by Sarah Rees Brennan
Amazon / Goodreads
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?
Review:A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite classic novels, but I think the ending is what always sticks in my mind the most. It's truly an emotional finale to the lives of the characters. With a YA retelling, I was eager to see how it would be fashioned from such a dark story about revolution and revenge, and this book did not shy away from the heavy themes, and the potential for loss, redemption and sacrifice. It's a darker story than I normally expect from young adult, but an intriguing read.
The beginning of the book sets up a lot of exposition about the fantasy world. The pacing is a little uneven, because there is so much to the magic and the dark and the light. The actual world is fascinating, although it's a little unclear to me how it all came to be in the first place. The politics are pretty clear though - as the fear, greed and differences in status due to class is unfortunately universal.
Lucie was a very interesting main character. She is seen as heroic by almost everyone around her, but she knows, and reveals to the reader often, that this is not the case. This story is very much her struggles to come to terms with her past, and with the person she has become, and I found that inner struggle to be a great part of the story. Even if I didn't like Lucie that much sometimes. She's both a strong character and a vulnerable one, and that was interesting to see play out. It made me frustrated with her at times, but it's believable that she has alot of flaws. And it's great that Lucie has a stronger, unique voice in this book.
While the beginning of the book, and at times even the middle, lagged for me, the last quarter made up for all the time needed to set up the characters and world. Revelations are made that I found shocking, the action intensifies, and the danger to everyone Lucie loves makes the story very suspenseful. I was wondering how the author would bring in that amazing ending to A Tale of Two Cities, and I think she did it complete justice while making it her own.
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)