Monday, April 5, 2010

The Red Necklace : A Story of the French Revolution

The Red Necklace : 
A Story of the French Revolution
by Sally Gardner

Yann Margoza is a magician's assistant.  He also happens to be a Gypsy, and just happens to be able to throw his voice, read minds, and predict the future.

Unfortunately, one night, while giving a performance for an aristocrat and his guests, Yann sees a vision of blood and death.  The magician he works for also happens to make the mistake of recognizing one of the most dangerous men in France.  That recognition earns him his own death and forces Yann and his friend to go on the run.

That fateful night, Yann also meets Sido, the daughter of the aristocrat and a prisoner of her father's hatred of her.  Even years after they meet, Yann and Sido cannot forget each other or the love that was created after only speaking for a few minutes.
Now, the winds of change are turning in France and there is talk of revolution.  Yann must return from England to rescue Sido and his old friend from that most dangerous man, while also avoiding the guillotine.

Final thoughts:  The premise is interesting and there could have been something great here.  Unfortunately, the author's writing is stilted and strange.  It often felt like watching television while someone else controls the remote.  The point of view and location could change in an instant.  Also, it often felt like the author wrote as if the reader could see what she saw.  She wrote lines that seemed to come out of nowhere about nothing else that had been seen, and then she would skip writing descriptions completely, so the reader has to go back and re-read that one line hidden in a paragraph that explains the whole next chapter.

Rating: 2/5 - good premise, bad execution (pardon the pun)

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