Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan


Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan // VBC Review Tell the Wind and Fire
Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: April 5, 2016 (Clarion Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Two years ago Lucie Manette very publicly saved her father’s life and fled Dark New York for the Light. Now she goes to an exclusive school, has a boyfriend whose family is one of the richest and most well-known Light magician families in New York, and has a celebrity status of her own as “The Golden Thread in the Dark.” Even with all the notoriety, she’s managed to keep her secrets even from her beloved boyfriend Ethan.

On their way back from a brief vacation, Ethan is taken into custody at the train station and accused of treason. He’s saved from immediate death by his doppelganger—created from those who are dying (usually an infant) using an illegal Dark magic ritual. Lucie immediately feels grateful to her boyfriend’s twin, Carwyn. Yet when she her compassion gets the better of her and she begins to treat him like a person, and not the soulless being all doppelgangers are thought to be, Lucie’s good intentions start to backfire. Soon the word “revolution” can be heard in whispers around the city and somehow Lucie has become the martyred face for a group determined to break through the Light’s strict regime. Lucie finds herself being stuck in the middle, straddling the line between Light and Dark.

I have not read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities of which Tell the Wind and Fire is marginally based upon. You definitely do not have to have read Dickens’ classic story to read this one, but I wonder—if I’d had the comparison to make—if I would have been able to stand by the characters’ actions, or lack thereof.

Lucie was a problematic character for me. She wants nothing more than to live under the radar. Yet with her past actions, and the people she associates with, she puts herself in the limelight. I felt like she almost forcibly keeps herself from actually seeing what’s going on around her. She knows the moniker she is known by, yet she doesn’t see the implications because she’s willingly not looking. The frustration comes due to the fact that she remains quiet for too long.

I understand the precarious situation she finds herself. Sitting right in the middle of growing discontent with both sides using her as a pawn. But condemning others for sitting quietly by while the Light starves those who live in the Dark seems a bit hypocritical, even if she’s just projecting her own feelings of guilt. When she finally does decide what her stance is, I found myself liking the more subtle approach to solving a conflict than the grand displays of power I’m used to reading about in fantasy.

I liked the way Sarah Rees Brennan depicts the two factions of society. Light and Dark. You can’t have one without the other. Light magicians can only use their magic to a certain extent and then their blood has to be “drained” by a Dark magician, and for the Dark magicians, blood is one of the keys to their power. Similarly, in the conflict between the two groups, there’s good and bad aspects on both sides. To me, there was no clear-cut villain. So what does one do when neither option is ideal?

I think Lucie ends up handling things to the best of her ability with the hope of better to come. I just would have liked it if she made steps throughout the story, instead of just towards the end.

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex

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