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Tell the Wind and Fire Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
—School Library Journal
"With nods to Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, this dark-fantasy-meets-romance will have readers hooked."
"Lucie is a dynamic and complex character, burdened by oppressive secrets from her past and yet fiery and fierce, hellbent on saving those she loves no matter the cost."
"Retellings of beloved classics are tricky, but here, Dickens' overall plot and major characters translate effortlessly into this intriguingly imagined setting. Lucie and Ethan are more complex than their rather insipid Victorian prototypes, and Carwyn retains all the bad-boy fascination of his charismatic counterpart."
"Compelling similarities exist between the narrative and present-day events, where uprisings and terrorist acts are increasingly common, making this an engrossing and relevant read."
“Sarah Rees Brennan writes with fine control and wit, and I suspect that word of this magical thriller will pass through the populace with the energy of wind, of fire.”—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon
“Brennan takes the genres of young adult, fantasy, and romance, and through her own writerly, alchemical process converts them into something new and strange and lovely. Read the first few pages of Tell the Wind and Fire and see if you don’t agree.”—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“Brennan’s writing really allows the characters to come alive—I’ve been thinking about them ever since I finished the book! Plus, the plot twists totally kept me on the edge of my seat. I would recommend it to all of my friends.” —Kiara R., 17 (Girls Life reader)
- Publisher : Clarion Books (April 5, 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 054431817X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0544318175
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Lexile measure : 850L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.23 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,508,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book answered that question. In a big, bad way.
The one bright spot in this book, ironically, was Carwyn, the dark twin/doppleganger of the narrator's love interest. He at least had some amusing lines. He earned this book the extra half star.
The narrator, whose name I've already forgotten...what was it....Lucie! (I literally had to look it up just now, and I finished this book last night.) Anyway. Lucie is whiny, obnoxious, self-centered, and completely goo-goo-eyed in love with handsome, rich Gary Stu...er, Ethan. Yeah, Ethan. She's always going on and on about how much she loves him, how safe and happy and wonderful she feels when she's with him.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Aside from how horridly stereotypical the "romance" in this novel is, there are worse things about it.
The writing tries so, so hard to be poetic and lyrical and enchanting, and unfortunately it falls flat on its poor little face. The narrator gets dubbed the "Golden Thread in the Dark," and it degenerates from there. So many metaphors and similes drown the prose of this novel like a woman adrift in a storm-tossed sea. Sometimes this style can be effective, but not when it draws this much attention to itself. Like a belly dancer at a priests' convention.
"The water whispered soothing promises..."
"The train was an older model , but magic made it a shining rope of Light in the night sky, like a crystal necklace suspended between the stars."
"...when his fingers closed around my shaking, sweat-slicked fingers, I felt steadier, my lost anchor regained, warmth and security a possibility once again."
"There was an amazing sofa in Ethan's apartment, deep and soft as a cloud, and the color of excellent cream..."
"I smiled when the long black car purred up to the curb and stood waiting, like a cat expecting to be petted."
"...his polite smile looked stretched at the edges, like rationed butter scraped over bread..."
"[A knife]...pinioned him as if he were a butterfly transfixed against a corkboard."
"I looked at the rings on my fingers as if they were strange new constellations, their light coming from a very long way away..."
"It was as if time were a suitcase filled too full, about to burst and break."
And those are only the ones I skimmed and picked out - I didn't even mark them as I read. It was like finding needles in a needle stack.
The only truly resonating line in the entire book is the one she lifted from Dickens: "Tell Wind and Fire where to stop...but don't tell me." Yeah, that one gave me chills, at least the first time it was in the novel. She only uses it like five more times in the narrative.
To top off the "romance" and the overblown, self-aware language, we have a system of magic that is never explained, a world that is never built, and a conflict that is never resolved. An incomplete void that stares back into you, as you stare into it.
I swear, Lucie references her rings, the light shining off of or out of her rings, and her Light magic on every. Single. Page.
This book was boring and WAY WAY overhyped.
It was as a seventh-grader that I read A Tale of Two Cities for the first and only time. I'd grabbed it randomly out of the junior high library without really understanding its significance, and I was too young to grasp all its themes, for sure. But I loved that freaking book. And if I'm being honest, the thing I loved most about it was how much it made me cry. I was a child obsessed with questions of truth and justice, and this was the book that really drove home for me the thin line between justice and vengeance, and the fact that equally terrible things could happen in the name of either. I was moved and horrified by Carton's sacrifice, and utterly broken by the necessity of it. I'd been raised to oppose the death penalty (and other state-sponsored killing), even in the name of justice, but in many ways it was Dickens who helped me to truly understand why. I always related best to ideas when they were presented to me as stories, and this was no different.
Of course, this means that once I realized what Sarah was doing with this story (which took me a little longer than I'd like to admit, especially considering that many of the characters—including the heroine—retain their original names), I also knew what would happen to its main characters. To Sarah's credit, this knowledge did not lessen the impact of their fates.
Over the years, I've learned that, with a few exceptions, I find Dickens pretty tedious, and I never reread A Tale of Two Cities, even in all this time. Thanks, Sarah, for bringing it back to me after all these years.
Is there going to be a second book? I want to know how the gold thread in the dark and Ethan make it in this new world!!!!