Tell the Wind and Fire Blog Tour! Review and Q&A with Sarah Rees Brennan

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Title: Tell the Wind and Fire
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 368
Source: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
Add to Goodreads | | Indigo

Overall: 4 STARS

"Sarah Rees Brennan writes with fine control and wit, and I suspect that word of this magical thriller will pass through the populace with the energy of wind, of fire." —Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg and Spoon

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.

Two years ago, Lucie Manette captivated New York when she called for her father's release from the iron cages which imprisoned the Dark city's condemned. Her father was a prominent Light magician in the Dark city, dedicated to helping others. He couldn't possibly be a traitor for insulting the Light Council. As Lucie told her story over and over again to the public, she soon became the Golden Thread in the Dark, and the Light city granted her father mercy.

But it was all a lie.

The truth? Nobody cares what happens to Dark citizens. Lucie's mother, born in the Dark city, practiced Light magic illegally to heal the less fortunate. And when she mysteriously disappeared one night, Lucie's father was punished for confronting the guards enforcing the Light Council's strict laws, for saying those laws were wrong. So Lucie lied to the world in her desperation to save her father, keeping her secrets close to her heart... and let her mother become one of the countless forgotten. 

But now in the present, Lucie is about to be swept into the heart of a revolution, and this time, she may not be able to save everyone she loves. Ethan Stryker, her boyfriend and heir to a powerful Light family, has been accused of giving sensitive information to the sans-merci, a group of revolutionaries from the Dark city. Ethan is only saved from a sudden death sentence when his doppelganger appears, a temporary reprieve as Carwyn has his own reasons for entering the Light city.

Lucie is fiercely protective of Ethan, the boy who owns her heart and gives her the peace and security she never felt while growing up. Ethan is kind and innocent, someone who has never faced any real hardships in the world, and she would do anything to keep it that way. But Lucie is not sure what to make of Carwyn. Created by a Dark magic ritual, doppelgangers are hated and feared by all, but she's also grateful to him for stepping in to save Ethan. Carwyn is a reminder of the past she has tried to leave behind, of the hard existence lived by all in the Dark city, feeling helpless and forced to keep your head down.

Sarah Rees Brennan's Tell the Wind and Fire is a poignant story of love and loss in a world that can be so wondrously filled with magic, yet also shockingly cruel. We meet imperfect characters in a far from perfect world just hoping to survive the coming tide of civil unrest. It's a New York utterly divided by Light and Dark magic, by privilege and excess versus oppression and poverty, in a way that parallels concerns in our own society today. Tell the Wind and Fire might not be the kind of the fantasy book you read for humour and adventure, but nevertheless, it's an enthralling story that resonates with you for days after you've turned the final pages. And the ending! My. Heart. Is. Still. Broken.

Q&A With Sarah Rees Brennan 
Set in a New York divided by Light and Dark magic, TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is actually a very loose retelling of Charles Dickens' A TALE OF TWO CITIES. What are some of your own favourite YA (or adult!) novels that you loved to read which reimagine fairy tales or classic works of literature?

What a great question, Liz! I love picking favourites and of course it’s fun to talk
about other people’s books. (You don’t get that feeling of ‘Yerrrrrrrs… gather around people, let me tell you, I am a very great genius…)

Holly Black’s VALIANT, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and WHITE CAT, a retelling of the lesser-known fairytale White Cat. VALIANT is the story of a troll and a sword-fighting lady who meet up in the sewers of New York, and it made me realise Holly Black was a genius.

Diana Peterfreund’s FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I love Jane Austen and I love the clever world-building.

Jo Walton’s TOOTH AND CLAW, a retelling of Anthony Trollope’s FRAMLEY PARSONAGE, which stars dragons in bonnets behaving like Victorian maidens.

I feel like all the best retellings are those in which there is a purpose: the re-teller is trying to say something about the original story, about the world, about what they believe. You can’t just tell the same story in a different setting: there has to be a transformation. 

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  1. I absolutely need to read this book ASAP. I love Sarah Rees Brennan's writing and I just know this book will be amazing! Thanks for the review, and great question for the interview as well :)