Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund [Joint Review!]

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)3 out of 5 Robots!

Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Release: October 15, 2013
Hardcover:  449 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon and Julia
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
1. What did you think of Across a Star Swept Sea? The quick and dirty!
Shannon: I loved the concept and thought it was going to be really fun and exciting.  It wasn't.
Julia: Across a Star Swept Sea is extremely slow, wordy and needs more action! I really liked the story though.

2. How did you feel about the chemistry between Justen and Persis?
Shannon:  Ok.  So here's the thing.  I like romances in books.  I don't necessarily want those romances to overshadow the more important plot aspects (like, oh the world is about to explode into a million bits, but I'm so mad that you are looking at another girl!  I mean really....let's focus on our priorities here), but I certainly don't mind a romance playing into story.  I especially love romances that start out with two people that hate each other, but then start to love each other.  So that's what I thought we were getting here.  Unfortunately, a little TOO much time is spent on hate aspect and not enough on the part where they start to love each other.  The book basically ends right when the truth is revealed.  I don't know, it may work for someone people, but I just wanted more.  More I say, MORE!
Julia: Exactly what Shannon said. I like a little bit of romance in my back story. Just a little though, I prefer an awesome action packed plot over romance. HOWEVER. The plot isn't action packed- which would have been ok if I had something else. Like watching a cute couple hate each other and then fall in love. And you KNOW these two are going to end up loving each other. But we really didn't get to see their relationship progress, it is like bam at the end. They could have had chemistry, but the author didn't want to show it to us.
3. Did the plot satisfy you? Why or Why not?
Shannon: I honestly thought it would be WAY more exciting.  I mean the Wild Poppy is a covert operative rescuing people from certain doom!  Exciting!  Only, there really isn't very much of that.  Instead we are treating to long passages on ethics.  (I just don't find that every interesting.  Especially when we are talking about genetic ethics.) I was excited when Kai and Elliot show up, but they were never given anything to do!  It was pointless really.  I loved that Peterfreund did a gender swap with Persis being the "Scarlet Pimpernel" character, but everything else fell a little flat for me.  It was a real struggle for me to finish.  I don't know if I wasn't in the mood or what, but I was dreadfully bored through most of it. 
Julia: It didn't satisfy me because I wanted more chemistry earlier on in the book between Justen and Persis. I also think there is way too much talk about the research... as in, all the weird cure stuff for the Reduced is explained to the reader in too much detail. Not enough of Persis being the Wild Poppy, just talking about being the Wild Poppy. More action. Or romance. Less explanation!

4. What about the ending? Everything resolved? Was it lacking anything?

Shannon: The ending was fine.  Things were mostly resolved.  But it was very much lacking in resolving Persis and Justen's relationship!  If you are going to spend all this time leading up to the Big Reveal, then for godsake, make it a big payoff too!
Julia:I think I liked the ending more than anything else. Everything seems to be resolved, all my questions were answered.

5. Compare it to its predecessor, For Darkness Shows the Stars.
Shannon: I liked the first one better.  Partially because I wasn't expecting a lot of action, but also because I felt the characters and subject matter were more interesting.  But I've noticed that romance building is not one of Peterfreund's strengths.  Both books suffer from an adrupt transition from bickering to being in love, which little to no payoff.  I am annoyed that she closes the curtain right as our characters get together.
Julia: For Darkness Shows the Stars is so much better than Across a Star Swept Sea. Though this one could have been better, it had so much more going for it! But in the first installment, I was holding my breath with anticipation. I was rooting for Kai and Elliot, I really cared about the characters.

6. What was your star rating? Why? Who would you recommend it to?

Shannon: I'm going to give it a 3.5.  I think it was well written, but I was bored out of my mind.  I think readers who are interested in these books should give them a try if they are interesting.  Your mileage may vary.
Julia: I'm giving it a 3 out of 5. It really is a well written book, I was interested in seeing how it finished. Those fans of Jane Austen may want to give it a try. The plot is intriguing, it just felt like it was lacking for me... But I do think that this book could work for a lot of people and those that loved the previous book may love this one too.

Disclosure: We received a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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