Hello Royal Readers,
This week is Young Adult Week. So be sure to join as our Royal Reviewers explore this wonderful genre.
-The Queen of the Quill
Title: The Red Necklace
Author: Sally Gardner
Publication date: 2008
Genre: YA historical fiction
Yann Margoza works as an assistant to the French magician Topolain along side the gypsy dwarf Tetu. Yann has the unusual ability to throw his voice and read minds. Together, he and Tetu work to make Topolain look like a gifted magician and all goes well until they are asked to perform at the home of the Marquis de Villeduval. In attendance is the evil Count Kalliovski. Topolain makes the mistake of angering Kalliovski and in the process loses his life during the magic act. The Count also tries to kill Yann and Tetu but they are able to escape with the help of Sido, the beautiful young daughter of the Marquis de Villeduval. When Tetu is shot by one of Count Kalliovski's henchmen, Yann is sent to England to live with Sido's aunt and uncle. Meanwhile Sido becomes a pawn in Kalliovski's evil plans and Yann is determined to rescue her and make Kalliovski pay.
Yann is a poor orphan with a mysterious past. Tetu has become like family to him so Yann is devastated when Tetu is shot and he is sent away to England. Yann's abilities and the mystery of his parentage are central to the story and connect him with Count Kalliovski. Yann is a likeable and brave character. He faces some very difficult situations and he puts himself in harm's way to help those he cares about. Just like Yann, Sido has also lost a parent. Her mother was killed when she was a baby and her father treats her horribly. It is because of the Marquis that Sido finds herself in the clutches of the vile Count Kalliovski. While I liked Sido's character I do wish that she had been stronger and more assertive. The other main character is Count Kalliovski. He makes a fantastic creepy villain with a sense of the macabre. The Red Necklace is set during the French Revolution and combines historic detail, interesting characters, a dash of romance, and plenty of mystery. I particularly enjoyed how the magical/supernatural element was added to the story. The sequel, The Silver Blade, was published in 2009. The Red Necklace would appeal to fans of historical fiction and mystery.
Readalikes: Sovay by Celia Rees, The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott, The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap
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