Finally! I have never felt more accomplished finishing a book. For some reason this book took me a while to complete, not for lack of interest, but simply due to finding the time to go back to it while trying to read/finish library books. This novel takes place in one of my favorite eras to read about in history: the French Revolution. Ever since reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, I was fascinated with the men and women who sought to escape and free others from the guillotine during the Ancien Régime. This story is very original in context and weaves together historical themes as well as gypsy magic and other fantastical elements.
Sido has lived her whole life as the quiet, obedient daughter of a marquis. Born with a limp, she never saw much value in herself thanks to her father’s condescending comments. That is, until she helps a young gypsy entertainer named Yann escape the clutches of her father’s dark counterpart, an evil count bent on harnessing the supernatural skills Yann possesses. However, Sido soon finds herself in danger as the count makes a deal with her father for her hand in marriage. Using his special abilities and quick wit, Yann and his friends form a plan to rescue Sido not only from the clutches of the evil count, but also from the revolution that has begun to boil in the hearts of Sido’s fellow French citizens.
The Language is so beautiful and original; it kept drawing me back to the story. The author incorporated vivid descriptions not overly used in other books, such as,
“She looked at him, her head to one side, wondering for a moment if hunger had made her hallucinate or whether it was just an incredible longing to see him again that had conjured up this apparition that stood before her.”~ Page 243
She also sprinkles throughout the story wise phrases from the characters, which, I think, add a certain depth to their characters. Examples include:
“Many men…spend their lives in the wrong corner of their souls, mainly out of fear of what they might find on the other side.”~ Mr. Trippen, pg. 201
“What’s the point of playing at politics? All that matters is people.”~ Yann, pg. 195
POV. Certain characters tell the story better through what they are feeling, doing, or thinking. I like stories that switch the focus back and forth between the main characters; not necessarily from their own point of view, but from that of the third person; a narration that describes what they are doing to help guide the story better from each person’s perspective.
Magic. This is a bit of a stretch here, because I do like the fact that the author chose to interweave magical elements, but it took me a bit to try and visualize the type of magic she was talking about. When Yann meets the Sisters Macabre it got me wondering, are these corpses, inanimate dolls, or what? Sometimes it seemed like the author assumed the reader knew what she was talking about and was a little vague on description.
I would recommend this story to those who are fans like myself of learning about the French Revolution and those who like stories of camaraderie and rescues. I’m glad that the damsel in distress was still a strong character, despite her situation and hope to see her character develop more in the next book of the series, The Silver Blade.