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

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Tell The Wind And Fire
By Sarah Rees Brennan
On Sale Date: April 5, 2016
Young Adult Fiction \ Fantasy
Ages 12 And Up, Grades 7 And Up
Clarion Books, 368 Pages
Source: ARC From Publisher
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Amazon | Goodreads | Website

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 the young men’s deadly connection, 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? 

A Tale of a City Divided by Dark and Light Magic

"It was the best of times until it was the worst of times"

TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is Sarah Rees Brennan's YA fantasy which takes its inspiration from the Charles Dickens novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Brennan's tale takes place in a dark and gritty version of New York, a city divided by two forms of magic - Light and Dark. Like the classic tale, this is a story of strong themes. Prejudice, cruelty, and hope are all cleverly interwoven as readers witness the two factions divided by their forms of magic that can result in nothing less than an uprising. Amidst this upheaval is our heroine, Lucie Manette, born of both light and dark magic. 

"Families who produce both Dark magicians and Light magicians are very rare. We pretend it never happens; we all know that when it does happen and the council hears about it, the whole family disappears. We keep the Light and the Dark separated by walls, by beliefs, by blood. We pretend it is not true that sometimes people find each other through anything."

Lucie, Ethan, and Carwyn - Facets of Hope, Fear, Love, and Sacrifice

"Ethan of the Light city, Carwyn of the Dark, and me, who was born with a foot in each. This is the tale of who I was able to save."

Lucie Manette - the Golden Thread in the Dark

Lucie is a heroine that is completely torn between the two realms created in TELL THE WIND AND FIRE. Born in Dark New York, her ability as a light magician grants her refuge in Light New York, but it comes at a great cost. As a child of both Dark and Light, she has become a symbol to many, especially the sans merci, a  violent revolutionary group that threatens at every turn, with Lucie caught in the middle. It took me awhile to warm up to Lucie, she's headstrong and doesn't always see what is in front of her, but it is her desire to do right and her precarious predicament of someone caught between two worlds, light and dark, and as forced symbol to both, that made me sympathize with her.

Ethan - An Unsung Hero

Ethan comes from privilege being born in Light New York, yet he has quite strengths, many which are not revealed until near the end of TELL THE WIND AND FIRE, that make him a worthy hero. Early on in the story, he is accused of secreting information to the sans-merci and the reader is not made aware, in part due to the nature of this being an inspired tale of A Tale of Two Cities, of his many strengths as a character until the bittersweet ending. 

Carwyn - the Dark and Sassy Doppelganger

If there is a character to steal the show, readers most definitely are going to find Carwyn appealing with his blend of dark humor and cheeky comebacks. With the gritty and dark setting, Carwyn, a doppelganger from Dark New York, brings much need lightness to TELL THE WIND AND FIRE. The nature of his sassy banter hides his inner-struggles and by the end of the story I loved his character by far the most. SRB - you nearly broke me. In my opinion, he made the book and had the greatest triumph. 

Power Punch in the Feels and Clever Themes

With TELL THE WIND AND FIRE readers are treated to a story that, though it is not action packed, packs a powerful punch in the feels department and tackles themes in a clever and entertaining way. Thoughtful pacing makes this a bit of a patient read, though, but the payoff, in the end, is worth it. There's no need to have read A Tale of Two Cities, but if you have, then the fun is finding their parallels and where their path differs.