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The Red Necklace Hardcover – May 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—As the first embers of the French Revolution begin to burn, Yann Margoza, a 14-year-old voice thrower and mind reader, watches his simple life as a magician's assistant disappear before his eyes. During one fateful midnight performance at the chateau of an overindulgent, debt-ridden marquis, a string of irreversible events unfurls. Jolted from the only world he's known, Yann becomes inextricably intertwined with the marquis's 12-year-old daughter and lecherous, treacherous Count Kalliovski. Yann struggles to make the right choices while coming to terms with his origins and unique abilities in order to save those he loves. Gardner deftly plays out the same brand of intrigue, romance, and murky intentions beautifully rendered in recent period magician films, The Prestige and The Illusionist. Readers will root for Yann and Sido as they struggle toward adulthood amid the political and social turmoil surrounding and sometimes endangering them. At the book's end, Gardner provides further historical background on late-18th-century France, though most readers will find themselves wishing simply for a sequel to continue this engrossing tale.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* A Gypsy boy, Yann, and the dwarf who has raised him are caught up in drama on and off the stage, where they work with a magician and his automaton. Outside their Parisian theater, revolution is beginning to boil. Inside, the magician is murdered by the villainous Count Kallovski, who has Yann in his sights as well. So begins a finely crafted tale that crosses years and crisscrosses countries, as Yann becomes a young man with a mission: to save the lovely Sido from her heartless father, even as he struggles with the extraordinary gifts bestowed upon him by his Gypsy heritage. If the success of historical fiction depends on how well setting and story mesh, this is a very successful book, indeed. Gardner sweeps readers into a turbulent time, dissecting eighteenth-century French society and the evolution of the revolution, from a yearning for liberty to a chaotic bloodbath. The history becomes personal when seen through the eyes of an astoundingly rich, carefully drawn cast, whose lives are interwoven like pieces of string in an elaborate cat’s cradle. Scores are waiting to be settled on every page; this is a heart-stopper. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803731000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803731004
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

258 of 284 people found the following review helpful By Tell It Like It Is on November 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not a book review

I am updating this review because I see that amazon finally changed the page and has taken the photos of Tom off the page and the voice sample of him reading this book. When I wrote my review in November 2011, and even up until recently, amazon had Tom's face and voice on this page. Judging by the number of usefuls and comments, I know a good number of people averted the mistake I made, so I will leave this warning here.

Tom Hiddleston did record a version of this book. That version can only be found in the UK!!! Sadly, in my excitement of learning he did the audio book, and seeing his face and sound sample on this page on amazon, I didn't bother to notice this version is NOT read by Tom. My heart sank when I realized this as I put the first chapter on. Too late. Anyway, I have no interest in the book itself. I just wanted it for Tom. I would listen to 8 CDs of him reading me a phone directory. And since I know I am not alone in that, other fans HAVE and will make this mistake. Do not buy this unless you want to actually hear the book read to you and don't care who by. I do not know if its a good story or not. This review is not a commentary on the book - its a commentary on the AUDIObook. If you want Tom Hiddleston to read to you, you must get the UK version.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Janeifer Drew on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The novel starts in Paris, 1789. Yann Margoza is a young gypsy boy who can throw his voice as well as read minds and predict the future. He uses these talents in a magic show, with the magician Topolain and the dwarf Têtu. An imposing man with a scarred face, introducing himself as Milkeye, appears after a show and requests on behalf of his employer, Count Kalliovski, that Topolain bring his magic act to a party held at the château of the Marquis de Villeduval. Against the misgivings of Yann, Topolain is lured to the party by Milkeye's promise of payment. It is there that Yann meets the daughter of the Marquis, Sido, two years his junior at the age of 12. Sido has just returned from her stay at a convent, and is deeply hurt by the dislike which her father takes no pains to hide from her. Although their meeting is brief and followed by a long separation, it tangles Yann and his companions in a series of murders that are linked by a red necklace. With the drama of the French Revolution, mixed with political and social intrigue, "The Red Necklace" was an exciting book that I could not put down.

In Yann and Sido we have two very common clichés: the dark, handsome boy with extraordinary talents and the pale, wide-eyed girl who walks with a limp and longs for her father to love her. However, both characters seemed remarkably lifelike to me (as did all the characters), and perfectly believable. I also loved the villain(s)--thoroughly sinister and, well, villainous.

I found "The Red Necklace" to be very original in both plot and ploy. Ms. Gardner is an excellent author, and the book, at 372 pages, went along at a nice pace, without rushing things. I like her way with words. There is just a touch of magic that adds to the mix, making it even more interesting.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By B. Bartlett on December 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Yann is one of the more appealing heros of recent Young Adult Novels. Decended from Gypsies and blessed with the ability to read minds and throw his voice, Yann lives in interesting times--in France, right at the start of the Revolution.

Called to the home of the Marquis for a command preformance, Yann witnesses the murder of his employer and is thrust into a mystery. It is here he meets Sido, the daughter of the marquis. She helps him escape but this is the last time she does anything interesting. While Yann goes off to England to get educated and mature, Sido stays with her father, an insane man obsessed with shoe buckles, and grows even more passive. Her idea of a talent is to stay silent while her father insults her.

Sido may be historically accurate but she's dull as dirt. She's beautiful but prone to making stupid decisions. When Yann returns to get her out of the city before the revolution explodes, she refuses to go with him and gets thrown in prison. When Yann shows up to bust her out, she refuses to leave without her father. (Dad is now completely insane and, when he isn't yelling at her, slaps her.)

Yann has to get evidence in the devil's own den to make her see sense and gets himself shot in the process. Sido finally wises up enough at the end of the book to let Yann rescue her.

"The Red Necklace" is a good read, I just wish the heroine had been worth all the sacrifices Yann made on her behalf.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Travis Ann Sherman VINE VOICE on July 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Author Sally Gardner did her shopping well for the ingredients she chose for The Red Necklace. Everything on her list is topnotch: the orphaned 14-year-old gypsy boy who can read minds, being raised by a dwarf and a magician; the sad 12-year-old daughter of a marquis, isolated and loathed by her father; the cruel, spoiled French aristos, with their brocades, gilded buckles and pet monkeys; the chaotic bloodbath of the French Revolution; and an evil count trying to murder the boy, marry the girl, destroy the aristos and urge on the maelstrom. There are elements of magic in this rich historical adventure and the darkness of the tale and strange minor characters would please a fantasy reader. But The Red Necklace could also be read by those who like their plotlines straight; the magic seems to be based on traditional Gypsy physics of some kind unknown as yet to the western world. Gardner's storytelling skill makes this tale a pleasure to read and an easy book to recommend.
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