We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia | REVIEW3 min read

Review of We Set the Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Quick Info about We Set The Dark On Fire

Title We Set The Dark On Fire
Author Tehlor Kay Mejia
Publisher Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date 26 February 2019
Format Audiobook, narrated by Kyla García
Representation Entirely Latinx cast; Female main character with a female love interest;
Content Warnings Genre-appropriate violence; Classism; Sexist comments/language (most unchallenged); Internalized queerphobia; Spousal abuse
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?

 Review of We Set The Dark On Fire

Cover of We Set the Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

There are so many twists and turns in We Set The Dark On Fire! It had me hooked from the very beginning. I’ve followed Tehlor on Twitter since long before she even announced this book and have loved the content she put out there. So when We Set The Dark On Fire came out, I knew this was going to be some Quality Content. And good gosh was I right about that. If my placeholder Goodreads review of “WHERE IS THE SEQUEL? I NEED IT NOW” doesn’t tell you the state this book left me in, I don’t know what will.

Each character was amazingly written. Some of them I hated, but I hated them as people rather than characters which shows that Mejia did her job. I love Dani so much and I loved seeing the story through her eyes. She’s not necessarily the “falls into her revolutionary role totally naturally” heroine. I mean, she’s good at what she does, of course! But Dani has trained all her life to beat the system and come out on top. Now she’s pulled into others’ plans to beat the system by tearing it down? It’s interesting to see a character go through this type of transformation. Now I’m so super excited to see the sequel through Carmen’s perspective, because of the differences (and similarities) in these two girls’ backgrounds and personalities.

Honestly, whoever says they’re tired of dystopian novels needs to read this. Because what y’all are actually tired of are knock-off Hunger Games stories. We Set the Dark on Fire is a story about class, gender roles, political revolution, privilege, and so much more. Mejia has created a story with so many layers in such a complex world. I just love it so much, and I want to scream more, but I can already feel myself trying to hold back spoilers, so I’ll stop here.

Whom I recommend this to

  • Those who love mystery, drama, strong world-building, social commentary on class, gender roles, and privilege.
  • Readers who want two amazing, strong female characters at the forefront of a story with an entirely Latinx cast.
  • Those who want a dystopian read that’s not from the all-too-common white allocishet perspective

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