genre: young adult speculative fiction
Lucie's world is a divided place. Light and Dark. Rich and Destitute. Them and us. Those with the ability to use Light Magic and those without. Despite Lucie's upbringing in the Dark, a tragedy in her family results in a life in the Light, with wealth and a loving boyfriend who doesn't ask too many questions about her past. When a familiar-looking stranger performs a seemingly random act of kindness, Lucie becomes entangled in a web of revolution, hatred and the few who truly want a changed world.
I haven't read A Tale of Two Cities for actual decades but I did find some common threads and I loved that. The magical world building is intriguing and violent. Lucie is a complicated character and I appreciated the arc of her self-realization, even if it moved a bit slow for me. Her deep desire for both justice and mercy is always tangled up in her own impulsive and unfortunate choices, which drove me a little crazy. I sometimes got tired of being in Lucie's head. Right in the middle of a climactic scene we'd have to spend pages of her thinking about things and it felt rather disjointed when we got back to the action. I did really love the ending, though - there was tenderness in the final chapters (if you have read A Tale of Two Cities you can guess) and the redemption felt real. While imperfect, it's a captivating enough retelling.