Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Summary from Goodreads:
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan weaves a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.
I am an insanely big Sarah Rees Brennan fan. I had no idea copies of this ARC would be available at ALA midwinter. I’m pretty sure some kind of loud screeching noise (of joy) subconsciously burst from my mouth when I saw a hug pile of these babies on the floor. It was one of those moments where I had to clutch the book to my chest and have a book hug for about 10 minutes. I seriously couldn’t even look at any other books for 10 minutes after picking this up. It took ever ounce of self-control I had not to just leave the conference then and go home and read this.
I also need to add that I love Charles Dickens. I was kind of that pretentious 11/12 year old who went to parties/family get-togethers with either a Dickens or an Austen book. While, A Tale of Two Cities is not my favorite (granted, I read it way before I knew anything about the French Revolution), I was beyond excited to get a magical retelling by Brennan.
I was not disappointed. I definitely loved Brennan’s version of Lucie so much more. I know we all hate when people compare all YA things to one of the few extraordinarily popular YA books like the Hunger Games. However, I couldn’t help but make Lucie/Katniss connections. She was such a good character. I loved that she wasn’t all good. She wasn’t always doing the right thing to do the right thing. She did what she had to do to survive and to protect her dad. And I love a main character that isn’t so good all the time. It’s just so much more real this way. Any way, she was a total Katniss type character. Also, both leading ladies played the symbol for a revolution.
I love how creative Brennan got with the setting. She made a light magic versus dark magic NYC, where the dark part was sort of quarantined off and always being compared to being buried underground. I was kind of picturing some kind of Holocaust level Jewish ghettos for the dark magicians. Also, the light magicians need the dark musicians to drain their blood when they use up their magic. They rely on the dark, but also segregate them and treat them poorly. Everything about this world was so genius. I could see the world being divided like this if light and dark magic were a thing.
And the parallels between this world and revolutionary France and London (during that time) are just remarkable. There were some Dickens quotes that Brennan took and then just expanded upon in such creative, unique ways. It was a bit of a sad story, but because I know how A Tale of Two Cities ends, I knew this ending was coming, and I actually never cried in it.
So much of this book can be compared to Dickens’ novel. Brennan, somehow incredibly, really does follow the same storyline. She twists in magic and modern technology and just fits it all together with this classic story that can never really be out-dated. I can’t help but make connections between the divisions of classes and magic types and the divisions of classes and races in the real world today.
The one thing that did kind of irritate me, just a little bit, was the repetitiveness of the light/dark metaphor. At first, I loved it. It made sense with the story and the quotes from Dickens. But, after a while, after all the skyline images and rooftop viewings, I was bored with the metaphor. I got it. If I were her editor, I’d just say to cut maybe half of the light/dark metaphors. Let readers pick that up on their own.
Otherwise, I loved this. I loved the modern versions of these classic characters. I loved the magical/political setting. I loved the references to the past classic. And I loved the new additions to the story. I love Brennan’s voice and all that she brought to the table here. There was one overdone metaphor that I wish it was cut loose a little earlier on, but otherwise, what a fantastic book! I give it a 9/10.

1 comment:

  1. Awww book hug moments are the best :D I have yet to read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan but she's highly recommended by blogger friends so I WILL read her soon^^ I'd never heard of this particular book before now but the premise is intriguing! And the NYC setting seals the deal for me!! Thanks for putting this on my radar Nori and I'm happy you loved it son much!