Review of The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

Review of The Red Necklace by Sally GardnerThe Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
Series: French Revolution #1
Published by Penguin on 2008-05-01
Genres: Europe, Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

A mysterious gypsy boy, Yann Margoza, and his guardian, a dwarf, work for the magician Topolain in 1789. On the night of Topolain's death, Yann's life truly begins. That's when he meets Sido, an heiress with a horrible father. An attachment is born that will determine both their paths. Revolution is afoot in France, and Sido is being used as a pawn. Only Yann will dare to rescue her from a fearful villain named Count Kalliovski. It will take all of Yann's newly discovered talent to unravel the mysteries of Sido's past and his own and to fight the devilish count.

The greatest thing about The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner was the cover. You’ve got pretty hair and a pretty dress, clearly the book must be good, right? Wrong, this book was horrible! Plus, the premise sounded really promising. The Red Necklace is set during tbe beginnings of the French Revolution. Two lives intertwine, those of Yann and Sido. Yann is a gypsy boy who can throw his voice and read minds. Sido is an aristocrat with a limp. They come together in strange circumstances and their lives are forever changed by meeting each other. Will Sido and Yann meet again? Will they fall in love? (I feel like I just wrote a crappy soap opera while writing the premise LOL)

The writing was disjointed. Something would happen to one of the characters, such as Sido, and instead of developing what happened, the chapter immediately ended and would switch to the other character, Yann. Also things would happen out of nowhere, like all of a sudden we find out the “dwarf”, could perform magic. I seriously said WTF out loud several times while reading this book.

I feel like The Red Necklace by Sally Gardnerwas awkward. One thing which really bugged me was the narration, in the beginning it went back and forth one chapter would focus on Sido, the next would focus on Yann. Then, partway through the book, there were three chapters focusing on Sido, then one on Yann, then one on Sido, then two on Yann. That’s awkward, pick a style and stick with it. Either you do alternating chapters or you don’t it’s that simple.

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that characterization is very important to me. The Red Necklace was pretty disappointing in the way of characters. Sido and Yann were fairly flat, they were cliched good guys. Sido’s father, the marquis was a douche with zero redeeming features. The bad guy, Count Villovski was just a bad guy with no humanity. I mean, if you really want me to care about your characters, make them human, make them relatable. Honestly, Sido’s main defect/life problem was that she walked with a limp. Are you serious? Gardner is writing about the French Revolution and the worst flaw she can come up with is a limp? Ahhh, seriously people are rioting over goddamn bread,and we are expected to care about an aristocrat with a limp?

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardnerwasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, not by a long shot. But it’s in my top 10 awkward books. I hear I, Corriander by the same author is really good, so if this review puts you out, then maybe you should check out I, Corriander instead. Also, this book reminded me of soda which has gone flat. Soda’s got the potential to be really great despite the calories, but when it’s flat it’s not worth drinking unless you are dying of thirst, and in that case you should probably drink water instead!

Other reviews of The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner:

Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog – “But I was really disappointed by the characters.”

Em’s Bookshelf – “The Red Necklace is wonderful in so many ways.

Bookish Hobbit – “The story had potential, but I found it to be ultimately unfulfilled.


About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write says

    Loved the soda can gone flat analogy. Thanks for an honest review. I appreciate knowing when something isn't worth my time!

  2. Sorry you didn't like this. I hate whenever books disjoint the main viewpoint and switch it around a lot and then stick with it for many chapters. It just makes the book bad. Guess I'll be passing this by if I ever see it.

  3. You've really got a great blog by the way.

  4. Your descriptions of what you didn't like crack me up! (a douche with zero redeeming features hehe)

    It does sound abysmal, especially the way the chapters alternate without being consistent would drive me nuts.

  5. Glad to hear that I am not the only one who had a problem with this book. I tried reading it about a month ago, and don't think I got past page 20. There was so much going on, but I just had a hard time following. I was sad since it has such a pretty cover.

  6. Ha! Yay! Someone else who didn’t love this book!

    Yes, I had a BIG problem with the characters. Plus, this: “Ahhh, seriously people are rioting over goddamn bread,and we are expected to care about an aristocrat with a limp?” is SO true.
    Anastasia recently posted..Thursday Tea Feb 17- The Great PerhapsMy Profile

  7. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book, it’s one of my faves. I also think you should thoroughly read books before slandering them, as you got half the details wrong.

    In regard to your complaint about chapters skipping around, one word: SUSPENSE. It’s a common tool used by authors.

    In conclusion, I think you are obviously some idiot who doesn’t understand literature in the least.

    p.s. I am a literature professor in a very good college.


  1. […] Other reviews: Bookshelves of Doom | Booklust | Em’s Bookshelf | Good Books and Good Wine […]

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