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…1
Sometimes when you are reading a book, listening to a book or even just reading the summary there comes a moment when you know that the author has struck gold. I was familiar with Sarah Rees Brennan from her teaming up with Cassandra Clare for some of the Magnus Bane Chronicles, but had never read any of her solo work. While she does have quite a selection on her webpage, there is that self-published/low budget publishing quality to some of her book covers. Obviously we all know the old adage that one should never judge a book by it’s cover, but I assure you there is also no low budget book covers on the New York Best Sellers List.
Lucie and Ethan are travelling home back to New York city, the city of light. Lucie and Ethan’s city of light is different from the lights you may be imagining though. The train that they are travelling on is powered by magic, the same magic that runs through Lucie’s veins. After letting her guard down, Lucie and Ethan are woken from their sleep by a team of Light Guards come to arrest Ethan. Despite Lucie’s protests the guards have dragged Ethan off the train and onto the platform and informing Ethan that he is being arrested for treason, punishable by death without trial. Completely helpless and Ethan mere seconds from death, a dark figure emerges from the train, buying Ethan and Lucie the time they need to reason with the Light Guards to return Ethan to New York and seek the opinion of the Stryker family. Ethan Stryker’s father and uncle are leaders of the city and part of the Light Counsel that governs.
Lucie may be dating the son of one of the most important families in the light city, but she was not always welcome within its walls. Lucie grew up in the darkness in the areas outside the light city walls with those known as dark magicians. While the City of Light has the appearance of perfection, a resistance is building and the darkness is beginning to seep into the city. Both the light and the dark are trying to control Lucie and to use her as their face to rise up from the darkness and snuff out the light, as well as to continue to be a beacon of light to keep away the dark.
I was pleasantly surprised with Tell The Wind And Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. From the cover of the book I would have expected the story to be a cheap romance novel. As the adage of not judging a book by its cover rings true, the cover is also the first impression that readers will have and often gives you an idea of what exactly you are dealing with. The cover will give you an idea of the subject, the genre and also creates a benchmark for expectations. If little effort or quality is put into the cover, you can generally expect the same from the book. While TTW&F does not completely resonate cheap and low quality, it also doesn’t do the story justice.
It has been quite some time since I read the book which is making the review even more difficult. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the story more than I thought I would, but any hope of continuing the series is basically shown by the amount of time between finishing the book and completing this review. There was no readily available ebook or audiobook through the library and I jumped onto the next project too quickly, leaving this one and the chance of continuing the series in the dust.
Huge points to Rees Brennan for the unique and fun magical elements that ultimately create and save this story, but the magic spark needed to keep it alive was lost within the darkness. The world that she has created for us is exciting and something we want to explore but the route that she has taken us is more off course away from the things that really made the story.
- Book summary courtesy of Sarah Rees Brennan book page.