Thursday, 28 April 2016

5 reasons why I didn't like Tell the Wind and Fire

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Published: April 5th 2016 by Clarion Books
Genre: young adult, dystopia, fantasy, retelling

Goodreads summary: 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 of the deadly connection the young men share, 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 tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.


After seeing a lot of negative and DNF reviews of Tell the Wind and Fire, I had lowered my expectations but well… There was a reason so many people didn’t like it, and I’m totally joining them. I’m sad that I disliked it so much, because it was inspired by Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, a classic I love. Moreover, I’m disappointed because for once the main character had the same name as mine, but I didn’t really connect to her. This one really didn’t work for me and I gave it my lowest rating ever, sadly. In this post, I’m talking about why I didn’t like it.

1 – This book was cliché. It was just another dystopia where a girl -special snowflake of course- ignited and became the symbol of the rebellion, when she acted to get her father out of the “bad world” and didn’t want any part of it. Moreover, this world was literally black-and-white, with a Dark City and a Light City, which was way too simplistic. Everywhere, we saw it’s about nuances of grey and there we have the clear separation. Of course, it’s talked about later on, but still.

2 – The world-building was lacking and was delivered as info-dump. Okay, this totally seems like a paradox, but that’s what happened. At some point, the main character said she should explain the world, because it would make more sense and then she does that for a whole chapter. It’s definitely not how you should introduce the world. This info-dump wasn’t even disguised. Moreover, we never get to know how humans discover magic, it just happened. This world appeared magically, almost from nowhere, it’s an evolution of ours but how did we do it?

3 – It had a love triangle with the bad guy trope. At the beginning of the book, Lucie is doing everything to save her boyfriend, Ethan. At the same time, she basically meets his evil twin and a love triangle ensue. That’s… Unoriginal. I don’t understand how readers can fall over Carswyn: of course, he has a tragic backstory to explain all of his bad actions, but it’s not because he’s redeeming himself at the end of the story that I will feel anything for him. He treated Lucie like shit during almost the whole book, clearly enjoying passing for Ethan to kiss her and all. I’m sorry, but no. Moreover, I didn’t feel the chemistry between Ethan and Lucie. So yes, I didn’t fall for the romance at all.

4 – I didn’t care for the characters. From the beginning, they were putting up acts for everyone, to convince their audience they were innocent and kind. Mostly, they felt one-dimensional and unmemorable. Lucie was okay I guess, but she felt like a hundred heroines I’ve read before, a special snowflake that will change the whole world. I liked that she didn’t want the revolution and that she wanted to be safe though, because it felt more realistic: we don’t all want to be heroes. During the whole book, Ethan was threatened because he was accused of treason. But sadly, I didn’t really care about him, because I felt like the only thing I knew about him was that he was beautiful and Lucie loved him. That’s great, but I would like more. I’ve talked about Carswyn already: his pitiful backstory didn’t make me shed a single tear, because I saw how he acted and I didn’t like it.

5 – The ending was EXACTLY the same that in A Tale of Two Cities. While I thought the retelling aspect of this book was alright -even if it didn’t have to try copying famous quotes- I would have liked to be more detached from Dickens’ work, especially the ending. If you’ve read the book, it ended in the same way, except it was Brennan’s way of telling it and there were a few alterations because of the differences between the two worlds.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Have you read other books by this author? I heard her other books were good, what did you think of them? Do you love A Tale of Two Cities?


  1. Hey the main character has the same name as you! Right? But I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this as much. I have been seeing a lot of negative and DNF reviews, so honestly I am not surprised. (Plus I have never read A Tale of Two Cities, whoops), but even so, I think I still wouldn't enjoy this. I would HATE a chapter dedicated to info-dump. LIKE WHY. And I'm really tired of the special snowflake troupe. I only like it when it's done a certain way, and clearly that did not happen here :(

    I hope your next read is much better Lucie!

    1. YES SHE HAS! It's the French version of Lucy, you know? It was finally written like my name, I was so happy about it but then... Disappointment. I think I just read this book because of A Tale of Two Cities in the end (actually, I first read it because of the Infernal Devices). The info-dump was so obvious in that case, sometimes I can tolerate but here nope... Thanks Val, I've read better books already! :)

  2. Aww...I'm sorry this was such a disappointment Lucie. :( But I can definitely see where you're coming from - the instalove plus the infodumping doesn't sound like it would be a winning combination for me either. Plus all the troupes and cliches sound irritating as well. :( Nonetheless, thanks for sharing your thoughts and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    1. Sadly, we can't love all the books we read. I've heard great things about this author's other books though, so maybe it was a miss but I could enjoy her other works, who knows? :) Thank you Zoe! ♥