This book was, frankly, a disappointment. I read I, Coriander - another book by Sally Gardner - a few years ago, and I liked it. The Red Necklace has promise, but I found it seriously lacking. Though the plot moved at a quick pace and the idea was brilliant, it left me feeling bland. What even happened? Admittedly, I haven't read the book's sequel, but I expected more out of 384 pages than I got.
What the plot lacked, though, was made up by the beauty of the writing and characters. Set during the french revolution, The Red Necklace is the story of orphaned gypsy Yann and aristocratic Sido. Yann and Sido meet when the villainous Count Kalliovski hires Yann and the rest of his acting troupe to perform at a party. When Count Kalliovski kills Yann's mentor, Sido helps Yann escape unharmed, and they remember each other until they meet again, two years later. As their country crumbles around them, Yann uses his developing magical powers to save Sido and himself and to fight Count Kalliovski. I'm not a fan of historical fiction,* but I really wanted to like this book. I found it worth the read, but not exceptional.
*I'm sure I'll rant about that sometime, lucky you!