Monday, January 5, 2009

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner Book Review

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
(Hardcover, Dial Press, 2008)

Yann is a gypsy boy whose special talents earned him a spot in a traveling magic show. Yann can read people's minds and pitch his voice. His surrogate father Tetu can levitate and move objects. When Yann and Tetu perform at the house of a Marquis, they run into an evil Count and a lonely little girl. Both people will change Yann's life forever.

The Red Necklace is wonderful in so many ways. First off, the novel is set in France during the 1790s, just as France was on the cusp of a revolution. The darkness and madness of the time show in the novel's tone and characters. Count Kalliovski is a truly evil character and the tension builds with every page. The magic in this novel is important but not over developed. Yann and Tetu are gypsies and, thus, we infer that the magic exists because of their heritage. Gypsies have always held a fascination with me (hello, Johnny Depp in Chocolat!), so I was completely enthralled with Yann. I expected this novel to be about the girl, Sido, but it was mostly told from Yann's point of view. Given that and the book's depth, I was severely disappointed in the cover after I finished the book. I know that girls in elaborate dresses are all the rage on teen book covers, but this cover couldn't be more wrong for the book! No boy in their right mind would be caught reading this book in public, which is sad because I think this is a book that a lot of boys would really appreciate. Despite the cover, this book is well worth buying and putting on your bookshelf. (But if you want to share it with a guy friend, I recommend taking off the cover jacket before passing it on to him.)


  1. I had this book checked out from the library, but unfortunately, I didn't finish it before the due date. :( It looked really good, and when it comes back, maybe I'll check it out again. :]


  2. or they could buy the british cover which is much more neutral, both for the hardback and the paperback.
    It sounds really good,but I don't think I'll be able to read it in the next future.

  3. Sounds like a great book! Wonderful blog, by the way. :)

  4. I love this — remove the jacket, and the same book is a different book, a guy friendly book.

    But this is SO true. I see it with my son.


  5. Someone recommended this book to me when I reviewed Sally Gardner's other book, I, Coriander.

    Oh, it's too bad about the cover though... :) I'm putting this on my to-buy list anyway!

  6. I agree with you on this one - I could see males really getting into it.

  7. I loved this book! I read (listened to it) twice. What a wonderful story around a revolution w/gypsies, and the elite. My favorite 2008 in the U.S.

  8. I finished the book today, and I loved it! Unlike the other French revolution books that I read, this has adventure, mystery and romance. So I think boys would love this (with the right cover) ^^


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