“If they didn’t take you seriously, they would never see you coming.”  


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.


Did that synopsis confuse you as much as it did me? I mean, it sounds kind of interesting, right? But all those new words and the whole Reduction premise seem so confusing. I’ve read Peterfreund’s other books (most of them, anyway) and they were

Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t get any less confusing. The entire book, I struggled to keep straight the Reduced, the post-Reduced, the terminology- everything. I liked the book, when I did understand it, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of important plot points that could have made a really big impact- that could have made me love the book- because the backstory was explained in such a roundabout way.

The characters I liked. They were dynamic, they changed, they served a purpose, and especially Persis didn’t give up her purpose because ‘that there Helo is pretty cute. He’s my mortal enemy, but whatever. My country doesn’t matter anymore.’ That was refreshing. Persis was a strong lead, and I really liked her personality and the fact that she was willing to sacrifice her reputation to serve a greater cause. Most heroines won’t do that, at least not to this extent. And the princess regent was also not swayed by what her friends thought- a true depiction of what a ruler should be. So I really did enjoy the character interaction when they weren’t talking about all the details of Reduction and forced Reduction and whatnot.

As for the length, normally I like a good, long book, but this felt like forced length. Too much time was spent on describing the math and science of the genetic mutations- and that’s big, coming from me, because I love the details of things like this. I usually want to know the logic behind the genetics, but this time it fell flat to me- too much roundabout explaining and never a solid, direct, ‘This is what happened.’ So that was a problem for me, but to others, maybe it was great. I’m just one person.

Overall, I might recommend this book to a select few people that I think could enjoy the details and the deep world-building that was done (impressive, but confusing) but to the general public, I would say to find another book that isn’t this intense. It’s not a light fluff read, and you should only read it if you’re ready to really put thought into it.


This was a solidly clean read. The only thing that I would even consider is the fact that the descriptions of the Reduced and the violent lengths the Galateans are willing to go to for their revolution. Other than that, I can’t think of anything that I found objectionable to my sense of morality. Kudos to Diana P. for that!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!