Author: Sarah Rees BrennanEdition: eGalley courtesy of NetgalleyRelease Date: April 5th, 2016Rating: 5 Stars
I received a copy of Tell the Wind and Fire from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Tell the Wind and Fire was one of my most anticipated releases this year for a couple of reasons. One, I absolutely love the classic Tale of Two Cities and had never read a retelling of it before, and, two, because it's a standalone novel, something I don't read many of.
This novel follows Lucie Manette, a light magician who was born and raised in the dark city. In order to get out of the dark city and save her father, she had to take drastic measures, carving herself into nothing less than an iconic figure. Now, several years later, comfortably settled in the light city and in love with the heir to a fortune of money and power, the dark city has begun rising, and she's at the center of it.
I loved the characters in this book. My favorite was easily Carwyn, Ethan's doppleganger, but I ended up loving Lucie for her unique personality and Ethan as well. Lucie, to me, didn't read like other female protagonists. She wasn't hot headed, like many of the ladies that take center stage, or cold and calculating (which seems to be the only other option, sometimes). No, she was straight up practical and weighed everything carefully, and honestly, no matter how virtuous or despicable, and made a decision that made sense in the situation. I rather enjoyed seeing her make only good (or at least, good for the situation in that it worked) decisions without being the smartest one in the room. It made it easy to connect to her. While Ethan doesn't get as fleshed out as I would have liked, he did end up growing on me, and the way he treats other people was wonderful to see. I do wish other characters had the chance to shine, though, since I thought certain background characters had more personality than they were given.
My favorite part of the novel, though, were the social underpinnings. Obviously, there was tension between those with power and those without, highlighting, perhaps, some of the things going on in our society, but above all there were clear and direct messages about how to treat women and humans in general. Lucie, when interacting with Carwyn or Jim, and even Ethan, would make a point, either out loud or in her head, to announce how you should treat the person you love. There are about a trillion beautiful quotes that have to do with this topic, so I recommend reading the novel for this reason alone.
The plot was very good, though somewhat predictable since I have read Tale of Two Cities and knew that this was a retelling. I liked the original spin on the story that Brennan has taken, though, and there were several moments (particularly near the end) that surprised me. Of course, I can't tell you what those are without spoiling you.