Monday, September 30, 2013

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In place of the Luddites and Posts, we’ve Regs and Aristos. In place of higher ups who fear the scientific, we’ve another type who has taken discovery and science to an unprecedented – almost frivolous- level. Clearly, this story isn’t happening in the same world as Elliot’s and Kai’s, maybe doing so has rendered all those icky (because they could be real) things, like Post-reduction, to engineer or not to engineer, and subsequent hierarchy less pressing… perhaps it’s the work that’s retold here that’s responsible for that: what with a lead who’s all flighty and flakey and another so utterly confounded by the first?

So, all those dark icky bits are present, the same take a back seat to the mess of two countries about to change; one is teetering on the edge of revolution; and the other seeing the changes their own has yielded. It could all get very big and political, but never boring. It’s in this aspect that some of the “dark” that characterized Luddite-Post interaction in the first book became felt here; there’s a clear division between the two places, in what’s perceived as deserved and just. Where one saw revolution, another saw a cycle where no one could win. It’s a division that’s made even clearer Persi and Justen: two people from either side coming together and each bearing secrets. Again, it’s could all get very political! Only not just that…

Scarlet of Pimpernel is retold thus: with Persi putting on a front as flakey the Lady Blake contrasted to Justen as medic, desperately in need of redeeming this undisclosed wrong doing. First impressions of one for the other made for some pretty interesting (read: frustrating) moments. There’s that an eventual (inevitable?) draw between them forced together as they were... but… but to be honest, I got a kick out of the set up. She’s too smart for her own good and hides the same; he’s too sympathetic for his own good, so he too disguises it. Her poking him with each word uttered, and him being too dismissive of her to take it for what it was. (Really, though- for such a smart guy, well, sometimes he really wasn’t.) Then layer on the complication of what she was doing and why and how – nobility of birth doesn’t confer nobility of character, except in her case, maybe… Yes, it did. Of course, it’s not all about the big guy saving the small people. That would be too simple, and this is anything but.

It’s not as dark as the first book, with reduction and science and hierarchy being the focus there -but it could get dark and icky on it’s own with moments of punishments and cycles of who deserves what and when and why. It’s the lightened some by the front she puts on and his reaction to her... Yup, another win for me.


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