Review of ‘We Set the Dark on Fire’ (We Set the Dark on Fire #1)

By Cynthia Bujnicki

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Katherine Tegen Books
Image Credit: Edelweiss

Daniela Vargas, a girl from the other side of the wall, has led a life of a lie. With a forged pedigree, Dani attended the Medio School for Girls in the hopes of rising above her station. However, on graduation night, Dani is cornered by the resistance group and forced to be a spy to keep her secret safe. Dani reluctantly agrees but as she moves into the big city and faced with the ghosts of her past, Dani must make a choice to either betray those fighting for equality or risk everything for their cause.

Published by Katherine Tegen Books, We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia is the first in a powerful novel with an important message and LGBTQ representation.

What an incredible novel. The most impactful aspect of this novel is the powerful allegory. The novel focuses on high society keeping a wall at the border to keep the poor in poverty and rich, well, rich. This wall prevents people from trying to get a better life. It sends a powerful message to the reader regarding the argument about the wall in the United States of America. This wall isolates, it keeps the wealthy blind to the needs of others, and in this high society, the rich have two wives to maintain the household, functioning similarly to A Handmaid’s Tale. This novel challenges the ideas presented in this novel; it opens the readers’ minds with a compelling narrative and argumentative plot.

Mejia challenges the reader with her storytelling and plot. Furthermore, by using Dani, the story opens the eyes. Dani’s family saved her from poverty by risking everything and spent everything they had in order to give their daughter the best chance at the best life. However, Dani sees the injustices around her, she stops becoming selfish and opens her eyes, seeing a chance to fight against the hierarchy.

It is a powerful message to readers, inspiring them to think about the world and everything in it. It is an inspiring novel made more exceptional by character development and dynamics. The friendship, the romance, and he LGBTQ representation give the novel depth. To see Dani grow from a scared girl to one willing to fight for others at the risk of her life makes an impact on the reader. Then there is the development in her friendship with Carmen. To see the friendship blossom and grow into something more throughout the progression of the novel is beautiful. We Set the Dark on Fire moves at a beautiful pace and brings to life the struggle these women face in trying to conform to social standards and their inner fight to dismantle the corrupt system.

We Set the Dark on Fire is a thoughtful and provoking novel with an incredible message to inspire readers and activists alike. (✮✮✮✮✮)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

Page count: 384pp

Age Range: 14 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-0626-9131-6

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

List Price: $17.99


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