Book: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Genre: YA Science Fiction
I was so looking forward to this book having loved the first book, For Darkness Shows the Stars, so so much last year.
But while this one had essentially the same feel as the first one, it just wasn't quite the same for me! And I know I'm going to have a hard time putting my finger on just exactly why. Maybe it was just one of those mood things, and if so, dang, that's frustrating!
Anyway, this particular tale takes place in the same world as the first one, the world full of characters dealing with the consequences of the mistakes their ancestors made when they tried to create a superhuman race. This ended up causing havoc on the gene pool and instead, created people born with major mental issues, which they call Reduced. At first, I thought perhaps this story took place years and years after the first one, but later on we find out that no, it's only shortly after, but in a different part of the world.
In fact, the setting is in what we know as Hawaii... I think. Or some other nearby Polynesian island. There are two islands, who have quite the major conflict with each other. (And I'm not sure I understood what the conflict is, which is partly why I had a hard time with this book, much of the plot details were lost on me.) Our main character has taken it upon herself to free certain people (the Reduced, or the people like them who have taken a drug to cure the problem which has now backfired) and she calls herself the Wild Poppy.
Yes, this book is a retailing of The Scarlet Pimpernel, just as the first one was a retelling of Persuasion.
And yes, we can see all the fun similarities, complete with all the fun differences too. That's what I like about these books. The obvious retelling and yet the unique take on it too. It's awesome.
My problem with this one was that the plot was much too complicated for me and I felt the characters got lost in that. You know I'm a character person! And I'd much rather have lots of interaction between them than lots and lots of parts that exists just to explain the complication of the plot.
And these characters were pretty cool. Our Wild Poppy spy had some pretty nifty gadgets and technology going for her. And the guy she wanted to love, but couldn't because she thought he was for the other side, was pretty cool too, yet, we just didn't get to know him well enough. I needed more!
Also for much of the book I was wondering if Kai and Elliot from the first book would show up. To answer this question for you, I would just say..... keep reading!
Bottom line: I totally love the style, setting and take on this retelling, however, the plot details bogged me down. And like I said above, this could have just been my "unable to focus" mood this past week!
And I'm all for a science-filled background and plot, but biology (especially genetics) is not my strong point, and there was some stuff that just went over my head and I had to skim through it. If you're interested in that kind of research, I think you'd really enjoy this book. From City of Books
The ending provides much tension, but up until that it's just a really interesting, well-paced story that I really enjoyed. From Annette's Book Spot
To me, the strongest parts of Across a Star-Swept Sea were these moments when characters had to take moral stands, to come to terms with their historical or personal culpability in a situation and figure out what to do. From YA Romantics
There wasn’t a moment I didn’t like it, I never got bored and I enjoyed every part of it. From The Reader Lines