Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardener


Y.A. Historical Fiction (368 pgs.)


The year is 1794. With his beloved Sido safely in England and the Reign of Terror at its height, mysterious Yann returns to revolutionary France to smuggle out aristocratic refugees who will otherwise face the guillotine. But while the two are apart, Yann's Gypsy origins prejudice Sido's guardian against their marriage, thwarting their longed-for reunion. When Sido is kidnapped under strange circumstances, however, Yann must use all his strength and courage to outwit the evil Count Kalliovski, rescue Sido, and help save all of France.


Yann and his beloved Sido are back for part 2 of their worlwhind adventure through France's darkest hour in history: the Reign of Terror. Their Circus of Follies friends, from Tetu the dwarf to Citizen Aulard, help Yann and his good friend Didier rescue France's nobility before they are sent to Madame le Guillotine.

All is well until one particular shocking revelation: SPOILER Count Kalliovski isn't really dead. END SPOILER He sort of... well... sold his sould to the devil. And the evil Count is still on the hunt for the most precious thing in his world: the soul of Sidonie de Villeduval, escaped noble emigre and Yann Margoza's love.

First of all, I have to say that I absolutely LOVE this series because of its eccentricity. It's not your typical 18th century gilded cake, flowers, and silk story. The characters in this book make it oh so interesting! Not your typical cream of the crop.

I love the fact that Ms. Gardener used to be a costumer... you can REALLY tell throughout the story. Every character's costume is perfectly accurate, perfectly described, and is always helpful in giving me that realness to the time period. If this series of books were ever turned into a movie, Ms. Gardener better be doing the costumes!!

One thing that I also enjoy about this series is the historical accurateness. Sally Gardener brings every street corner, cafe, and catacomb to life. It's quite amazing at some times, actually.

Some ardent fans of our female protagonist Sido (like me) might be a little disappointed at this book. Sido really takes a backseat in this installment. It's all about the wonderful Yann Margoza, gypsy magician extraordinaire. I don't even think that Sido gets introduced in the story till halfway through the book.

Now onto the wonderful Yann. You've just gotta love this guy. He's so faithfully devoted to his Sido, and to being reunited with her again. He pulls of wickedly awesome disguises, tricks and magic, and he has a good heart to boot. The only problem is... HUGE SPOILER He's Count Kalliovski's SON!! END SPOILER Whoa! Even though the spirit of his mother, Anis, tries to convince Yann that he's the ghost child of her true lover, and nothing like the evil count, Yann struggles with this new fact for quite some time, and suffers because of it.

Another thing I love about this book is Ms. Gardener's writing. She comes up with the greatest figures of speech (similes) EVER! Kudos to you Ms. Gardener!

All in all, this book was a wonderful addition to the Red Necklace series. Although Sido definitley was not as involved in part 2 (sad face), it still brought the magic and adventure that I fell in love with in the first book. Pick it up (but make sure to read the first book first!!)



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