BOOK REVIEW: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

  • Title: Tell the Wind and Fire
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publishing date: April 5, 2016
  • Author(s): Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Series: Standalone
  • Rating: Going Bananas! 

Quote Me: A romanticized, modern gothic tale of light versus dark that finds inspiration in a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Tell the Wind and Fire is masterfully told in multiple POVs. The magical mayhem stirred up requires no previous knowledge of the classic it is based upon, but needs readers to have a heart for the voiceless. This story offers a poignant look at what happens when people attempt being the change in the world without calling upon mercy, integrity and justice in tandem.
“Sarah Rees Brennan writes with fine control and wit, and I suspect that word of this magical thriller will pass through the populace with the energy of wind, of fire.” —Gregory Maguire, author of WickedIn 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?
DISCOVER IT: Tell the Wind and Fire | Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
What Stood Out: In appreciation of the spirit of Charles Dickens, Tell the Wind and Fire pulls out all the emotional stops. The have and have nots go at it, but the morality of who has the higher ground gets confused because humanity never sleeps. When humans strive to better themselves, without relying on the good to be found in the world, no one can make a difference. Instead they focus on revenge, hate and getting back at those who have held the keys to their imprisonment. Granted everyone probably in some time of their lives ends up on the victim end of things in this world, however, we must rise above it all, and find it in ourselves to fight back without hurting others in the process.
What I Liked: The fine line between who is right and who is wrong here cannot be demarcated. Such a hard concept to grasp when things seem so black and white. It is what stands out, but also, makes this story feel heartbreakingly realistic. The romance crippled by people being more or less than what they seem. And even if you haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities, Brennan gives a modern feel to the old world spirit imbibed by this gothic, modern thriller. Lucia deserves our attention, for us to root for her because she alone sees everyone for their potential to change and be changed for the better… well… until she doesn’t. Her learned lesson hauntingly stuck with me.
Would this book work as a movie? Do you need to even ask me?! The imagery of the two worlds, and the magical cages to torture and kill prisoners of war will stick with me. Vivid and larger than life, both Ethan and Carwyn, would make a stark contrast with Lucie’s golden self onscreen. And the societal warning to not be governed by your emotions when meting out social justice rings true and something that could do a world of good for those who take the time to listen.
What I Did Not Like: Omigosh, Brennan tries to ruin me for cupcakes! Not in all seriousness… because for real, who doesn’t like cupcakes even if they pull up memories of fictional characters sharing a cupcake as if it is their last moment in time to be happy?!
About Sarah Rees Brennan:
Born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it’s not called Gaelic) but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. The books most often found under her desk were Jane Austen, Margaret Mahy, Anthony Trollope, Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones, and she still loves them all today.
After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. She began working on The Demon’s Lexiconwhile doing a Creative Writing MA and library work in Surrey, England. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.


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