Saturday, November 27, 2010


The Red Necklace - Sally Gardner
Genre: Historical Fiction, mixed with a little fantasy
Originally read: November 23-25, 2009
What I Gave It: A-
I always love a good historical fiction story, but I'm a tad picky about them, too. They're one of my favorite genres. It was so fun to discover a new author, Sally Gardner, and I really enjoyed her work. The Red Necklace takes place French Revolution Paris (and London) and combines all the elements needed for a fun thrill ride. I read this book over Thanksgiving break last year, which was colder than normal, and there just seems to be something fun about reading when it's cold outside. Makes it all seem cozier :)
First of all, I enjoyed the time period. There's something fascinating about French history, and Gardner certainly did her research to bring her story to life. I'm fuzzy about some of the details, but I remember being impressed with her ability to capture the chaos, confusion and over-the-top extravagance of the Revolution. Besides that, she's just a strong writer, and her lyrical prose was beautiful to read.
The Red Necklace was part history, part mystery, part romance, and part supernatural thriller. It didn't always succeed in every element, but the story of Sido, daughter of a doomed aristocrat and Yann, a gypsy performer who becomes a Scarlet Pimpernel-like character, was ohh-la-la devouring :)

The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner
Direct sequel to The Red Necklace
Genre: Historical fiction, mixed with a little fantasy

Originally read: November 26-28, 2009
What I Gave It: A-
I read TSB right after finishing Red Necklace because, well, I'm a forgetful person and didn't want to forget the characters and who was related to whom, etc. As far as action and intrigue, I think I enjoyed this installment a little more than its predecessor. However, the fantasy aspects were more pronounced in this book, and for me, they fell a little flat. Gardner's strengths were in her historical storytelling, and as a result, she never really took the time to explain the "magical universe" of her story, causing confusion and a mouthful of "huh?"'s on my part.
I do recommend you read both books!

Like historical fiction? Like France? Like books with cute, mysterious guys on the cover? Read The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade! They're not as good as Ann Rinaldi's books (she's the MAN when it comes to historical fiction!) but they are fun, entertaining, and definitely worth your time!

Have you read these books? If so, what did you think?
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