Daniela Vargas is the Medio School for Girl’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, and Dani must keep this hidden now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching.
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 and is slowly brought further and further into the cause.
🌸 13/14+? There’s a bit of nudity, but it’s also not like it’s visible (it’s a book, y’all–you can’t see naked women except in your head) and I think its commentary is valuable for a lot of teens.
I didn’t have many expectations for what this was going to be like as I went into this book, but can I say that if I did have expectations, We Set the Dark on Fire would have blown them away?!
Like the cover, this book was both lush and gorgeous yet fierce and wild in its story. Mejia creates a world full of societal expectations and steeped in tradition, and then she works to tear down all of it throughout this book.
It was a very unique mix of genres, which I ended up enjoying! I can’t place the time period, but it’s not futuristic in technology or other wise, nor is it historical. But it’s also not contemporary, as it takes place in a different world (without being magical or “otherworldly”–just different). I’d honestly call it a new type of YA dystopia, akin to a near-future dystopia.
Kind of like The Sandcastle Empire with its near future dystopia, although a little less radical.
It’s got a lot of the same elements as the modern day, although amplified and harshened to lend to its societal commentary. On the government, on immigration, on religion and the patriarchy and so much more.
It was definitely ambitious, to say the least, and for the most part, Mejia succeeded in carrying this whole thing out.
The one thing that made me drop a star was ultimately the ending. This book has a sequel coming, so the story is obviously not over yet, but I felt like we didn’t get any type of resolution from this novel.
Even though the overarching plot still stands, there wasn’t really a plot specific to book 1 that was present or waiting to be resolved, so it felt like it was just kind of cut off, and I really wanted more closure for this particular book.
It’s not a literary crime or anything, but I was kind of wishing for something to close this book off with a bang and leave us thirsting for book 2.
Yet, there were so many other things that Mejia did well and that I loved!
For one, the romance had me fanning myself the whole way through and Dani and Carmen were [insert fire emojis] WHEW. The tension was through the roof!
I totally loved their dynamic and found it very fitting that the two wives of a corrupt politician (who also happened to be enemies before they got married to the dude) ended up having an affair. (˵ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°˵)
So yeah! Dani and Carmen are wonderful and I loved reading their parts together. Definitely strongly recommend this for the romance, and I think both girls contrast each other very well.
It’s all told through Dani’s point of view, but both girls play an important role in the story and I liked seeing them go from enemies to allies to friends to lovers.
The whole world was really well developed in the way Mejia set up the political corruption and the stakes that were in play with Dani (as she was from the border) and the way the religion and Sun God influenced the society strongly. It was fresh and unique and something I really enjoyed.
Overall, I would definitely recommend We Set the Dark on Fire, despite my troubles with its ending and wishing for more closure. That just means I’ll be thirsting for book 2 when it comes out, I guess!
Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!