I should have talked about We Set The Dark On Fire when I first read it, almost two months ago, but time and other reviews came around and before I knew it, it was the very start of May. The thing is: how do you talk about a book you love with all of your heart? A book you anticipated that ended up completely delivering? I find it way easier, somehow, to find the right words to express myself with other books.
I wish I could write eloquently, but when I think about We Set The Dark On Fire, I can’t even think clearly, so….let’s make a list of reasons why I loved this book instead.
There are no spoilers in this review.
We Set The Dark On Fire, Tehlor Kay Mejia
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?
- Reading this book reminded me of reading one of my favorite books of all times for the first time. The book was Delirium, by Lauren Oliver and even though these two books are nothing alike, I got exactly the same feeling while reading this book. The slow obsession starting within the first few pages, feeling completely swallowed by the story and its characters.
- It helped that the writing was absolutely stunning, so many moments and sentences just made me want to scream and read over and over again and I was so immersed into it all and ahhh.
“On the outside, she was frozen, but inside her, whole cities were being razed to the ground.”
- We Set The Dark On Fire is set in a world completely different from ours, yet also echoes with our own. With women expected to act and conform to certain roles, with people crossing the border and viewed badly by the government and so on, there are many many similarities with our own world. The world was so, SO well-built, so realistic and intricate and I loved and feared everything about it. It was fascinating, really I don’t have any other word.
- THE CHARACTERS. I adored them with all of my heart. Dani was one badass, incredible main character carrying the story and she grew as the pages went on, which I adored. She is strong, smart yet sensitive, always thinks of her family and is just overall a character I adored. I loved seeing her becoming more and more conscious of the terrible ways of her own society and slowly falling into rebellion and I rooted for her right from the start.
“Mateo thought she was powerless. That he could reduce her to a trembling victim with some harsh words and the scent of his breath on her face. But she wasn’t powerless. And if she played her cards right, she would never have to be again.”
- Carmen was one complicated character that took me a moment to warm up to, but that’s only because we only know as far as Dani knows, so at first, it’s not a lot. I loved seeing the two women getting close to each other and getting to know Carmen a whole lot and I grew fond of her and her awesomeness very quickly, too.
- The ROMANCE was one of my favorite parts of the book, too, easily one of the best f/f romances I’ve read and fell in love with. It slowly developed and, as they grew feelings for each other, my heart expanded slowly with ALL.THE.FEELINGS. It’s a bit of an enemies to lovers trope and I loved it so much.
- That ending was absolutely terrible and I can’t believe I have to wait until 2020 to know what happens next OKAY.
“The bad stuff will be there. If we want to fight it, we have to find joy where we can. We have to find beauty. We have to take our moments to be happy. Because the joy is what keeps us strong, and reminds us we have something to fight for.”
I feel like I couldn’t really express my love well for this book, so I should stop there and can only hope that this little bullet-point list managed to convince you to add this book to your TBR. It’s the diverse, badass fantasy you all need in your lives and I know I’m going to be screaming about it for a long, long, long time.
Final rating: it’s a hurricane!
Trigger warnings: forced marriage, murder, poverty, bullying, explosions and fire, reference to abduction, car accident.
Diversity: Latinx main characters and side characters, queer main characters. (#ownvoices)
Did you read We Set The Dark On Fire? Do you want to?
What’s the last book that exceeded your expectations? Let me know in comments!