Review: Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Posted January 28, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews, Young Delight / 12 Comments

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Review: Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Across A Star-Swept Sea

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic Romance, Young Adult Romance
Published by Balzer + Bray
Released on October 14, 2014
Pages: 452
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

After being left in awe of the worldbuilding and plot of For Darkness Shows the Stars and reading the short intro novella that came between the first book and this one, I was ready to drop back in the author’s post-apocalyptic world for this exciting retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel.


I suppose since this is more companion novel than sequel that Across a Star-Swept Sea could be read standalone or out of order, but I think some of the late crossover elements as well as background make more sense when they are read in order.

The author weaves an elaborate history and backdrop for the events and setting of her story.  I like how she does this while still delivering an exciting and well-paced story.  The characters are colorful and larger than life.  They have their flaws and vulnerabilities, but their strengths, too.  The stakes are much higher in this one with death seeming easier than the punishment of a pill that takes away intelligence and reduces people to little more than docile animals if they are ‘tried and found guilty’ by the revolution.

Like the earlier book, this one retells a classic or, rather, is influenced by an old classic, Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernell.  The elements of drastic and bloody revolution, some revolutionaries only wanting to go as far as change and others have a thirst for horrific deeds and power with another nation just across the sea who have a stable government.  This calls for the need of a hero who can stand up to the atrocity until peace and sound thinking can be restored.

I found it fascinating that everyone is forced to consider what a class-based society, equality of humanity, equality of gender, repression vs. freedom of choice, and constant revenge vs forgiveness are the elements involved at the heart of the story.  Relevant one might suggest.

Persis is the main narrator of the story with her male counterpart, Justen, as the one who most shares the narration.  They are seeming opposites and wary partners throughout.  Persis is an aristocrat and Justen a commoner.  She is also the heroic Wild Poppy who steps into the dangerous role of rescuing those most affected by the terror of the southern island’s bloody revolution.  Justen is a scientist from Galatea, the south island and he’s a revolutionary and is disgusted by aristos particularly the Albinians like Persis of the northern island.  He doesn’t take reform as far as others and is horrified by what is happening.  They work at cross purposes and together in turn because of their hidden identities and agendas.   They have a derision for each other’s respective ways of life until, in close proximity, they realize they might have ignorantly misunderstood.  Persis has to concede that Justen may have a point about many aristos and he learns that not all aristos are the same in their attitude toward commoners.  There’s a great tension there because they both have their secrets.  Persis and Justen have a love interest, but it is way in the back seat.  Rightly so, since they are both fighting to save people and break the power of the extreme revolutionaries not to mention they have reasons not to trust or respect each other- or so they think.

My only real niggle is the ending.  It came like rain on a campfire- rushed and abrupt and disappointing.  It leads the reader in the right direction in a hazy ‘this is how it will likely happen in the future’ way, but I wanted a bit more than just speculation and I definitely wanted something more for Persis and Justen after all they had been through.  A follow-up novella like what was done with the first book would have been great.  And that brings a second niggle to mind, actually- the crossover characters.  It felt more like a distraction even including them in this story since they, too, were part of that hazy, rushed ending.  I was left with a few ‘what abouts’ and I hate being left curious.

But, all in all, I loved the story and will miss this world that the author created.  I would snap up in a flash any new installments to the series if the author chose to write one.  Probably one of my favorite YA Post-Apocalyptic series ever and I heartily recommend it.


Romance Roundabout #27 Dy
Literary Pickers #27
Volcano Mt. TBR #16


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Vellum Voyages
4 years ago

What a gorgeous cover!!!!!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Vellum Voyages

Oh yes, this duology has great covers. I had to get paper copies of both for that reason. 🙂

Vellum Voyages
4 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

hehehehe nice! I love just looking at pretty book covers! This blue just looks gorgeousssssss

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Vellum Voyages

It’s even better than the picture because all those purple fairylight dots kind of glow a little on my book and there are so many shades of blue and purple that come out in the background and her gown.

Jenea Whittington
4 years ago

This was such a great series! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

I really did. Yay for a fellow fan! I was bummed that there are only the two novels and two short stories. Great world she created.

Sunny Buzzy Books
4 years ago

The book sounds good. The cover is stunning and the title magical. I think this needs adding to the wishlist. 🙂

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Well, since your adding, don’t forget to slip book one, For Darkness Shows the Stars, too. LOL

Quinn's Book Nook
4 years ago

I really loved this book (I actually haven’t read book 1). I’m such a huge Scarlet Pimpernel fan, and I loved how she gender swapped the roles.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

I did love how this not only retold a great classic, but swapped the roles. Have you read Sharon Cameron’s Rook? Its a Pimpernel retelling, too.
For Darkness Shows the Stars has a much different tone and story, but it was also great. Hope you get the chance!

4 years ago

I read this too long ago to remember the details but I did enjoy it.

Karen @ For What It’s Worth

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Yes, I have a reading memory like that. Thank goodness for GoodReads where I can keep notes on my reads now. LOL