choices were wonderful. These themes are not pounded over our heads as we read. Instead they come naturally as you are thrown into the lives of these characters and feel the emotions they feel as they try to make the right choice in terribly difficult situations. It truly is perfection in writing.
I highly recommend this story. There is richness in the details and wonderful themes that are applicable outside of the pages of this book. These themes are things that kept me thinking long after I had finished this book. Five stars!
Most recent customer reviews
I'm torn between "Wow!" and "Okay."
First, let me explained what I liked.Read more