Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
"Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction--the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars--is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries' weapon is a drug that damages their enemies' brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.
On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo... is her most dangerous mission ever.
Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can't risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he's hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country's revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he's pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she's not only risking her heart, she's risking the world she's sworn to protect."- summary from Amazon
I absolutely adored For Darkness Shows the Stars, which is a companion book to this (but should be read first, in my opinion), and was excited to read this book. I didn't feel as enthralled with this one though; it's still a very good book but I felt I had to push myself to continue a bit more when I started out with it. Once the story gets going though, I had a hard time putting it down.
I loved Persis as a character and enjoyed reading about her journeys as the Wild Poppy and having to conceal her true nature when in court. It was an interesting plot point to read. I also enjoyed being able to see into the minds and hearts of other characters as the story saw fit, flitting around to Justen every so often as well as other secondary characters.
The world building here was done really well too. The whole Reduction is re-explained here but there's a whole different side to it from For Darkness Shows the Stars. It was nice to see it done in a new way here, and also to introduce a whole bunch of advanced technology into the mix. There's also another part I'm very happy about, but want to keep that under wraps since it's a spoiler.
Overall though, another really good novel from Peterfreund. Definitely check out this and the companion novel, For Darkness Show the Stars. They're simply wonderful books.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.