REVIEW: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

I devoured this book.

I grabbed it from the library last week, because it was on my list, but I couldn’t really remember what it was about. But it had a good title and a pretty cover.

We Set the Dark on Fire starts with a myth, of a sun god and a salt god, who each rule an island. They are brothers who become divided over, (what else?) a woman. The moon goddess, specifically. This sets off a feud and the Sun god puts up a wall around his island to keep out his brother and all the people from the outer island. The capital prospers while everything else goes to hell.

Sound familiar? 9780062691316

I almost thought that I wasn’t going to like it, because it’s so on the nose for today’s politics. I’ve been in a several-year-long period of general news, politics, and anything remotely feel-inducing avoidance.

I also wasn’t sure about the fantasy/mythology aspect of the prologue, because I typically don’t lean too hard in that direction.

And then about three chapters in, this book took OFF and it was all I could do to hang on for the ride.

Daniela is a girl who crossed the wall illegally as a child, but her parents managed to secure her papers and send her to the Medio School for Girls, where she trains to be a Primera. In the upper classes, rich families with sons purchase him two wives– a Primera, who is his intellectual equal, woman who runs the house, and is basically his business partner in the business of social and economic climbing. She is cold and calculating and trained to assess every situation. Dani is partnered with Carmen, her school rival who ends up being Mateo’s Segunda, the wife responsible for bearing children and generally making the husband comfortable. Mateo is rather high up in the government hierarchy, and is being groomed to be President. He’s a real prince. *sarcasm font*

On the eve of her graduation from the Medio School for Girls and the beginning of the rest of her life, Dani becomes entangled with the resistance group La Voz, who are fighting for equality and the rights of those who live on the other side of the wall.

This book turns quickly from prep-school narrative to action packed adventure story with lots of spying and rule breaking. I was here for it.

The pacing was obviously well done, as evidenced by the fact that I read the entire thing in about four sittings. It was truly a page-turner. There were enough clues about where all the spying and sneaking around was going that I wasn’t wholly surprised by the twist at the end, but I was uncertain whether or not to trust my instincts up until that point. So that was good, too.

My only real complaint is that all of the characters are a little flat. I’m hoping for more out of Mateo, Daniela and Carmen’s villain of a husband, because he is annoyingly one dimensional. There are lots of flashbacks to Dani’s life before she came to the Medio School for Girls, but they honestly weren’t that informative on her character. I’d like a little deeper exploration of her, and definitely Carmen, in the next books.

That said, I need the next book, STAT. If you’re interested, you can buy this one HERE.

Overall, 7.5 out of 10 on the totally subjective rating scale.


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