I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my 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?
Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.
When I heard this would be a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, I knew I had to give it a try. I went into it with no expectations and I’m glad I did because I would have been too busy comparing it to the classic novel, and that’s not fair to Brennan. She made this her own, created a world where Light and Dark magic exist. Where evil doppelgängers are born when their original soul needs them. They’re usually hunted and murdered. The Light rules and governs all from the wealthiest families and our main character’s boyfriend is one of them. When Lucie encounters her beloved’s doppelgänger, she saves him and thrusts herself into a tale of love and loss.
Lucie at first hand tells the story about how she comes into the Light city when she’s really born from the Dark. I was all sorts of confused and tried to understand how the world was made up of. And then when Lucie makes the snap decision and does so many reckless actions afterwards, I wasn’t surprised. Because I didn’t understand why she did it. He was a stranger and she automatically wanted to save him? Whha!!?? And she does make a few other mistakes as well that had me thinking “Uh oh, she is so not thinking things through.” But I guess that’s okay since she’s a young teenager and apparently they make a billion mistakes before they ever learn their lesson right? So yes, I gave her a free pass until I realized she’s just going to stand idly by while she has the power and influence to change the world. That was not the way I thought this main character would be. But again I made excuses for her, “Oh maybe it’s just her character arc and she’ll realize it sooner.” So she does but again it’s too late. Carwyn was all sorts of annoying and I didn’t understand his role except he was used as a scapegoat. Ethan who was the hero I would rather have Lucie become was doing all sorts of wonderful things. And I wanted their roles to be switched. Lucid was too passive and by the end, I didn’t really care what happened even though it was emotional.
Parts magical, parts dystopian, the pacing had me troubled because it was just so slow. There was hardly anything to go on? Except wait for the sans-merci to do something? I was still confused as to how magic came to be and I was still confused when the sucking of Light magicians blood came about. What I did enjoy were how these Dark magicians were treated because you can compare it to our society where being born somewhere else is considered being bad and soulless.
Overall, I enjoyed bits and pieces like the world building, but the whole story lacked focus. I believe this will either be a love or hate for most people. It did make me want to read the classic though!