About My Book Reviews

Saturday, November 3, 2018

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heiling

Image result for For a muse of Fire book cover
Title: For a Muse of Fire

Author: Heidi Heilig

Published: 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Grade Level: YA

-Trigger Warning: grief, depression, racism, sexual violence, and violence

-Movie Rating: PG-13 for violence

-Features: Bipolar Disorder

Blurb (from goodreads):
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.

Things I wished I’d have known before reading:

According to the Author’s Note located in the back of the book, Heidi Heilig grew up in Hawaii and is half Chinese. The world that she created in For a Muse of Fire was inspired by Asian cultures (Chinese and Hawaiian) and French colonialism.

So, there were LOTS of words I had to look up, most of which were not easy to locate. I’ll give you one for free:

Malheur: misery resulting from affliction

My Scores:

Writing Style: Top Notch

The writing style is truly amazing. The similes are clever. The MC’s voice is engaging. The French/Chinese/Hawaiian words adds depth to the world and are a puzzle the reader has to figure out.

Most of the book is written from the MC’s POV in classic narration. But some of it switches POV’s, and when this happens it also changes the formatting from narration to script, letters, or telegrams.

Usually I’m not a fan of reading letters or telegrams because they don't offer much character development. However, that is not the case with this book. Each character was treated with respect, and each format reveled more about each character, not less.

Characters: Absolutely Amazing

What drew to this book in the first place is that this fantasy novel has an author and an MC with bipolar disorder. I love finding mental illnesses or learning disabilities or physical disabilities in books, because what better way to fight the stigma than to read through their perspective?

Our MC, Jetta, was caring, brave, damaged, suspicious, and wonderfully self-conscious. Her emotions were incredibly raw and easily understandable, however, most of the time they overwhelm her sensibilities. She knows this about herself and refers to it as her malheur or depression. Which is interesting because it’s common for people with bipolar disorder to be diagnosed with depression because no one complains about being in a manic state.

If this were all she had, life would be complicated enough, but she can also see dead people, lol. And it was great seeing how her madness and talents play into this dark fantasy world.

Jetta has an awesome support system with her parents, (who were given personalities and not just killed off, yay!). Her mother has a very interesting backstory that had me cringing out-loud. I don’t normally talk to my books, it was just that intense.

Leo is a very interesting love interest. He is very tightly wound into the politics of this world. There is so much to learn about his character and he is so well developed that I’m half hoping the sequel will be from his POV. I love his character and I love his inherit understanding of Jetta. The downside is that he's so morally gray that you can't completely trust him. This makes it challenging for the audience, as well as Jetta, to know if they should be together.

Plot: So Many Plot Twists

I love the plot! I truly do. The action, the adventure, the romance, the politics, and the world-building. There was a lot going on, and the book doesn’t tell it to you straight despite the character list in the front. The plot was a puzzle, and with each twist you were handed a new piece. Seeing the big picture now, I can’t wait to re-read it! But I’ll wait until just before the sequel drops.

Overall: Totally Obsessed

I am totally obsessed with this book, you guys! I want you to read it, I want your mom to read it, I want your dog to read it, lol. Because obviously my dog, Balto, read it with me and totally loved it too.

Do not be scared off by the other goodreads comments. This is a book for people who like puzzles. The words, the plot, the character's relationships, the weird symbol on the book’s spine are all a puzzle meant for you to figure out. And for me it was a pleasure to piece it all together!

Is it madness that makes us monstrous… or only our actions?


Extra Notes:
Just look at that cover, isn’t it just amazing!

I meet Heidi Heilig at the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin. She was such a sweet and lovely person, and I was so glad to have meet her. I only wish that I could have read her book before meeting her so that I could tell her how much I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!

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