Monday, February 1, 2016

Title: Tell the Wind and Fire
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Tell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…

Sarah Rees Brennan novels are always a breath of fresh air for me, but SRB retelling A Tale of Two Cities? Brilliant. I loved it from start to finish, and even knowing how it would end, I still feel as heartbroken as the first time I read the original story. Which I now want to pick up again since it's been ages. (And since Audible recently had it on sale and I may have picked it up on a whim.) My love for Sydney Carton's character has been renewed and seems even more justified to me as an adult, sobbing for a similar character imbued with his sense of self-sacrifice.

So far as retellings go, this one was pretty great. It bore just enough resemblance to the original tale to call itself a retelling, but it was also vividly different and very much its own story when all was said and done. The underlying message is still present and the need for revenge is still very much ingrained in the story. But while the characters do mirror their counterparts from A Tale of Two Cities to some extent, I feel that the author explored their hidden depths and growth as characters in a way that made them wholly unique to this story.

As with SRB's Lynburn Legacy series, the magic took a back seat to the battle between good and evil at times in this story. Even so, it doesn't take magic to make Lucie Manette a force to be reckoned with. When the story begins, Lucie seems to be a meek slip of a girl, but as the story progresses, we see hints of what she's done to get to this point and how far she'll go to protect those she loves. Her life thus far has been tragic and full of loss, especially compared to that of her boyfriend Ethan who's lived a charmed life. But just as Lucie isn't what she seems, neither is Ethan. His own secret is about to change everything.

I always expect some level of predictability when it comes to retellings, but there were times when I was reading and I'd forget that this story was based on another. It felt uniquely SRB...I don't know any other way to say it. If you've read her books before, you'll probably understand that sentiment. (Otherwise, you should rectify that immediately.) This book was a little less sassy and sarcastic than the author's previous works, but it was no less witty or well-written.

I'm glad I hadn't re-read A Tale of Two Cities prior to picking this up because I would have inevitably spent too much time comparing the two stories and not enough time just enjoying this beautiful book for what it was. That said, I do hope that reading this story might entice those who are hesitant to read the classics to give the original story a chance. It's one of my favorites, even though it's one of those they forced us to read in school. But even having a general idea of the story because of the book that inspired it didn't prepare me for how much this novel was going to hurt. Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe it.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Sarah Rees Brennan is Irish and currently lives in Dublin. For a short stint, she lived in New York and became involved with a wide circle of writers who encouraged and supported her, including Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. She has developed a wide audience through her popular blog,, where she writes movie parodies, book reviews and some stories.

Find Sarah:

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter


  1. Oh boy, I'm reading this one soon and now I really look forward to it! :D I'm not familiar with the story it's based on though.

  2. That's quite an undertaking! I don't think I've ever read or heard of A Tale of Two Cities retelling so I'm curious as to how close did SRB emulated the original novel.

  3. I want to check this one out so badly! I'm glad to see you liked it; it's only made me more excited for its released.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  4. I'm excited for this one to get up on my TBR! I hope I love it as much as you do.

  5. I'm so excited to read this one! I got it a week ago from Netgalley and I'm dying to start it!

  6. This makes me really excited to check this book out now! I'm ashamed to admit it will be my first SRB book... :)

  7. I have a copy of A Tale of Two Cities but as usual, I haven't read it just like many of the books I already own. Now I'm torn if I should read this one first, or A Tale of Two Cities first. Too many what ifs, I'll have to think about it some more.

  8. I just read this the other day and I loved it! I have never read a Tale of Two Cities but from reading the book and your review I kind of want to pick it up. But I absolutely love SRB! She is an amazing author!


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