The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Set during the tumultuous and bloody French Revolution, Gardner’s novel tells the story of Sido and Yann, two teenagers who face seemingly insurmountable circumstances due to their birth. Yann, a gypsy with magical abilities, must race against time to rescue Sido from a marriage with the evil Count Kalliovski, who is only after her inherited fortune. Connected to the Count is the mystery of the deadly red necklace – a mystery that, if not solved, threatens to destroy them all.

This one is pretty entertaining if you like historical fiction. The French Revolution is one of my favorite periods in history. If you don’t know much about that time period, Gardner includes a brief summary of events in the back of the book. It’s an intriguing revolution — the poor rise up against the rich, and what starts as mere protests ends in bloodbath called “The Reign of Terror”. But don’t worry, reading this book is not like reading a history textbook. What I love most about historical fiction is that it brings events to life, and Gardner’s book does just that. Sido is an aristocrat (the people being openly slaughtered by the poor), Yann is a Gypsy trying to help Sido escape France. Throw the malicious Count Kalliovski into the mix, along with the mysterious red necklace, and you have an action-packed thriller. 

My criticisms of the book (why it only got 3.5 stars), are that it’s a little wordy. It reads pretty quickly, but the style isn’t as smooth as I think it could be. Also, the book lacks a strong female character. For the most part, Sido is your typical aristocrat lady, and I think she could have been much more. Yann is an excellent character, though! And Count Kalliovski is the kind of villain you’ll love to hate – definitely worth a read!

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS), click here.


One thought on “The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

  1. Jo says:

    Why is Sido not strong, because she isn’t the cliche modern action girl who uses swords to solve problems and has a sassy mouth? That would be pretty anachronistic wouldn’t it? Sido is great as she is 😉 it was very nice having a different heroine for once, especially for those of us who would like a shy, gentle heroine to identify with in a sea of outspoken and tomboyish ones.

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