Tell the Wind and Fire

Tell the Wind and Fire

by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544318847
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,168,158
File size: 786 KB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sarah Rees Brennan’s popular teen fantasies include The Demon’s Lexicon and Unspoken. She wrote Team Human with Justine Larbalestier and also coauthored The Bane Chronicles with Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson. She lives in Ireland. Visit her website at
Sarah Rees Brennan is the New York Times best-selling author of fantasy novels for teens including The Demon's Lexicon, a YALSA Top Ten Books for Young Adults, and The Bane Chronicles, co-authored with Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson.

Read an Excerpt


     We had never been allowed to go away for the weekend alone together before. So our holiday at Martha’s Vineyard was a rare and special treat, sweet as only things that come seldom and do not last can be.
     Those two days were long and sunshiny and warm. When I think about them now, I remember the pale amber of the sky at sunset, like light shining through honey. I remember the last time I was purely and uncomplicatedly happy, as I used to be when I was a child and my mother was alive.
     Happiness is self-sabotage, a mean trick that your own mind plays on you. It makes you careless, makes you lose your grip, and once you lose your grip, you lose everything. You certainly aren’t happy anymore.
     I was very stupid. It was because I was happy that I made my first mistake.
     In the weeks that followed, I made more.
     Ethan and I lingered in the sun-drenched orchards too long and missed the train we were supposed to catch, a direct train back home with plush seats and clear walls that Light magic pulsed through until the walls themselves looked like they were made of diamond. Staying an extra night was out of the question: Dad would have panicked, and it would have been all my fault. I was responsible for him. Taking care of him was my job and my penance.
     We had to catch the last train home to Light New York. It was one of the commuter trains that wound through the sky on rails that shone like glittering threads, stopping at tiny stations on the way. This kind of train even stopped in the Dark cities. Ethan and I bought the tickets and stood on the platform, reassuring each other in voices that did not sound terribly assured.
     “It might be fun,” said Ethan.
     I told myself he didn’t know any better. Rich people think like that about slumming it, putting on other people’s lives like a disguise at a party. It is fun only because they can cast off the mask at any time.
     “Why would it be fun?” I asked.
     Nevertheless, I felt my shoulders relax as the train came into view. 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.
     It was just a train like any other train. The buried had their own compartment and would not be allowed into ours. We had reserved a private train car. Nobody, from the Dark or Light city, would have the chance to recognize me.
     I made my next mistake. I promised myself everything was going to be all right.
     Once you lose something, it tends to stay gone. This is especially true with chances.
     The train streamed, sparkling, up to the platform. I saw a glimpse of the car carrying the buried ones with its black-screened windows, and then Ethan and I boarded the train. Moments later, we were in our own tiny room, tangled together on a bunk. The moonlight flooded into and ebbed away from our small window, tide-like, with the movement of the train.
     We would be traveling all night.
     I don’t always sleep through the night. I tear myself out of sleep, heart pounding, sure something terrible is happening. I have trouble feeling secure. Except with Ethan.
     I only sleep well when I sleep beside Ethan. I fell asleep in the flickering light, warm in his arms, warm as kissing and skin had made the tiny space between us. The train was rocking, gentle as a boat on a calm sea, and he was stroking my hair.
     “I love you,” he murmured to me, and I knew he would keep saying it even after I was asleep.
     In the two years since my father and I had escaped Dark New York, I’d woken a hundred times to night terrors that vanished as soon as I opened my eyes. It was bitter irony that I didn’t wake when the real danger was coming.
     I didn’t wake until they ripped Ethan out of my arms, and then I sat up in the bunk with my heart pounding and my eyes full of moonbeams to find the nightmare was real. Once the dazzle cleared from my vision, I saw six armed guards dragging my boyfriend out of our compartment and onto a platform. He was fighting, but they had already bound his hands with Light, a shimmering coil of magic around his wrists that he could not escape. They pressed him, struggling, onto his knees on the shadowed-dark stone, and in the cool moonlight I saw the flash of a blade.
     I threw myself out of bed and hurled myself out onto the platform. In two bounds, I was in front of Ethan, grabbing the sword, my feet on cold stone and my hands full of cold steel.
     All guards carry Light swords, blades tempered with Light magic, to prevent Dark magicians from messing with their minds, and the swords are precise and deadly, unstoppable, whether you are a Dark magician or someone born with no magic at all.
     Most Light magicians are not taught to defend against guards’ swords. They are meant to be used for our protection, used against our enemies. No normal Light magician would be trained to fight their own guards.
     But I was.
     Pain burned a line into each palm, but I hung on. My rings pressed against the Light-gleaming blade and blazed. My blood stained the blade, blotting out some of the light, but the guard gasped and found he could not move his weapon.
     “Don’t you dare touch him,” I said. “I’m Lucie Manette, do you hear me? He’s Ethan Stryker and I’m Lucie Manette. If you hurt him, you will pay for it in blood.”
     I knew it was a mistake as soon as I spoke. The guard’s face showed not submission but angry confusion: he obviously recognized the names, but it was as if I’d said that we were the hero and the cute talking animal from a fairy tale. It didn’t match up with any of his ideas, so it didn’t convince him, and it wouldn’t stop him.
     It had been two years since anyone had doubted my word. It had been two years since I had dealt with anybody who wanted to hurt someone I loved, and I had forgotten how to bear it.
     “He’s a traitor,” the guard said. “We have a warrant and a witness who swears he saw him passing vital security information to a fugitive member of the sans-merci. The fugitive was apprehended and killed, and the plans were found on her. The witness described this man with absolute accuracy. There is no possibility of error.”
     One of the guards wearing Light rings gestured, and Ethan’s face was reproduced in light against the night sky, as if an artistic comet had traced his profile onto the darkness. His face shone for a moment, and then the magic faded and the lights went out.
     “You know the penalty for treason. Move aside.”
     I understood now how the guard had felt, hearing words but not being able to make sense of them. I knew what happened to anyone accused of associating with the sans-merci, and I could not connect any of this to Ethan.
     The sans-merci was the name the band of revolutionaries in the Dark city had given themselves. They had killed Light guards, risen up in fury, and even saved condemned criminals from the sword. The Light Guard had been given free rein by the Light Council when it came to the revolutionaries, and nobody could stand against the council.
     Anyone suspected of being in league with the sans-merci, the Light Guard would not spare.
     I did not know how to get through to them. There were not many Light guards in the actual Light cities. Guards were posted mainly in the Dark cities, to control the Dark magicians, and the rest patrolled the country to search for Dark magicians and take them to the Dark cities, where they belonged. Out here, these backwater guards did not even know a Stryker when they saw one. The guards were not used to answering to the Strykers or anyone else on the Light Council. “The council” was just a phrase that gave them power. These guards were used to being the ultimate authority.
     I knew the penalty for treason. It was death: instant death, death by the blade, death without a chance for mercy or escape.
     I did not know how death could suddenly be so close to Ethan. I could not even associate him with the word. He had always been secure and protected, his whole charmed life. I had envied him and resented him and taken comfort in the fact that there was one person I loved who would be safe forever.
     I didn’t even dare look back at Ethan, at his shoulders bowed under cruel pressure or his hanging, vulnerable head. I kept my eyes locked with the guard’s: the only thing stopping him from carrying out his orders was the complication of a barely dressed girl crazy enough to catch a sword in her hands.
     The only thing standing between Ethan and death was me.
     “I said, he’s a Stryker,” I insisted, making sure my voice rang out so everybody could hear. “He’s Mark Stryker’s nephew, Charles Stryker’s son. You can’t just execute him. The Strykers will bring a world of trouble down onto your head.”
     “If he’s a Stryker”—I could hear that the guard didn’t believe me; I didn’t know how to make him believe me—“then he knows the law.”
     We all knew the law. I remembered how noble Ethan’s Uncle Mark had sounded when he made the proclamation broadcast across the city, announcing new laws had been passed to stop the sans-merci, to give the Light guards the power to crush them.
     The guards would use that power to kill Ethan, unless I stopped them.
     “This is all a misunderstanding,” I said forcefully. “Why take this unnecessary risk? Why not transport us both to the city? You can watch us every minute, keep us in restraints. Send word to Charles Stryker, and he will meet us at the station. He will explain everything. He will reward you.”
     Instantly I saw that I had made another mistake. I had not been this clumsy, once, but I had not been this desperate for two years. I was out of practice, and that meant Ethan was out of luck.
     The guard’s face—he was an ordinary guy, stubble and tired eyes, a totally normal man just doing his job and burning my life to the ground—closed like a door.
     “The guards of the Light don’t take bribes,” he said, and his voice had the definitive sound of a door closing too. He gave a single brief nod, and I felt hands close around my arms.
     “No,” I said, desperate. I tried to twist away, out of their hold, even though I knew it was useless: once people begin using force, words will not stop them. “Wait—you have to listen to me! You can’t do this!”
     The only thing standing between Ethan and death was me, and I was not enough. Two guards dragged me back, kicking and fighting and saying useless things, a victim’s chant of despair—You can’t do this, when we all knew they could, Stop, when we all knew they wouldn’t, and Please, please, for the Light’s sake, please, when mercy was not an option.
     “Lucie!” Ethan’s voice cut through the sounds of my futile struggle. There were guards in my way, and I could not see him. “Lucie, I’m so sorry. I love you.”
     “No!” I screamed at him giving up, at the guards, at the whole uncaring world. “No. Stop!”
     There was the long, slow scrape of a train-car door opening. I twisted in the guards’ hold at the sound.
     It was the car of the buried ones, the citizens of the Dark city, that had opened. Standing framed in the doorway was a doppelganger, his face shrouded by the doppelganger’s dark hood, fastened with the enchanted collar.
     He was a boy, I guessed, though it was hard to tell with the hood. He was tall, whipcord lean, and strong-looking, but something about him suggested that he was not full grown. He would be no help, I thought with a burst of frustration—he was a doppelganger, a creature made by Dark magic, with a face that wasn’t his own and no soul. Nobody would listen to him.
     I choked on my own hopelessness. The doppelganger was standing slouched to one side of the door, like a not-very-interested spectator.
     “The lady’s right,” he said, and his voice was a drawl, as if he wasn’t entirely sure why he was bothering to speak. “You’d better stop.”
     “Back inside, doppelganger,” the guard with the sword, the leader, snapped. There was none of the hesitation there had been with me.
     The leader nodded again, and one of the guards dropped my arm and advanced.
     I saw the guard’s walk turn purposeful and predatory as he came toward the doppelganger and uncoiled a whip from his belt.
     “Don’t!” The sound burst from me, without my permission.
     At the same time, from the guard, came the order “He said inside, beast.”
     I heard the crack and saw the leap of the whip as it woke into light and transcribed a bright circle against the black sky. He struck at the shadow cast by the hood, aiming directly for the hidden face.
     The doppelganger wheeled at the last moment, stepped out onto the train platform, and caught the lash on his arm, turning his wrist so the whip wrapped around it. He pulled, changing lightning into a leash, and yanked the stunned guard onto his knees.
     Before the guard could scramble up or another guard could intervene, the doppelganger spoke again.
     “I heard there was a witness who saw the accused consorting with a member of the sans-merci,” he said. “I just have one question.”
     Silence followed, the guards taken aback by his casual air as they had not been by my screaming.
     I stopped straining against the remaining guard’s hold and said, forcing my voice to match his, “What is it?”
     “This terrible criminal your witness saw . . .”
     The doppelganger threw his hood back.
     The humming magic light of swords, my rings, and the train itself had transformed the platform into a brilliantly lit stage. The light was bright enough that I could see every detail of his face; it chased along his high cheekbones and the slightly crooked shape of his mouth, lending an icy sparkle to his dark eyes. His brown hair was cut very short, but I knew if it was longer it would curl. I knew the lopsided turn his mouth would take if he smiled. I knew the very line of his throat as it disappeared into the dark folds of his hood and the black edge of his heavy collar. I knew every detail of his beloved face.
     Ethan was still on his knees, surrounded by guards. I could not see Ethan, and yet I could.
     This was Ethan’s face. This was Ethan’s doppelganger—his exact physical double.
     “How do you know,” continued the doppelganger, “that it wasn’t me?”

Another silence followed. We had a second chance, in this uncertain moment, to use words and change the world.
     I had to get it right this time.
     “An eyewitness sighting doesn’t count if the person reported has a doppelganger,” I said quickly. “Everybody knows that.”
     “Because it could have been me,” the doppelganger agreed. “I mean, maybe it was him. Maybe he was out prowling the streets with his low political companions, and I was somewhere warm, having a lot more fun—possibly with this gorgeous thing.”
     He cast me a brief glance. The brown eyes I was used to seeing soften as they looked at me were flat and expressionless. His look made me feel colder and more exposed than the night wind did. I was deeply and horribly conscious that I was standing on this platform in nothing but a thin shift that hung open so my goose flesh was on display.
     Very alluring. But this hideous charade had to be continued.
     I tossed my long hair over my shoulder and sent the doppelganger a wink. “Maybe.”
     He spread his hands, as if to say “What can you do?” He was still slouching, which was fairly impressive when there was nothing in sight to slouch against. “Maybe he is guilty and I’m totally innocent.” His mouth curved, as if he was amused by the very idea. “It only seemed fair to point out that you don’t have all the information.”
     “Now you do,” I stuck in. “It could have been either one of them, and if you kill the wrong one, it will be murder.”
     “Killing a beast isn’t really murder,” muttered the guard who had wielded the whip, spitting at the doppelganger’s feet.
     “You might not think so,” I said, “but you’ll be punished just the same.”
     I tested the grip of the guard still holding me. His fingers twitched, relaxed, and, under the steady pressure I was exerting, released. I walked forward, past the cluster of guards, to the doppelganger. He started when I approached him, oddly, as he had not flinched when the whip came down. I reached out, grabbed his hand, and towed him over to Ethan.
     When the guards let me pass, I could almost believe we might get away with this.
     “The only thing you can do is take us to the Light city,” I said, sounding as certain and casual as I knew how. “All of us.”
     The guards parted and I could finally, finally see Ethan, my Ethan. They had knocked him onto his hands and knees, his broad shoulders were bare and his wavy, sleep-mussed head was still hanging, but he looked up as I stooped toward him. I gave him my free hand, and when his fingers closed around my shaking, sweat-slicked fingers, I felt steadier, my lost anchor regained, warmth and security a possibility once again.
     Ethan got to his feet. A moment later, I had them both safe, keeping myself a step ahead, between them and the guards.
     “Remember what I suggested earlier?” I asked. “Put us back in our compartment. Put a guard at the door if you like—I don’t care. And call Charles Stryker. Let the Light Council sort out this misunderstanding.”
     They were off balance enough to do what I wanted, and uncertain enough now to listen to the name Stryker. When the guards ushered me, Ethan, and the doppelganger into the compartment that had been just mine and Ethan’s, the leader was already looking worried.
     Another guard said, as he shut the door in our faces, “I didn’t know any of the Strykers had a doppelganger.”
     The door closed, and I sagged against it. I watched Ethan and the doppelganger retreat to opposite sides of the compartment.
     “Funny thing,” I remarked. “Neither did I.”

I was furious, but there was something I had to do before questioning either one of them.
     “Come here,” I said, and advanced on the doppelganger. He took a step back and wound up sitting on the bunk, looking surprised and mildly irritated.
     I held up my hands as if in surrender, though it was anything but. I held them so the doppelganger could see the Light magic rings glittering on all my fingers.
     “I’m a trained Light medic,” I told him. “Now let me see your wrist.”
     He gave me an unfriendly look, but he let me kneel down and snatch his hand again. I pushed back the worn fabric of his sleeve. The material tried to adhere to the burn, but I pulled it off despite the hiss of pain that slipped through the doppelganger’s teeth. I had to loop my fingers around his wrist, over the burn, thumb and middle finger touching. I concentrated, coaxing to life the light hidden in every sparkling stone, letting it form a bright bracelet over his skin and mine. When I let go, I knew the light would wash the burn marks away. I was able to help, because he was not too badly hurt. My mother had been able to save people on the brink of death, but I was not a tenth as brilliant a magician as my mother. I could only do this.
     I blinked away the remnants of Light in my vision, like dissolving stars, until all that was left was his intent gaze.
     “There,” I told him.
     “Am I supposed to thank you?”
     “No,” I said. “I’m supposed to thank you. You saved his life and I love him, so I owe you more than I know how to repay. Thank you . . . what’s your name?”
     He hesitated. “Carwyn.”
     “Carwyn,” I said, still kneeling, staring up into a familiar face with a strange name on my tongue. “Thank you. Buried how long, Carwyn?”
     That was what citizens of the Dark city always asked each other when we met. That was what we called living in the Dark city: being buried.
     He hesitated again, but when he spoke there was weight to his response, as if he had come to some decision. “Thirteen years, but I’m out now,” said Carwyn. “Buried how long, Lucie?”
     So that answered that: he had recognized me.
     “Fifteen years,” I said. “But that was two years ago. I’m out now.”
     “They’re still talking about you in the Dark city,” Carwyn said.
     I picked up the dress that was on the floor and pulled it over my head as quickly but with as little fuss as I could manage, lacing up the front. Ethan grabbed a fresh shirt out of his bag.
     He came and sat with me on one end of the bed, taking my hand again, and I curled into him, chin tucked against his shoulder and my hand pressed in a fist against his chest. As if I could protect him, as if I could keep his heart beating.
     “I didn’t know how to tell you, Lucie,” said Ethan. “About him.”
     The train was in motion again. I leaned against Ethan, but I did not look at him or at the stranger who wore his face. I looked out the window. The train was speeding along the slender bridge that the Light Council had built fifty years ago, toward the Light city of New York. I saw the tall, bright columns standing in clusters, the Chrysler Building with its prismatic triangle of lights at the top, blazing like a beacon, and Stryker Tower, a steel line studded with huge stones shimmering with Light power and crowned with a spike.
     We were almost home, my new home full of Light, the home where I had learned how to be happy. I did not jump in front of blades there. I did not see blood or horror: I was not that person, not anymore. All I needed to do was keep my head down and my life could continue the way it was now, the way I had made it. I could be safe.
     I remembered how I had felt on the train platform, knowing for the first time that someone could hurt Ethan.
     I said, “So tell me now.”

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Tell the Wind and Fire 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
CarolineA More than 1 year ago
This poor book sat on my virtual TBR shelf for ages. It sounded interesting, so I requested and was approved for it on NetGalley... but then I never quite felt in the mood for an urban fantasy. Unfortunately, when I finally made myself read it, I still wasn't quite in the mood for an urban fantasy. To start off with, this book is based on A Tale of Two Cities. I've never read that one, but I honestly don't really like classics. I know. Blasphemous. But it's true. Sorry, not sorry. The atmosphere is really dark. Which makes sense, but it was darker than I was in the mood for. There's another strike. The characters just never pulled me in. I really didn't care about any of them. The only character that actually interested me at all was the doppleganger, but we honestly didnt get to know enough about him to really even care about what happens to him. The plot moved at a snails pace. There were at least two instances where I thought about quitting, only for things to pick up again shortly after. I did make it til the end, and the ending was interesting, but like I said before, I wasn't invested in the characters or the plot enough to actually care about the big "twist" that occured. 
In all, this was a rather lackluster read for me. Fans of both Dickens and urban fantasy may enjoy this one, but unfortunately it just didn't do it for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Sarah Rees Brennan's books, and I loved how deeply this book engages with feminism especially given my issues with the source material, A Tale of Two Cities. It was so great to see a take on Lucie that acknowledges the complexity of being a symbol and a person simultaneously and stresses her own agency, while still retaining the intricate plotting and thoughts about the consequences of revolution in the original. Plus, magic!
KittyKat4 More than 1 year ago
*This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* I really didn't enjoy this book. I found the plot to be uninteresting, I didn't like the main character Lucie and didn't really care about her. I also found that the plot jumped all over the place making it hard to follow at times. I almost didn't finish this book but I did so hoping it would get better as the plot progressed; it didn't. It may just be me but I found that the plot and characters interesting for about the first two chapters but then I lost interest especially after reading more about Lucie's character; she claims she's in love with Ethan yet their relationship seems rather dysfunctional, they don't trust each other and they keep secrets from each other. I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like love to me; it sounds like a convenient arrangement. I've read that this was supposed to be a retelling of 'A Tale of Two cities' so maybe because I haven't read that book I didn't appreciate this one. Overall I found this book to be disappointing.
KimMc More than 1 year ago
A truly thought provoking and heart stirring story, told in richly detailed prose- brava to Brennan! Strength and human vulnerability intertwine beautifully in the face of right v wrong, and sacrifices that are made from love. I found it a bit confusing in the beginning trying to figure out the light v dark and the place of a doppelgänger, but I'm so glad I stuck through the first couple of chapters. I like the author's voice and the writing is witty, intelligent, and full of figurative language. Reminiscent of Hunger Games & Divergent.. but subtly done. I truly enjoyed this one, and thought about the characters and their world long after I finished the last page. *I received an arc from NetGalley for an honest review
Silk-Serif More than 1 year ago
Tell the Wind and Fire is based on Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and comes with a fantasy twist. New York City is divided between the Light City and the Dark City – a distinction that creates a world of inequality based on birth and magical abilities. Light is good, Dark is bad, or is it? Our story follows Lucie, a girl born in the Dark city who earns her way into the Light city. Her experiences border on shock that the Light city is so comfortable while those in the Dark City are condemned to live in poverty and darkness. Meanwhile, the Dark City uses Lucie’s rise as a motivation for a bloody revolution. In the end, I found Tell the Wind and Fire a pleasant and entertaining read, but after some time away from the story I've come to realize the novel was not particularly memorable. The world building, strife and larger issues explored in this novel were more memorable than he characters themselves. I needed to return to the novel to remind myself of most of the plot concerning the love triangle and Ethan's own issues with his family. After some time away from this novel I've realized that overall my response to this novel is largely a "meh" feeling with memories of pleasant prose. I wouldn't necessarily say this is a bad thing, I really enjoyed this novel, but it didn't impact me very deeply emotionally. Of course our heroine meets her prince charming in Ethan, who is the son of one of the ruling families in the Light City. I honestly found myself rolling my eyes at how attractive Ethan was, how powerful his family was and how kind Ethan is regardless of his family’s beliefs. The ensuing love triangle pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the romance aspect of this novel for me. Sorry, just love triangles are never written well or necessary. Period. Tell the Wind and Fire is no exception, the plot could have been further developed without any kissy face with another guy. Fortunately, I liked the world building with magic, the story of the struggles between opposing peoples, the overarching historical details and the lovely imagery. Although Tell the Wind and Fire could have come with more details of where the magic came from in the first place rather than “it just appeared” and the disjuncture between “dark” and “light” magic is never explained in a satisfying manner – the story has some serious promise. Tell the Wind and Fire is a standalone, but is written more like a first installment of a series which I believe will largely hinder this novel in satisfying its intended market. YA readers love their series. WindandFiirePromo Brennan creates a beautiful city of light and contrasts the city of dark exceptionally well. I found it easy to be enveloped in a world where the virtues of birth makes you part of the ruling class or part of the lower caste. I especially enjoyed the idea of a bloody revolution where a people oppressed fight against their oppressors, but is led by a leader who creates the revolution for very personal and very wrong reasons. This was my first novel by Brennan, but I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style and the interesting plot she created. I will definitely check out more of her work when I get the chance to compare it to Tell The Wind and Fire. This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy, classic novel re-adaptations, strong female heroines, struggles between 'good' and 'evil' (although in this novel the good and evil aren't entirely obvious) and young adult stand alone novels.
JK1515 More than 1 year ago
"Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan weaves a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss." That is the last line in the description, and very accurate for this book. I was pleasantly surprised by this dystopian ya romance. The concept the author used to world build a land of magic and secrets, was brilliant. I've read my share of the popular category of ya dystopian. This was one of those books that stands out. I liked that the characters were flawed, good, bad, and mostly, redeemable. I'm looking forward to see what happens in the next installment! Four glittery stars!
JK1515 More than 1 year ago
"Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan weaves a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss." That is the last line in the description, and very accurate for this book. I was pleasantly surprised by this dystopian ya romance. The concept the author used to world build a land of magic and secrets, was brilliant. I've read my share of the popular category of ya dystopian. This was one of those books that stands out. I liked that the characters were flawed, good, bad, and mostly, redeemable. I'm looking forward to see what happens in the next installment! Four glittery stars!
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Clarion Books & NetGalley for a copy of this e-ARC to review. Though I received this ebook for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review. A beautiful blend of action and emotional introspection, this story mirrors aspects of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in more ways than simply appropriating the phrase used throughout the story by Lucie and her Aunt Leila. Even the title of the book is taken from the quote out of A Tale of Two Cities, "[sic], tell the wind and fire where to stop, but don't tell me." The lead character, Lucie Manatte is very loosely based upon a character of the same name in A Tale of Two Cities, right down to the golden hair, blue eyes, and being caretaker for her father, the doctor. Dickens' Lucie is also "...the golden thread...," and guided her father out of madness through the sheer strength of her will. I could go on and on with list of similarities between the two books, but I imagine this will suffice for those already familiar with this one of Dickens more famous stories. Though the characters may have resemblances to other fictional characters, they are very much their own, unique beings. Lucie is a wonderful character in how she grows and develops throughout this story, as is Ethan, the boyfriend that saved her at one of the very lowest points in her life. They both have good hearts and mostly good intentions, they simply express them differently. Much of that has to do with their own misunderstandings of each other, and of themselves; a problem that is deftly handled as the story progresses. While I wanted Lucie to stand up for her beliefs, it is very easy to understand why she struggled so hard to do so. And may have also explained, in part, why she didn't see the real Ethan until it was almost to late. While this wasn't just the Lucie and Ethan show, they were the main protagonists and subsequently got the largest portion of time devoted to there issues. Of course having Lucie tell the story also pretty much ensured that we'd follow were her thoughts & heart led. I found the arc of the story to match the characters' development family neatly, making for a mostly smooth and seamless series of transitions as the story progressed. Though slower in the beginning that was virtually required in order to set up the backstory, and it was never to slow that I lost interest. Once the story was well anchored things pretty much exploded from there, with the last quarter or more being full of intense, dynamic events, and hair-raising action. Yet through it all the message embedded in the story was never lost, nor did it ever supersede the actual tale being shared with us. And the messages are solid, important, and useful; all without feeling as if I'd just been force fed, or preached at rather than having just enjoyed an unusual, yet engaging and entertaining, story. Certainly not what I was expecting, but it did not disappoint in any way, shape, or form!
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
Actual rating would be 3 1/2 stars. “Tell the Wind and Fire” is a fantasy novel based heavily on “A Tale of Two Cities,” but if you haven’t read that you won’t be lost. I had very mixed feelings on it, ranging from being in love with certain parts to wanting to scream and throw the book at the wall in frustration. The premise was really good and engaging. The world-building was fantastic, and that is always something that hooks me. Unfortunately, the plot was kind of jerked around. Sometimes it was fast-paced and others it was slow. Perhaps the worst aspect was that at times it felt like a good chunk of information was missing, and the reader was expected to infer what backstory led to the current events. It wasn’t enough to ruin the story, but it was an annoyance. The main character, Lucie, was a child born in the Dark City who ended up in the Light. For half of the book she was fierce and relatable. Her dialogue with one character, whose details I will keep secret due to spoilers, was absolutely amazing. I loved their dynamic and wish the entire book had been about them. Then there was Ethan, her boyfriend. The term “flowery prose” does not even begin to describe how she thought of him. It felt like an entirely separate book. Think Victorian era romance, which would have been fine had she not been a strong character literally everywhere else. He was given flaws, some pretty serious ones, that were all but ignored in favor of her falling all over herself over his perfection. The over-the-top relationship almost ruined the entire book. “Tell the Wind and Fire” is worth the read for the good parts, but be sure to be prepared for some frustration. It’s best for high school aged and up. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Connie57103 More than 1 year ago
I know this was supposed to be based on "A Tale of Two Cities", however, that setting was eons ago. This is futuristic, dystopian, a bit thriller/fantasy/romance. It begins when Lucie and Ethan were coming home from a mini vaca. Maybe they should have stayed there. Ethan was captured or stopped by light patrols (are you confused/frustrated yet?). He was accused of crimes he did not commit, and to which he was to be immediately executed. Lucie kept whining and moaning about it. Can you tell I don't like her type? Isn't this supposed to be part dystopian? Where is her Sasha Fierce? Beyonce doesn't have it. A doppelganger that was made by magic stepped in to save Ethan's life. Even though Ethan, from the light side (he is actually from the ruler of light: the luxury, Trump Towers affluent side), he has terrible secrets. Ethan is suppose to be the equivalent of Dicken's "bad boy", even though he has no soul. Yes, he is from the oppressed dark side, which is monitored, oppressed, and not much good. Yet, he saves Ethan from certain death. I am not going to write a synopsis of the entire book. So many have done that already. Let me just say that for the most part, this book is true to the Dickens book. I kind of enjoyed it because of Carwynn, the doppelganger bad boy. Even though Lucie is crushing on Ethan til you wanna hurl, Carwynn kisses her often, and I believe she rather enjoys it. Both the light and the dark feed off of negativity. The dark side, the oppressed side is trying to build a rebellion. Politicians can't be trusted with what they say (you think?!?). And. Lucie has to choose to save the love of her life, Ethan, the bad boy doppelganger, Carwynn, or even herself. Who does she choose? The ending had some twisters leading up to it which I rather enjoyed a lot. I just wish the first 3/5ths were as interesting. However, Hunger Games fans may really get into this book big time. Movie's coming out, when????? Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group Clarion Books and NetGalley for giving me a free book to read and give an honest review.
BiaJohnson1 More than 1 year ago
This was a very good retelling of Dickens 'Tale of Two Cities'. There were parts that i thought dragged on and had me looking to see how much farther I had to read. Near the beginning second half I wanted to put it down, but I'm glad I stuck with it. The last two chapters almost had me in tears, I would so move by the characters. I got this book through NetGalley
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan Publisher: Clarion Books Publication Date: April 5, 2016 Rating: 1 star Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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 the young men’s deadly connection, 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 weaves a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss. What I Liked: Unfortunately, this book was not for me, as is evident by my rating. It's not for me but it could very well be a book that you might enjoy. It was definitely not something I liked. I originally gave this book two stars, but I bumped it down to one star, after a few days of pondering what the heck happened in the story. I'm not even going to bother summarizing this book. I literally have no idea how to summarize it - the official summary makes no sense, and neither did the book. So I'll just move on the next section. What I Did Not Like: Gosh this book was such a huge waste of my time. Like I said above, it might be a book for you - this review is entirely my opinion - but for me, it was a colossal waste of time. The synopsis is confusing, and the story is confusing. The first two or three chapters were huge info-dumps, chapter after chapter. You get to experience ALL of the world-building by Lucie telling you (in narration), and all in the first three chapters. I kid you not. It's like fifteen pages of paragraph after paragraph of narration about the history, the setting, etc. Snooze. I have not read Dickens' book (which this is loosely based on), but had I known there would be some weirdo love triangle, I would have stayed FAR away from this book as possible. Lucie has always been in love with her boyfriend Ethan, and she's very devoted to him (literally every other sentence is about how perfect Ethan is). But enter Ethan's (illegal) doppelganger , who isn't supposed to exist. He looks the same as Ethan (a little skinnier), but his personality is totally different (indifferent, moody, does not care at all). As soon as Carwyn is introduced to the story, Lucie practically latches on and adopts him. Seems weird for a girlfriend who is obsessed with her boyfriend, right? I suppose she gets subconsciously confused because Carwyn is basically a physical carbon copy of Ethan... but she knows the difference, physically. Honestly I don't understand her reasoning for wanting to mother Carywn, for pretty much abandoning and everything to make sure Carwyn is well and truly bothered by her annoying presence. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
AmyWeidenaar More than 1 year ago
I admit there were a few times that I had to go back and reassure myself that this was a YA novel. The writing was wonderfully done and the story was engaging. The characters had their own distinct personalities. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
While this isn't my usual genre, I really liked what the blurb said about it. So I decided, "what the heck, I'll give it a try". Boy, am I glad that I did. I was very entertained by this story and honestly could not put it down. I was mesmerized by this new world, well two new worlds, and really got into it. Of course, the story was out there, but why can't one just go with it and enjoy? That is exactly what I did. And I loved it! Thanks Houghton Mufflin Harcourt for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Lucie Manette was born in the Dark City, where Dark magicians or those with families connected to Dark magic are kept close to the Light but not too close. She grew up in the Dark until her father was arrested. But that was two years ago. She's out now. Using cunning and strategy, Lucie saved her father when he was condemned. She brought them both into the luxury and relative safety of the Light. Now, Lucie tries to put her time in the Dark behind her. She can offer no help to the people she loved and left behind when the city is ruled by the power and might of the magicians and politicians on the Light Council. It's easier to keep a low profile and protect her father and spend time with her boyfriend, Ethan. Lucie's precarious world comes crashing down when a weekend trip goes horribly wrong and Ethan is accused of treason. Carwyn, a mysterious boy from Ethan's past, can deflect suspicion but he, too, is hiding a secret that could ruin Ethan and his family. Unrest is growing in both the Light and the Dark. When revolution comes, Lucie will have to decide which secrets to keep and which truths to tell. As she struggles to protect herself and those she cares about, Lucie will stop at nothing to save both Ethan and Carwyn. With luck and determination she can save one of them, but only one in Tell the Wind and Fire (2016) by Sarah Rees Brennan. Tell the Wind and Fire is a stand alone novel inspired by (and loosely retelling) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Rees Brennan sticks to the structure of the original story while also adding her own spin to mark this book as the well-developed urban fantasy that fans of the author have come to expect. The contrast between Light and Dark magic as well as a richly detailed version of New York City come to life with vivid descriptions and carefully executed world building. This novel brings a decidedly feminist slant to this familiar story. Instead of focusing on any of the male characters, Tell the Wind and Fire focuses its narrator, Lucie Manette. Throughout the novel, Rees Brennan gives Lucie (and her father) significantly more agency than they ever got from Dickens. Lucie is a shrewd and calculating heroine. She is a survivor and she admits the high cost of that survival in a world where the stakes can literally be life and death. Lucie manipulates her femininity and her perception in the public eye to do what she must to keep herself and those who matter safe as both sides of the revolution vie to use her as a symbol for their cause. Tell the Wind and Fire is everything you want in a retelling of a beloved classic. This novel will make you miss and want to re-read Dickens' sweeping novel while also asserting itself as a strong novel in its own right. Highly recommended. Possibly Pairings: The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Legend by Marie Lu, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, Code Name Verity by Elizbeth Wein
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding re-imagining of Dickens "Tale of Two Cities." Although the ending is never in doubt, the story provides many wonderful characters in depth., and a compelling narrative. The writing is clear and straight-forward, giving a good base for description of the new worlds of light and dark. The good and evil inherent in the human animal show through in a dystopian future as readily as they did in Dickens' time. The book is entertaining and engrossing, well worth a read.
forsakenfates More than 1 year ago
I'm so in love with this book. I loved the writing, the characters, and the story. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books of all time and Sarah Rees Brennan has crafted this amazing retelling of the classic story. She definitely made it her own with amazing characters, doppelgangers, and magic. Even though I knew how this was going to end and I knew I was in for a world of hurt, I still was not prepared for just how horrible the ending was going to be. And I say that in a completely positive way. This story still managed to shock me in every way and I truly felt for the characters as they went through their own Revolution. This story really gets at who you are and what you are willing to do both for your beliefs and the people you care about. Lucie, Ethan, and Carwyn each had complex backstories and situations that lead them to this story and how everything unfolded. There were so many choices that led to what unfolded and how it unfolded. That being said, while I knew how the general story was going to go, there were still many twists and turns that kept me guessing as to how exactly things were going to unfold. I'm so lucky that I got an ARC of this book and I cannot recommend it enough to people. Especially fans of A Tale of Two cities and fantasy books. Plus this book has amazing writing and so many gorgeous quotes throughout. I have so many post-it notes lining my ARC in places where I loved the writing. *I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
tpolen More than 1 year ago
I've read this book is loosely based on Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, but I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read that novel, so I can't offer any comparisons. I've seen some mixed reviews on Tell the Wind and Fire, but I'm not sure if the more negative reviews are from die-hard Dickens fans or for more personal reasons. Whatever the case, I may be in the minority that enjoyed it. In the first 25% of this book, I was in awe of the world-building, but had to re-read paragraphs and backtrack a few times to understand this world and its rules. As I got further into the story, it looked as if a dreaded love triangle was looming on the horizon, something that disappointed me, but I stuck with it because as I got to know the doppelganger, I thoroughly enjoyed his voice and snark (for any Vampire Diaries fans, think Damon). To my relief, the love triangle never develops, but my favorite character in this book is Carwyn, the doppelganger. It's difficult to say why without giving away spoilers, but I'll just say he has the best character arc. Yes - this is partly a love story, but it's more of a cog in the bigger wheel of the rebellion taking place. Looking at the bigger picture, this is a story about the have and the have-nots and how we regrettably make assumptions about people based on speculation, geography, and circumstances of birth. And what you would do to save yourself and those you love. After the first 25%, there is a lull, but the brisk pace resumes and there are some surprising twists. The decisions Lucie makes early on seem a little unbelievable given how much she cares about Ethan and I almost put the book down just based on that, but I'm glad I continued. I also have to mention how thrilled I am this is a stand alone book, with no sequel to impatiently wait for. I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
Tell the Wind and Fire is a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, but since I have never read the original classic, I will not be commenting on that topic. Instead, I would like to talk about its merits as a dystopic fantasy, set in a world divided by two kinds of magic, divided by appearances of goodness and evil, while being neither. Lucie, our heroine, rose up from the Dark she was born in, through a careful manipulation of public opinion. Now, two years later, she is living a good life, and doesn’t want to relive her past in the Dark City. Her boyfriend, though, has some ties down there which they can’t escape, and unwillingly, she is forced to face the past she ran away from. The underlying theme of the book was hatred based on differences, and Brennan brought that out in multitudes. There was Lucie feeling powerless and on a pedestal because she was seen as an innocent maiden, and not a woman; she was revered for being a symbol, and not a person with flaws. She is pushed into tight corners and makes cowardly decisions, that ultimately set into motion a series of events, but her kindness was the virtue she suffered for. She saw a dark creature and looked at him as a person, and despite being born in a hateful part of the city, knew how to love people wholly. Ethan comes off very boring, as Camryn would agree, but he has his merits. He is the Peeta of the story, though, and her radiant light. Camryn was sarcastic, and morally ambigious; the way he treated her was distasteful but I loved how she stood up to him and made him realize what he was doing wrong, rather than just hating him for being a Dark creature. Now, the ending – well, it was quite anticlimactic as this is a standalone. But when you look at the overall theme of the book, I feel it fit. It was left open, and maybe on a little bit of hope. The characters certainly evolved a lot through the book, and the generous amount of subtext that went into the world made this an enlightening read. It was realistic, even though it has elements of fantasy, because the book focused on the characters and the world rather than the magic aspect. In conclusion, it is a fantastic story, even if you have never read the original. Received a free galley from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
bibblebooked More than 1 year ago
I like Lucie because unlike other dystopian heroines who are extraordinarily fearless, she’s not and that’s what makes her totally relatable and real but uhmmn, I am not an Ethan fan like, at all. Do you wanna know who I totally root for which I think y’all would love as well? Carwyn. Our typical bad boy who’s sarcastic, snarky but cute and mysterious. Now, I really wished we’d know him more in the book. Fact: I am not a huge fan of dystopian books because most of them have the same story lines. Societies divided into two opposing groups, one being the ruling class and the other being the slave class. This book is no difference but that doesn’t stop my excitement from discovering what new world SRB has in stored for us. Sooo…Magic. Aside from my obvious adoration for Carwyn, it’s one thing that stopped me from putting the book down and pulling out from the story entirely because duh, I love magic. Here, we will be introduced to an alternate New York City which is divided into two – the Dark and Light City. The fact that this is A Tale of Two Cities retelling would give readers some level of predictability but I want to laud SRB for giving it a unique touch but at the same time not going far off from the story which it is originally based from. Based on how the Cities were visualized, I tell you, this is one of those books that would totally look so much better on the big screen than on our imaginations. Bad government, revolution, two sides with conflicting beliefs and a “war” resulting from the need for revenge is, I think, already expected before you know it. There are times that I got lost in the story and I was like “wait, what just happen?” and maybe that’s one downside that I can note on the book. Too much is happening all at once and when I finished it, I realized that the story was too fast-paced. I wished we’ve gotten more time to divulge more on the events in the book and know the Cities in details. Nevertheless, overall, it’s a very enticing story that unexpectedly, will give you so much feels and emotions which probably, just probably would inspire you to read the classics, which this story is based from. I had too much expectation from this book and I’m glad that SRB gave justice to it considering this is a modern retelling of one of my favourite classics.