Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: Tell the Wind and Fire

Title: Tell the Wind and Fire
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Page Count: 360
My Rating: 3.5 TURTLES: A very enjoyable read, I recommend you check it out.
*I was given this book in exchange for an honest review

Book Blurb:
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 of the deadly connection the young men share, 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 tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

It is really hard for me to figure out how I feel about this book. When I first requested it on Netgalley I was drawn to the beautiful cover, the intriguing premise, and the excitement of a chance to read an ARC from a somewhat famous Young Adult author. I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of this magical version of New York and the characters were interesting and complex, but everything felt just a little too familiar…

It didn’t take me long to catch on the similarities to “Tell the Wind and Fire” and “A Tale of Two Cities,” the main character’s name is Lucie Manette for crying out loud. Except, unlike in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world where she has a character named Lucie who is named after Dickens’ Lucie Manette, Brennan’s Lucie is the Lucie Manette of “A Tale of Two Cities.” “Tell the Wind and Fire” is fanfiction, essentially. Like, if ATTC wasn’t public domain it wouldn’t be allowed to be published fanfiction. It may be set in a Light/Dark magic, New York alternate universe, but I have read things on and Archive of Our Own that were more canon divergent than “Tell the Wind and Fire.”

That is why it is so hard for me to figure out how I feel about this book. Reading it sort of turned into a game of “spot the similarities.” It starts out with things like Lucie’s name, the fact that Ethan and Carwyn look so similar (Carwyn/Sydney Carton anyone?) and that this similarity saves Ethan’s life early in the book. This is just the first of the similar plot points. To list too many more would spoil both books, but there are certainly more. Even things like Brennan comparing a mob to waves in the sea or using the image of blood running in the streets or the ‘golden thread’ brought me back to my sophomore high school English when we studied literary devices in ATTC.

So yes, I enjoyed this story, and the end made me emotional, but I couldn’t distinguish how much of that was purely from “Tell the Wind and Fire” and how much of that emotion was from “A Tale of Two Cities.” The reason I read fanfiction is to bring the emotion and love for a story and/or characters from one setting to another, but it is not the same thing as establishing new bonds with new characters in new works.

Overall, I would recommend this book. Fans of YA looking for a new novel to sink their teeth into will really enjoy this, I think. However, for people who have read “A Tale of Two Cities” or are familiar with the plot, I recommend going into this treating it as fanfiction, and it will save you the trouble of wondering why the book sounds so familiar.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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