Saturday, 2 April 2016

Book Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Read: April 1- 2   Verdict: 4 stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

New York City is split into two part. Light and Dark. Light magicians who create magic using light (duh!) and sparkling rings live in the Light section and reign over Dark magicians and Dark citizens who are treated as second-class citizens. Dark magicians receive power through blood and darkness. Lucie was born to in the Dark city but is a Light magician and through certain circumstances earned her freedom into the Light city. Lucie's boyfriend Ethan is the golden child of the city and when one night his life is threatened, Carwyn reveals himself - Ethan's doppelgänger, someone created through dark magic and thought as evil and soulless. As a revolution sparks and people on both sides of New York begin to have their life threatened, Ethan, Carwyn and Lucie have to work together to try and save everyone.

Sarah Rees Brennan is one my favourite authors and I have read The Lynburn Legacy trilogy and The Demon's Lexicon trilogy (and loved them), as well as some other stories she has written. So I knew I had to read this and that I would most likely love it because I love her writing, her plots and her characters. I will admit though, I was a bit apprehensive going into Tell The Wind And Fire, mainly because it's a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, one of the very few books I have ever DNF'd. It was a classic I just didn't get on with, and a brief excerpt I had read of Tell the Wind and Fire that was shared by Brennan left me a bit confused re the magic system involving 'light' magic and rings.

I'm really pleased that I ended up for the most part loving the tale, though obviously not surprised. Even though I'd read maybe 50% of A Tale of Two Cities (and okay, I skimmed the rest and then looked up the story cause I wanted to know what happened) I could easily see the parallels between the two stories and the parts that Brennan really received inspiration from Dickens' classic. Lucie as a character was pretty interesting as a whole. She's someone who's not so pushed, I guess, into changing things. She's aware of what's going and knows that people in the Dark are not being treated well. As much as it hurts, she's not willing to put herself out there and speak up for fear of her father and the people she loves. While there's a part of me that kind of wants to dislike Lucie and there's times she's a bit bland because of her stance on these things, there's another part of me that respects her as well as she's battling something very hard everyday in keeping control all the time.

There's one part where Lucie mentions how, as a little girl, she was viewed as pure and innocent and was used as a symbol of hope and the 'Golden Thread of the Dark' but then Lucie found her status changing slightly when she grew into a woman's body with womanly curves and her sexuality was suddenly viewed as seducing and a bit mistrustful. There was something about this that resonated with me and I just found it a powerful observation.

"I remembered my changed shape in the white dress. A child, a daughter, could be innocent in a way a woman - a woman with a man - could not be."

I freaking loved Carwyn. If anyone is a fan of the Grisha trilogy and had a bit of a thing for The Darkling, you might love Carwyn. He is something made from darkness, and plays the darkness up by acting as people believe like he has no feelings, no soul and no heart. But now and again, he shows glimpses of goodness. The first time he kissed Lucie, he went to say something before he was cut off. I feel like it could have been romantic. He waited for her outside the bathroom to make sure she was safe. And the concern he showed when Lucie rang him about 'the blood on the wall'. I feel like these are glimpses of something else Carwyn is other than a creature of darkness. 

"I know there is nothing between us and there never could be. But I would do whatever you asked. I would do anything you want. If I had anything worth giving to you, I would give it. If I had anything to sacrifice, I would sacrifice it for you."

Ethan felt rather flat and stale next to him to be honest. And a tad boring. He was just too good and I'm a sucker for a bad boy. I did like one way that Lucie described her feelings for Ethan and how he didn't save her, but he saved her dreams:

"I had never wanted Ethan to save me. But I had always been so grateful to him for saving my dreams, for bringing the hope in me back to life."

I think I would have liked a bit more building. Lucie explains that magic came to NYC and how it then split into two. But what about the rest of the world? Does magic exist there? Do light and dark magicians travel there? Do they live in co-existence with each other or are they also separated? I just had a few questions when it came to those sorts of things and wonderings.

The ending did disappoint me a bit. I feel like there wasn't a proper conclusion for the baddies. It's all fine and dandy for Lucie to say the new enemies would get their comedown but how's that okay for all the people who have already died and their families? And the people who are probably going to continue to die. As far as I can tell, this is a standalone? So, I just felt a bit like, "oh, that's it. They don't get a taste of their own medicine?" And of course, something else about the ending killed me a bit. Damn you Dickens and Brennan for breaking my heart :(

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