ARC Review: Tell the Wind and Fire

Tell the Wind and Fire
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: April 5, 2016

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?

Tell the Wind and Fire is a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, but since I have never read the original classic, I will not be commenting on that topic. Instead, I would like to talk about its merits as a dystopic fantasy, set in a world divided by two kinds of magic, divided by appearances of goodness and evil, while being neither. Lucie, our heroine, rose up from the Dark she was born in, through a careful manipulation of public opinion. Now, two years later, she is living a good life, and doesn’t want to relive her past in the Dark City. Her boyfriend, though, has some ties down there which they can’t escape, and unwillingly, she is forced to face the past she ran away from.

The underlying theme of the book was hatred based on differences, and Brennan brought that out in multitudes. There was Lucie feeling powerless and on a pedestal because she was seen as an innocent maiden, and not a woman; she was revered for being a symbol, and not a person with flaws. She is pushed into tight corners and makes cowardly decisions, that ultimately set into motion a series of events, but her kindness was the virtue she suffered for. She saw a dark creature and looked at him as a person, and despite being born in a hateful part of the city, knew how to love people wholly. Ethan comes off very boring, as Camryn would agree, but he has his merits. He is the Peeta of the story, though, and her radiant light. Camryn was sarcastic, and morally ambigious; the way he treated her was distasteful but I loved how she stood up to him and made him realize what he was doing wrong, rather than just hating him for being a Dark creature.

Now, the ending – well, it was quite anticlimactic as this is a standalone. But when you look at the overall theme of the book, I feel it fit. It was left open, and maybe on a little bit of hope. The characters certainly evolved a lot through the book, and the generous amount of subtext that went into the world made this an enlightening read. It was realistic, even though it has elements of fantasy, because the book focused on the characters and the world rather than the magic aspect. In conclusion, it is a fantastic story, even if you have never read the original.

Received a free galley from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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