Tell the Wind and Fire
By: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Format: Print ARC
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In 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 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?
I had really high hopes for Tell the Wind and Fire. I loved that it was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities and that it was written by Sarah Rees Brennan. But, sadly, this book didn’t work for me. I found the pacing to be slow, the characters a bit static and the overall plot predictable.
I’m not sure what I expected from this book but I did somewhat enjoy the overall plot and I kept reading because I kept thinking that something would surprise me and leave me intrigued to read the next book. The beginning was full of info-dump. So much world explanations were given and it wasn’t delivered in a very interested fashion. We are literally bombarded with information about the Light and the Dark. And yet, though we are told that once this Light and Dark magic were discovered the world changed, we aren’t given much of a real look at it. We are told many things but I found it hard to really feel any of it.
Throughout the novel we spend more time in the Light world and are given examples of how the Dark lived ‘buried’ and flash backs to Lucie’s childhood but I never really could visualize how these people lived. Because I failed in visualizing and emotionally getting involved I wasn’t ever to really understand how bad things were. I was told, and shown examples (like the cages) but none of it really resonated with me. I couldn’t really feel for those people are understand their anger.
This emotional disconnect never allowed for me to care for any of the characters in a deep way. I wasn’t overly invested in the outcome of any of their stories. Live or die- I honestly wasn’t all that concerned. I did feel there was real potential and perhaps, other readers will bond. I believe that if you can then the reading experience would be much improved.
There’s a romance that was already well on its way prior to the events in the book. We don’t watch this couple fall in love throughout the book-they are already very much together at the start. I felt that they did develop as a couple but I wasn’t overly shipping them. There was a slight (and I mean slight) bit of what some might consider a love triangle. I didn’t find it so since Lucie’s feelings are never in question.
Lucie was a passable main character and we do get the story from her point of view. I never really cared much for her though and her character did feel very typical for the genre. She’s the Golden Thread in the Dark- an unwilling participant in bringing change to a world desperately needing it. Ethan, her long time boyfriend, was underdeveloped and under- utilized in my opinion. He has a large role to play in the story line but I just never really cared about him. I wanted to and I did think his character was likeable but I just felt like he could have been so much more involved. I think I’d have liked to have seen his side of things perhaps.
Carwyn, the book’s representation of someone with Dark magic, was probably the most interesting character to me. I wish he could have been more involved and we could have learned more about him. We are told about his past but we don’t really experience it. We get a few lines at the end that sort of connect him more to the story but it felt a bit under utilized. I could easily see his role in the book and I easily what his character would do. I didn’t really question his motivations though I believe I was supposed to?
So, the beginning felt like a lot of info dump with rather slow pacing-we find out the history of our main character and why she feels the way she does. Other than a couple of scenes there was very little action involved. There were some twists by the end but none of them took me by surprise. They all seemed rather obvious and because of this I felt that nothing was shocking though I think the reader was supposed to feel that way. Overall, this novel just failed for me in almost every way. I will say that something kept me reading until the end so there was that. I did consider DNFing about 20% in but I really hoped I’d start loving the characters.