Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release date: April 5, 2016
Published by: Clarion Books/HoughtonMifflin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Light and Dark divide this city where Lucie has done the impossible: she has pulled herself out of the Dark and into the Light. She has even found celebrity status next to the most powerful people of the Light, but when her golden boyfriend is pulled from a train and almost killed for crimes against the Light will everything she's built fall apart?
My thoughts: This was really just "ok" for me. I didn't like or love it, and I didn't hate it. This was my first Sarah Rees Brennan book. I found this to be a very imaginative story of a broken place with many broken people. I wish there had been a tagline on the front that made me realize that it was a twist/retelling of the tragic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Having learned that afterwards, I do feel as though I have a better appreciation of the novel and what she was doing with it. Plus, it will make for a good one to entice both English teachers and their students with because of this fact.
The main character of Lucie had an ulterior motive for every single thing she did, and every single element of her life. She tells you over and over that everything she has done and feels for Ethan has been real and truthful, but she also never tells him the complete truth about so many things. Omission can be so incredibly powerful. I also found Lucie to be incredibly motivated by fear throughout the story which was hard to deal with for the entire book. There was never hope.
Ethan is interesting in that he is the son of one of the most powerful people of the Light, but also someone without any magic at all. It seems from the beginning that Lucie is constantly trying to save him, or protect him from something or someone. This was an interesting twist on our "normal" storylines where the man is the strong and solid one that the woman leans on for answers and security.
The bad guys were the typical power-hungry crew of men and women of whom there was one big, bad guy at the top who was really calling all the shots. Later, you begin to wonder if they were really that bad, or if the new bad guys are the really bad people. There just so much evil and corruption throughout all of their cities that you do not see goodness much, and certainly not hope.
Final thoughts: Stick with it, and finish this one because it is worth the read especially if you have, or are planning to, read A Tale of Two Cities. I found that looking back on the read I find myself appreciating things I didn't while reading. There are many things that would be great to argue about at a book club too. I'm sure there are other merits I just missed unfortunately. If you had a really positive experience with this one, I'd love to hear about it.