Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

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September 12, 2016 by Zoë

In Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan, Lucie Manette was born in the Dark part of New York city. However, her luck changed and she now lives in the Light part and is the girlfriend of a member of one of the city’s most important families. But now her boyfriend’s doppelganger has appeared and there is growing unrest in the city. How can Lucie hold on to those she loves?

The Good
Let me start off by saying that I love A Tale of Two Cities. I love it. I love Madame Defarge even more than I love A Tale of Two Cities. She’s such a cool character and really strong and interesting and blah blah blah I love her she’s awesome. Anyway, all this is to say that my love of A Tale of Two Cities and Madame Defarge is really going to color this review.

Overall, this book did play upon the main themes and events that occur in A Tale of Two Cities. There were even some interesting changes, such as making the main characters more closely related than they were in the original. I also liked that it was placed in a different world with fantasy rules.

The Bad
Unfortunately, that was about all I liked. The magic system wasn’t very well developed, so it was hard for me to get into the world building. The characters also were underdeveloped, especially Lucie’s boyfriend and his doppelganger. While the doppelganger was an annoying cliché, the boyfriend had no personality whatsoever. (Sort of like the real Charles Darnay, I suppose….)

I also didn’t find the plot very interesting. Lucie ran around being desperate and feeling like she was worthless and like she’d done horrible things. Eventually I got really tired of her inner monologue. I suppose that might also be true to her original character, though, but please give me something new!

Madame Defarge also didn’t have much changed about her from the original to this version. She still was pretty crazy and blood thirsty, although I will give Brennan some credit and say that she did try to show that the Madame Defarge character was also capable of love. (Which, to me, is sort of the point of Madame Defarge, although that might not be what Dickens intended).

Anyway, I can’t tell if this book was too tied down by the source material or too tied down by the magic system or what, but it just wasn’t very interesting. More developed characters would definitely have helped.

The Verdict
As a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities with some magic, this worked, but I found the characters bland and had a hard time feeling at all invested in the story.

“There were even a few women knitting.”

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