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We Set The Dark On Fire

Book Review – We Set The Dark On Fire

May 2, 2019
We Set The Dark On Fire Book Cover
We Set The Dark On Fire

This book was stalking me. I know it sounds crazy but before it even came out it was following me around. It was on my facebook, on my twitter, on my goodreads, heck even NPR was talking about it! And then on twitter the author did a cover reveal and it was the most beautiful cover I had ever seen! Only after that (+ the NPR article) did I put the launch date in my calendar for me to pick up/buy on kindle. It was a no-brainer to put it on my book review list.

"Maybe this was trust... Giving someone the power to ruin you, betting your life on the believe that they wouldn't." Tehlor Kay Mejia, We Set the Dark on Fire Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis – 

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love? (Source)

What Drew Me In – 

So besides the fact that I felt like I couldn’t turn around without seeing this book, NPR did a great blurb (I’ve added the tweet that drew me in below) and I was instantly mesmerized. Now it seems like I really built this book up in my head and that I was headed for a let down. Did I?

NPR - "In the dystopia of "We Set the Dark on Fire," students at a posh girls' school are being trained as political consorts to powerful men. And it's so timely it hurts, as the book aims to burn it all down." Book Review

What I Loved About the Book – 

To be honest I didn’t read the NPR article, just the tweet about it. I had heard that it was about women in captivity of some sort that somehow rise up. Just that phrase what with everything women have gone through in the media lately (See Christine Blasey Ford, or this Californian Prison, or this woman murdered, or this woman murdered, or this woman murdered) you’d expect to see a lot more women fighting back. Even in fiction, and clearly that enticed me.

"In a battle between two men trying to control her, she'd chosen herself." - Tehlor kay Mejia, We Set the Dark on Fire Book Review

            When I first read the blurb for this book it reminded me of a story that I had started writing a few years back. It took me by surprise and then I was really excited that someone had a similar idea as I did. Then I got the book. The overall storyline is similar (ish) but she created her own world, where I had set the story in our current world. The world building is one of my favorite parts of this story; I think that it was creatively done and something that you could actually picture which isn’t always easy to do.             I obviously can’t do a book review without talking about character development in some way or form. Honestly I think that this was just the beginning and that we’ll see a book two. This felt very introductory to these characters and this world and that we may see a lot more development or growth in another book.

What I Didn’t Love as Much – 

So as I mentioned before I think that the world building was awesome! I think that you can have something that is a positive that is also a negative though. I loved the vision that she gave me of the world, but I wanted more. Wanted to know more about the market and the clothes the people were wearing and the smells that were in the air. Sometimes people can over explain or detail scenery but in this book I was craving more.

            In a good majority of the book I felt like the main character was trying to express a constant state of fear or worry that she had to outwardly suppress. I also wish that I had felt that fear with her more. I want to be on pins and needles with the character; praying to the same god that she isn’t found out. In certain moments I wasn’t as worried as I was in others. This feeling or want might not be for everyone; but I think that it can be important when you want a reader to develop a relationship with your work.

Why I Would Recommend this Book – 

Like it says in the NPR article, even the presence of the wall in the book seems to mirror our own reality. I think that it helps to recognize the current day suppression that exists in our world. Yes, reading fiction can be for enjoyment; but I also think it helps us experience worlds or feelings that may not be similar to our own. This book can help give you a glimpse into that world. 

"You have a big heart, a strong mind, and you will find a way to make a life you love. No matter how different it is from the on you left." - Tehlor Kay Mejia, We Set the Dark on Fire Book Review

Where you can get this book – 

Amazon | B&N | Thriftbooks

About the Author – Tehlor Kay Mejia

Tehlor Kay Mejia is a YA author and poet at home in the wild woods and alpine meadows of Southern Oregon. When she’s not writing, you can find her plucking at her guitar, stealing rosemary sprigs from overgrown gardens, or trying to make the perfect vegan tamale. She is active in the Latinx lit community, and passionate about representation for marginalized teens in media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @tehlorkay. (Source)

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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