Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > The Red Necklace

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
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's review
Nov 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: trt-posted-reviews, read-by-other-reviewers

Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

THE RED NECKLACE is a fascinating tale of the French Revolution, the story of Yann, a gypsy boy, and Sido, the daughter of a Marquis. As fate would have it, their histories are intertwined in a way that both need the other if they are to have any hope of surviving the bloodbath of the Revolution.

Gardner's thorough research and grasp of the zeitgeist is apparent. The power of gypsy magic was a well-accepted fact of the time period and the inclusion of the paranormal does not distract from the historical context of the novel, but actually adds to the dangerous and unpredictable atmosphere of the times. Dialogue between the aristocracy could have been more sophisticated to better illustrate the principles of the Revolution, but Gardner does an overall excellent job of depicting the Reign of Terror.

The night that Yann and Sido first meet, Yann is working as a magician's apprentice, putting on a show for the Marquis and other members of the French aristocracy, including the sinister Count Kalliovski. When the magician is murdered by Kalliovski, Sido shows unexpected courage in helping Yann escape a similar fate.

Years pass before Yann has a chance to repay the favor. Sido, like all French aristocracy, is in danger of the raging passions from the hoi polloi, and also from an impending marriage to Count Kalliovski, a fate that is perhaps worse than death. Can Yann rescue Sido from both the guillotine and one of the most merciless men on the planet?

Gardner is successful in crafting a strong hero in Yann, though Sido is at times a frustratingly passive damsel in distress. However, she does have rare moments where she manages to redeem herself and display heroine potential.

The Marquis de Villeduval, Sido's father, is an utterly despicable - if somewhat flat - character with nary a redeeming quality. Count Kalliovski is a wonderfully constructed villain, with danger and power augmenting his every action, and an open-end that allows him to return with a vengeance in THE SILVER BLADE, Gardner's follow-up, detailing the height of the Reign of Terror.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Baine (new) - added it

Baine I just bought this book from Ollies for like, $3

LOL you said NARY!
haha! :)

Chelsea Um, what exactly is a poor, alone, disabled girl with no power supposed to do? I'm always taken aback at the "damsel shaming" that is so common now. It's pretty basic common sense to not go off fighting the bad guys or whatever you lot expect them to do when you lack the power and resources to do it- plus it's just historically inaccurate. Nothing wrong with needing help. If it's OK for women to rescue men, it's extremely sexist and misandrist to say it's wrong for them to rescue us.

Chelsea besides, Sido was so refreshing from the boring cliche "anything men can do I can do better", stupidly proactive heroine who blindly runs off into adventures and stuff and has unrealistic strength and intelligence. Sido feels much more real and relatable as well as admirable for never sinking to her father's level but always staying gentle.

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