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Book Review: Tell the Wind and Fire – Sarah Rees Brennan **

UK Publishing Date: 5 Apr 2016. 368 pages.

Over the last couple of years there has been a resurgence of classic books being rewritten in a modern or futuristic setting. Tell the Wind and Fire doesn’t hide where it gets its inspiration from as it opens with:
“It was the best of times until it was the worst of times”.

Billed as a near-future retelling of the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities, a deadly revolution breaks out in a New York City that is divided by light and dark magic. I know, you’re thinking at the back of your mind… young adult story… New York… dark magic… sounds like Cassandra Clare’s shadow hunters series with a hint of Star Wars. It crossed my mind too. There are similarities in tone and characters even with it being set at a date in the future.

The characters are interesting. Lucie Manette is pitched as a bit of a kick-ass heroine who grew up on the Dark side. An illicit child of the Light and Dark sides who has managed to save her father and escape the Dark and carved out a bit of a reputation for herself as rebel. Now life is a little easier with a stable safer life and Ethan, the wealthy celebrity boyfriend. When Ethan is arrested and accused of treachery he faces certain death. Even Lucie can’t throw any weight behind her attempts to save him. It is only when Carwyn, his illegal Doppelganger appears, that he is released and his life is saved.

Personally I found it a bit hard to follow. The first 75 pages are a pretty solid potted history of how the Dark and Light came about and Lucie’s back story. It is fairly relentless and just thrown at the reader. In true YA fiction style there is a love triangle. Lucie loves Ethan but pretty soon Carwyn, the slightly thinner and meaner looking version of Ethan has fallen in love with Lucie too and kisses her at every opportunity.

I really wanted to like this book but I just kept comparing it to the Shadow Hunters and it just felt like it didn’t really connect. I don’t know whether that is because it was trying to be too clever with the Dickens angle or because the dystopian future world was just a touch too complicated and unbelievable. It had such a great cover as well. That’ll teach me for judging a book by its cover!

Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tell the Wind and Fire

Categories: 2 Stars Book Review

Tagged as:


Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. Sharing my house with a gorgeous cockapoo called Harry who has taken over completely.
I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.


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