Saturday, December 19, 2009

MTO The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

An exciting, romantic novel set against the feverish backdrop of the French Revolution.

Clever and head-turningly attractive, fourteen-yearold Yann is an orphan who has been raised in Paris by TĂȘtu, a dwarf with secrets he has yet to reveal to the gypsy boy. It's the winter of 1789, and the duo have been working for a vain magician named Topolain. On the night when Topolain's vanity brings his own death, Yann's life truly begins. That's the night he meets shy Sido, an heiress with an ice-cold father, a young girl who has only known loneliness until now. Though they have the shortest of conversations, an attachment is born that will influence both their paths.
And what paths those will be! Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her, and he'll be up against a fearful villain who goes by the name Count Kalliovski, but who has often been called the devil. It'll take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of his past and Sido's and to fight the devilish count.

 In a word blurb: Sumptuous and wonderfully told with just the right amount of historical detail and fantastic magic.
 The backound for this story was so much fun to read about! I've always had a morbid fascination with the French Revolution; in part due to the frenzied atmosphere, but also because of the glamour of the period. Gardner misses out on none of the pomp in this fantastic work of historical fiction. And there's a bonus! Not only do we get to read about the extravagant parties, ornate parlors, and tres fabuleux attire, but the story is laced with magic! Yann, the main character and resident heart throb, is a magician in training, able to throw his voice and read minds; his mentor, a dwarf with a mysterious backround, can manipulate "strings of light" and cause objects to move; and a certain vile contendor who has an obsession with automatons.
 The story starts off three years prior to the Revolution with a fateful performance at Sido's father's chateau. Here, Yann and Sido meet during a daring escape, and though they were only with each other for a very short time, they never forget each other. The story takes off from that point in leaps and bounds to eat up the three years heading into the revolution. As the revolution unfolds, 17 year-old Yann must head back to his beloved France to rescue Sido before the blood bath begins. That's pretty much the cadence of the story through out: save Sido.
 The characters were awesome, Yann was the embodiment of "tall, dark, and handsome", but my favorite thing was by far the back drop. The detail of everything really pulled me in. I loved reading about the parties and such because it was so visual.
 I'd ratew this PG13 simply because that's who it's written for. There was good deal of blood and dismemberment, but that's something the whole family can enjoy! ;)
 I give The Red Necklace...

... four zombies!
I quite enjoyed this romp into an alternate account of the French Revolution and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel The Silver Blade1.

Happy Holidays,
Zombie Girrrl

1  Que guillotine. Oh, I can't wait till they get that thing going! It didn't really come into play in the first book, though there was a great deal of violence near the end. The stage was totally set for it, though! In the very beginning, there was a bit about a guy sitting in his workshop working toward a "humane" killing machine, and at the end, the butchers were complaining that there were too many prisoners to kill and that they weren't machines. Is it wrong how excited I am about the guillotine? *shrug* Just chalk it up to a healthy interest in history.


AIV said...

This sounds good! I love historical fiction and the added magic makes it even more interesting. Definitely going to be checking this one out.

Becky said...

I really want to read this. I wish my TBR pile wasn't sobig then I could actually get around to it. Great review.

perla said...

I just read this over the Thanksgiving holiday and I absolutely loved it! I had to get the sequel, The Silver Blade to see how it ended. Yann IS amazing.

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