Thursday, December 19, 2019

Review: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Book: For a Muse of Fire
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: For a Muse of Fire #1
Publication: September 25, 2018

A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from Heidi Heilig.

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.

This book has been on my TBR for quite some time. And having read the book, there's a lot going on in this book that I want to talk about. The plot and characters, of course, but also the colonialism and the concept of racially mixed people. The acknowledgements in the book (if you're weird and read them like me) explain a lot of what was going through the author's head, which I really appreciated.

The plot itself is a bit cut-from-the-cloth: a tyrant-like figure (or kingdom) has taken over another kingdom, a rebellion is on the verge of rising, and the main character gets swept up in it. However, the elements within the plot make it unique; Jetta's journey inevitably makes her cross paths with the rebellion's activities, both directly and indirectly, time and time again. That being said, I found the first third of the book I found a bit on the slow side. Jetta's burning desire to perform for the General a bit too reckless, leading her to a slew of predictable misfortunes events. On one hand, her actions were crucial to get the plot moving and gaining attention, but it kind of came off as much too desperate without enough substantial explanation. But once that was through, the pacing picked up, as there was a lot more danger to avoid.

I really enjoyed how there were chapters of prose, play scripts, transmissions, and letters in the book. It really gave a neat break between reading straight prose, especially since it hinted at other character perspectives without actually switching into their direct narrative.

There was a unique blend of Asian and French European culture in this book. Though the book was set in Chakrana, an Asian country, the French influence of the Aquitians was abundantly obvious, as most colonialized countries are. This is realistic representation of colonialism that we don't see very often in literature, which I appreciated. Also, having Leo as a mixed child really brought to light the unfair discrimination and alienation many people of mixed parentage experience, especially in a colonialization setting.

All in all, I enjoyed this book! I really liked how it explored so many themes of colonialism, mixed parentage, and bipolar disorder within the confines of a rebellion trope. 

No comments:

Post a Comment