Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: Tell the Wind & Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Tell the Wind and Fire
Sarah Rees Brennan
368 pages
Published by Clarion Books
** Stars

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…

It's hard to perfect the Urban Fantasy genre.  The characters, story and plot need to be well thought out and developed in order for me to be fully engrossed and captivated.  Tell the Wind and Fire was an...interesting story.   It's supposed to be a take on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens but to me it felt more like a mash up of The Hunger Games and Divergent.   I had a challenging time relating to our heroine Lucie in any capacity.  And at some points I even thought she was a tad whiny and emo with all her self loathing.

The setting is in New York and is divided by Light magic & Dark Magic. I need to interject here the "magic" part of this story is weak at best. They have these rings which, from what I could remember basically bounce light off of things and make the reflections look like starbursts-authors words, not mine; which incidentally was used quite a bit. What I took from the story is that the Council of Light (magic) runs both the dark and light worlds but treats the dark like an unwanted step-child.  Only giving them what they need to satisfy their own.  Our heroine Lucie is a love child from...you guessed it both worlds. she's painted as this celebrity type of character because she performed some revolutionary act with the help of her aunt with regard to her father.  She's dubbed The Golden Thread in the Dark but consequently has a hard time owning that fact. 

So as not to give anything away, which I'm sure some could deduce from what little I've given, I'll just say Lucie is faced with the dilemma of choosing comfort over justice.  And that whole Golden thread in the dark thing was a weak attempt at making her a symbol.  It was hard if not confusing to reconcile the attempted portrayal of Lucie with the actual translation of her character.  The secondary characters most definitely fall short of providing any depth or color to an otherwise beige world.  

Urban Fantasy, high fantasy...whatever you want to call it takes lots and lots of world building, suspense building as well as creating characters with depth and dimension.  Unfortunately Tell the Wind and Fire fell short of my expectations in a novel of this genre.

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