Author: Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2
Set in the universe of For Darkness Shows the Stars, Diana Peterfreund’s Across a Star-Swept Sea follows the story of the Wild Poppy and her quest to rescue the once-powerful aristos on the island of Galatea.
A shifting of powers on the southern island has given rise to a cruel form of retribution known as Reduction. On the northern island of Albion the young Princess Isla struggles to earn the respect of her people, leaving her hands tied when it comes to the conflict to the south.
Persis Blake is by all appearances the silly, shallow lady-in-waiting to the princess regent. But in reality she is the Wild Poppy, sending the revolutionaries of Galatea into a frenzy with her covert rescue missions. Dropped into her lap is the famous Justen Helo, celebrated revolutionist of Galatea, seeking sanctuary and hiding his own secrets about the conflict in the south. Persis embarks on her most dangerous mission yet: convincing the public she is in love with Justen and hiding her secret life from the inquisitive Galatean.
“At twelve years old, I was young and idealistic and lucky that I happened to be right. So that’s why I know it’s foolish to tell you how dangerous this whole Wild Poppy business is and utterly pointless to say you’re too young to pull it off. Because I know from experience that sometimes it’s only the young ones who are crazy enough to change the world.”
I wish every author was as committed as Peterfreund to the expansion of her universe. It’s easy to run with a plot without giving care to the setting in which it is taking place. Peterfreund is a master at crafting this wholly formed world.
Then there’s her main character Persis. Dear flighty, sharp, impossible Persis. Masquerading as a shallow, coquettish aristo Persis exhibits a level of humility that you can’t help but appreciate. Perhaps it is because I have too much pride myself that I’m able to understand how much Persis relinquishes to maintain her cover. Most people are frustrated when others do not see them for who they really are, which makes it all the more tragic to have to hide yourself when you wish so very desperately to be seen.
Across a Star-Swept Sea’s lush backdrop and strong female characters make it an absolute literary delight.
Slight Spoiler: My only criticism is my wish to see Persis interact more with those she kept her secret from after her identity was discovered. I wanted to see Persis be her full self with certain characters. I also wanted to know more about Citizen Aldred, considering the level of influence he had in several of the characters’ lives.