Review: ‘Tell the Wind and Fire’ by Sarah Rees Brennan

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.

Review: ‘Tell the Wind and Fire’ by Sarah Rees BrennanTell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published by Clarion Books on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 360
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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.

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book review

The moment he touched me, my universe constricted to the space between our lips.

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!

book quotes

Happiness is self-sabotage, a mean truck that your own mind plays on you. (9)
I like you. Can I put you on my list of demands. (21)
People always hate those they rely on. (25)
The Light did not think people like them should suffer—only people who were different. (39)
Love is when you save someone no matter what the cost. (41)
If you knew me more, you’d like me less. (84)
You were just getting your PDA all over the good sofa. (86)
People performed the acts of love without meaning love. Love was the mystery nobody could solve, the fairy tale everyone loved to listen to and not quite believe in. (92)
These people need help, not punishment. (118)
When you pretend hard enough, for long enough, you can convince yourself. (120)
When you want to feel like a big strong man consoling a weak, weeping woman, things are different. Then you act as if I am something to be protected, like I’m a piece of china to be kept in a glass case. Maybe you want me to be breakable, so you can shield me. But I’m not. How can I be fragile and do everything I have to do? (112)
Do nothing, because someone hurt you once? Let other people be hurt and killed, let the cities burn, and keep smiling and doing absolutely nothing? (113)
Love is what counts, no matter what world we’re in. (154)
The faceless are as good as voiceless: nobody would listen if any one one of us called for help. (186)
I felt that sometime while I was trying to shield others and trying to shied myself, I had become all that I ever needed to be. (212)
People come up with a hundred thousand reasons why other people do not count as human, but that does not mean anyone has to listen. (200)

reading progress






  1. G K

    September 3, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    I love dramas and good mysteries.

  2. Tamra Phelps

    September 3, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    I can see how the premise could become a great novel. I really am intrigued by the ideas you described in the review…but it sounds like the book goes off in directions that I might find irritating, lol. (Oh, by the way, I read A Tale of Two Cities in High School. The first half had me bored & rolling my eyes, then…BOOM, the action kicked in & it got going, lol. The second half was great.)

    • giselle

      October 3, 2016 at 5:01 PM

      Did it really? Well I think I might just pick it back up. Thanks for letting me know. It was soooooo slow lol

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