Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
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?
Sarah Rees Brennan’s Tell the Wind and Fire is loosely based on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In her world there are two versions of New York. Light new York, a place of wealth and beauty, where the light magicians and their relatives live, and Dark New York, where the dark magicians reside. However, Light New York is reliant on Dark New York to survive, as, without the Dark Magicians, the Light magicians would die.
This is a novel with very intriguing character motivations. The main character wasn’t particularly brave, or unique. She didn’t refuse to let people walk all over her, or make a dramatic stand to change the world. No, she made a calculated decision to save her father, then spent the next several years doing whatever needed to be done to keep her father safe and her comfortable. She wasn’t one of those hardcore, I have no emotions types, nor was she a I must free my people type. She was simply the average person, someone empathetic, but primarily concerned with her own interests. So when a revolution sprung up in her name, she was completely baffled and annoyed.
In this the author attempts to avoid stereotypes and unrealistic heroines. In addition, the boyfriend she starts the book with doesn’t mysteriously turn evil or into a jackass, allowing her to find a new dramatic love interest. She wasn’t even particularly gifted or talented. Yet her story stayed engaging, so I have to give major props to Sarah Rees Brennan for managing to write an urban fantasy book with as few literary tropes as possible (semi-formed love triangle aside).
However, this book lacked a little of the magnetic plot or overwhelmingly charismatic and unique characters I’ve come to associate with Sarah Rees Brennan’s books. Rather it is a good story that I enjoyed, yet I probably will not remember it a few years from now. The ending was powerful, but predictable, and the world building had potential that it did not fully develop.
Overall, Tell the Wind and Fire was a good read with few obvious flaws, yet it was not the kind of book that makes much of an impact. I would recommend it to those simply looking for something to read.