I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
on 5th April 2016
Genres: Retellings, Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Tell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.
The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…
A New York that is split into two cities – Light and Dark. Where those in the Dark City go hungry and crave revenge, while those in the Light City live a more privileged life. The Dark City is suppressed by the Light Council of the Light City and a revolutionary group (the sans-merci) forms with the aim to take back control.
In a world where there are two types of magic – Light and Dark. It’s a world where the magic of Dark Magicians can be used as a last resort to save a life, but which creates a dark Doppleganger of the saved. Dopplegangers are hooded, collared and feared by all.
This is a retelling of a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Now let me first say that I haven’t read Dickens’ novel (I know, I know) but I’m familiar with the story. In fact I read up on the story before starting this book so that I could assess and identify the similarities. However you do not have to be familiar with the original to read and enjoy this book.
I could see the similarities with Dickens’ work as I read this book. From the blindingly obvious, a main character called Lucie Manette, to the decidedly more subtle. But this isn’t an analysis of their similarities, if it were I could go on for a while, so let me tell you about this book.
Lucie is a Light magician born in the Dark City. However, she is now a resident of the Light City. She is the girlfriend of Ethan Stryker, the blood of one of the most powerful men in the Light City. She had her own childhood fame and so the young couple are revered by the City and its media.
When Ethan is accused of treason, a crime which usually culminates in immediate death, Lucie tries to save him. However his rescuer ends up being a Doppleganger, Carwyn, a young man who wears the same face as Ethan under his doppleganger collar and hood. Carwyn is from the Dark City and being a doppleganger is naturally untrustworthy.
I mentioned Lucie’s childhood fame? Well she’s somewhat of a symbol used by the sans-merci resistance, who aim to topple the Light Council, free Lucie (who they see as being trapped hostage by the Strykers) and reunite New York into one city.
Gosh, as I started writing this I realised how much detail there is in this book. It’s not an easy story to summarise, at least not without spoilers, so if my summary’s a bit dodgy that’s why!
Honestly for the first third of this book I wasn’t fussed. I wasn’t particularly enjoying it but I do hate giving up on a book. I’m glad I stuck with it though because the rest of the book swept me up and I really enjoyed it.
I found the similarities with The Tale of Two Cities really interesting. Obviously this book is hugely different from the original but I really liked how Sarah Rees Brennan drew upon her love of the classic to write this.
Lucie and Ethan? I totally wasn’t bothered about their romance, at least at the start of the book. There was something about the couple that I just didn’t take to. However, as the story progressed I suppose I started to ‘get’ their relationship more.
The star for me though was Carwyn, he was definitely my favourite. This Doppleganger who is treated like filth by the world, who”s inherently evil, but who really made this book for me.
All in all, I’m glad I stuck with this book as I enjoyed it in the end. I often judge a book on whether I thrust it into my husband’s hands and insist he read it – I won’t be doing that with this one but it was enjoyable all the same.