I highly advise for a third installment of this books.
With a twisty, complicated plot, with some For Darkness Shows the Stars people, the return of the Wild Poppy, technology like never before seen & lots of Justen & Persis.
Plus Persis & Justen.
I kid you not, this book heart attacked the shit out of me. I read it up to pieces & loved the fuck out of it! For starters, it has everything I like about a book; from the complicated not-love relationships to confusing friendships all the way to kickassery & action.
So, here's the thing. This will be a non-review, where I will point out real, fair, not-made-up reasons of why there. Must. Be. A sequel.
First things first. Oh my god, you, Persis! There is no doubt that she's my hero. I loved Persis determination to hide her real identity & be the most acclaimed air head on Albion's court so she could become the most acclaimed spy & savior of New Pacifica.
Yes, yes, this was amazing!
By day she's Persis Flake, court's shallow, stupid & uninterested girl, while by night *evil smile* she becomes the Wild Poppy, mastermind & responsible of saving aristos & enemies of the galatean revolution.
Beautiful, brilliant, resourceful, she got it.
Then again, if someone will cross the sea to risk her life like that, you can only expect it to worth something. Sure, she's saving lots of lives, but hey, the extreme amounts of action she gets in every scene is the real deal breaker. & for me too!!
The missions Persis carried away as the Wild Poppy in Galatea were total nail biters. & here's where I present to you,
Reason #1 of why a sequel is needed
I need MORE. More action!
More badass spy scenes!
More intrigue & conspiracy theories & fights with the bitch!!
It's a fact that I'm all over Persis political mind, cleverness & sarcastic comments. She's great, the kind of character you wish were real, & that's perhaps why her disguise as the sweetest stupid bothered me at times.
Is the best cover the Wild Poppy could yet, yes.
You need wit to play dumb, fine.
Still... Persis is the the Princess Regent closest friend. Isla doesn't have it easy, trying to rule over such macho society, what kind of help is Persis Flake? NONE, I tell you!
On the other hand, Persis fucking Blake could have been a great social influence that could have helped her friend in her first months as regent of Albion.
Ow, Isla... Ah, Isla was wonderful as ruler! (I shall whoosh about her later).
The act also affected Persis' life too much.
Clearly she was set to make some sacrifices in order to save people in Galatea, so hurt her reputation is not much in exchange. But what about her parents?
Her relationship with her father was very damaged. & why must this happen when her mom was... sick.
Anyway. Regardless of my feeling about Persis act, she was amazing at it.
Now, lets see.
Schemes & blindsides, consorting with the enemy in order to benefit your interests (as a spy!), help the princess legitimate her rule through deception; a lie of a romance that ends in unexpected something (love)...?
OMG, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!
That is exactly the kind of love development I like!
& man, does this book deliver. Beyond the fact that Persis & Justen are perfect for each other (& that Isla mentions it several times to nag Persis) is the fact that they deny it AND/or are to busy regarding the plot to realize.
The major peeve I had with For Darkness Shows the Stars is that I wanted TENSION, but I got tension instead.
Hell, Across a Star Swept Sea is made up of great, pointy, hurtful splinters of TENSION!!
Never mind my craziness, I loved that.
Persis is neck deep with the Wild Poppy, & she can't trust Justen by any means because he's the enemy. That she has to fake a romance with him is bad enough; that he'd be her dream boy (smart, handsome & all that) makes it all kinds of worse.
But she wouldn't let all those confusing feelings distract her. Instead she sails south to Galatea to save some galateans.
Because she's badass like that.
Justen, well, as a good revolutionary, he has too many prejudices against aristos. He brushed Persis as shallow & stupid all too quickly... the better for Persis & her act.
Yet, when he was beginning to trust her & reach out of his revolutionary guilt & loneliness, BUM!
You are dealing with an SPY, Justen!
Not that he realizes.
Then he kisses her to prove something, but that's not the point. Persis played some interesting psychological games with his head, driving his revolutionary guilt to the point that he feared his actions would hurt his sister, the person he loved the most.
Isn't it romantic?
Oh, the confusion!
Oh, the doubt!
Oh my heart, this was so good.
Is not just the circumstances of how they met or that there were lies upon lies. Persis' little heart & personal issues beyond the Wild Poppy affected her take on liking Justen when she shouldn't.
Love was magma, shooting from the Earth. It had the potential to form pillars of rock that would last for a thousand years or plumes of ash that choked the sky. She would never love like her father, never let herself be loved like her mother.
Our girl has kind of closed herself about the idea of love. She thinks that there's no boy alive who can love her because what she is & not in spite of it; because of her brilliance & not just her pretty face.
Considering she's a little crazy, she might have been right.
But then HE COMES AROUND & AAAH...
Reason #2 of why a sequel is needed
This is how I like my romances to happen.
& just that.
It was perfect.
I want more of this (the contradictions) & more of them (the unexplored passion). The end was so very sweet, after that roller coaster of stuff they did & thought about each other, it was amazing.
But I also need... more. Something more. I need to see, er, read them go beyond "this kiss I will give you is real". To finally see each other as they are, without the masks & with the secrets on the table.
The sequel's plot should unite them AND challenge them as a couple.
PLEASE, somebody hear this, I am begging you!!!
Talking about Justen, he was my great dilemma.
One moment I was reaching for the darts to knock him out, the next I was loving him.
I know, I didn't get it. & he bought Persis act too easily, he SHOULD have known better, so I kind of wanted to slap him, too.
Anyway, I think that in this regard, one of the best parts of the book is when it hits him that he may have been more interested in her than he pretended to be. That he cared!
Vania's visit had proved that. After all, she'd as good as threatened Persis yesterday.
And Justen had almost bitten her head of for it.
Dude, the realization made him want to slam his head on a wall.
Reason #3 of why a sequel is needed
The women in this book are pure kickass material! They are so badass, & the boys... well, they used their brain, which is good, too!
So Justen is a genius & Persis is badass as shit, okay.
But Isla, OMG! Princess Regent Isla (along with Andrine, who is a total lady) was a master of regal shut-the-fuck-up faces.
I LOVED how she managed her precarious situation on the power, given that the neighboring country had killed its queen & that the Councilman in her nation didn't respect her or acknowledge her as ruler because she is a woman.
& she kicked some ass, too!
In her very royal, queenly way, of course.
“You think they like you because you’re soft on them. But all you’re teaching them is that you’re soft.”
Now Isla did turn, and fixed Councilman Shift with her most royal glare. “And if I let your insult pass unpunished, sir? What am I teaching you?”
Shift’s mouth snapped shut.
In her defense, Councilman Shift was a total asshole.
Also, it was her idea that Persis & Justen faked a relationship, so he could stay in Albion & do his anti-revolutionary investigation, while Persis could collect information from the enemy.
Considering all the above, that can never be a bad idea.
I see what you did there, Diana Peterfreund.
In one hand we have Galatea, currently under a revolutionary rule of terror, previously ruled by a queen for hundreds of years. Where the problem is class inequality.
On the other we have Albion, an almost paradise, ruled by kings since recently. Where the problem is gender inequality, & where the diseased King's daughter can't do more than wait for her baby brother to grow up & take the throne.
Reason #4 of why a sequel is needed
Just imagine all the social, political & ideological things a sequel could deal with! That's be wonderful (specially if the darlings are involved).
Plus some Andromeda's guilt, *muajajaja*
*sigh* It was everything I love in a romantic development & action, just bring another book & my year will be complete.
I'll be waiting.