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Across a Star-Swept Sea

Across a Star-Swept Sea - 4.5 starsAcross a Star-Swept Sea is a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars and while I don’t think it is absolutely necessary for you to read For Darkness Shows the Stars first, it might be helpful. You get more of the backstory on Reduction and the Aristo/Reg history which definitely ties into this novel. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Kai and Elliott make an appearance in this book. New Pacifica is made up of a set up islands, Albion and Galatea. While the Aristos on Galatea are being attacked by the Regs in power, Persis Blake has decided to take on the role of flighty socialite to help the people of Galatea. You might ask yourself how that works. Well Persis is actually the Wild Poppy who happens to be the Albion responsible for saving the Aristos that the Regs are reducing with the pink pills created by the Helos – specifically, Justen Helo. Her role as a socialite is her cover and she does her best to hide who she really is underneath the hair and clothes. Justen Helo is a medic and researcher who comes from a very well-known family, the Helos. His goal is to make it to Albion to get away from General Aldred but also use his knowledge of the Pinks (the pills being used on the Aristos) to come up with a way to help the Regs and Aristos that are in danger on Galatea. On his way off the island, Justen runs into Persis and it only helps to skew his perception of who she is. Between the two of them, they have plenty of secrets and despite that, they find themselves becoming closer. I love the characters in the books that Peterfreund creates. Persis is smart and savvy but puts on a show to keep people from seeing what she is truly capable of. She also dreads the day she has to marry because despite how advanced they are as a society in Albion, the belief is still there that men need to be in charge. This helps her keep her secret identity as Wild Poppy hidden as most people wouldn't consider that the revolutionary would be a sixteen year old girl. Justen is one of those people who is book smart. He doesn't appreciate the idea of court or navigating politics just for appearances so he has made a conscious effort to stay in the lab doing research. When he is forced to navigate the politics of court, he finds that he doesn't have the patience and almost admires Persis for her ability to do so. The secondary characters were great as well and I hope we get to see more of them in one of the future novels Peterfreund gives us. Isla, Tero, Andrine all make up the League of the Wild Poppy with Persis and I want more of their stories. Remy was great too. Vania made the perfect villain – for sure. She didn't care what others thought about her other than her father (General Aldred). In the end, she did whatever she wanted as long as she felt the outcome was a benefit to the revolution on Galatea. This book is based on the Scarlet Pimpernel which I have not read but I might just have to check it out. I found this book to be just as good as Peterfreund’s first book and am definitely looking forward to the next one she writes. Peterfreund creates these interesting worlds that make it very difficult to put her books down. I honestly wanted more of this one as I thought the ending felt a bit rushed but otherwise I thought this one was very well done. Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray for the review copy.