Thursday, November 10, 2016

Brennan, Sarah Rees. Tell the Wind and Fire.

Brennan, Sarah Rees.  Tell the Wind and Fire.  Houghton
Mifflin/Clarion   2016  360p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-544-31817-5  ms/hs  Fantasy  VG-BN

In a future world, New York City is divided into the Dark and the Light.  Of course, the people of the Light have everything, whereas the populace of the Dark struggles, reflecting the tragic period of slavery in American history.  The two groups need each other: when members of the Light use too much magic, they pollute their blood, and it must be cleansed by a member of the Dark in order to restore balance. Lucie came from the Dark, but she has a new life in the Light as the girlfriend of the ruler’s son, Ethan.  How did she make her way to the Light?  She showed extreme courage when her father was arrested and locked in a cage.  As the plot moves forward, she calls on her inner strength often. 

The story begins when Lucie and Ethan are re-entering the Light after a wonderful vacation and guards attempt to arrest Ethan.  However, it was not Ethan who passed information to the sans-merci, as the revolutionaries are known. Instead, it was the rebellious doppelganger (about whom Lucie knew nothing), Ethan’s look-alike who was created to save Ethan as an infant.  This incident sets the tone for a novel that is full of intrigue, a new way of looking at prejudice, and convoluted relationships between the lead characters.  Teen readers will particularly enjoy the easy repartee between Carwyn (the doppelganger) and Lucie when they are together.  They will also compare this new “take” on dystopian societies (which author Sarah Rees Brennan attributes to Dickens in his Tale of Two Cities) with other novels they have read.  All in all, Rees Brennan has created an interesting fantasy with just the right mix of drama, turmoil and captivating characters to allure her audience to continue with a sequel, even though Tell the Wind and Fire came to a rather complete resolution.       

Summary: Lucie lives with the threat of the Dark despite her new alliance with young Ethan, the son of a ruler of the Light.  When the threat of revolution puts her in harm’s way, she uses everything she knows to protect those she loves and to find a resolution to the conflicts that separate the City of New York.

Dystopian novels                                --Martha Squaresky

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