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We Set the Dark on Fire: 05/27/19
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia is the start of a YA fantasy series set on an island dystopian island built on latinx culture. Medio is a corrupt nation running on the fears of institutionalized classism and xenophobia.
Daniela Vargas was born on the wrong side of the wall but her parents managed to pull some strings to get her into the Medio School for Girls which trains young women to either be a Primera or a Segunda — the wife who runs the lord's estate or the mistress. Daniela at top of her class has been chosen to be the Primera for a young lord with ties to the government. Her rival and bully has been picked to be his segunda.
In nearly any other book, this set up would be one where the remainder of the book would be the two young graduates competing against each other to win their husband's affections and to get the other booted from the house. Instead, this book immediately zeros in on the built in misogyny of this system as well as the spies for the revolution who go right into the heart of the government — both through blackmail and direct infiltration.
But it gets better. The two young wives quickly realize that they are both there for the revolution and that they are more attracted to each other than they are to their new husband. He is just a means to their ends.
We Set the Dark on Fire sits in the road narrative spectrum at 3300CC. The travelers are the two wives who themselves rather quickly become a couple (33) and a united force. Their journey is first to the capital city (00) and all their adventures are in and around this city. Because of the danger both through the revolutionaries aa well as the strict government with its numerous check points, the city is maze like, in a similar but small scale to the main city in The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (2019).
This book is a page turner. There is the perfect balance between atmosphere, tension, political intrigue, danger, and sexual tension. The conclusion is in the works but there isn't a title or a publication date set yet.
In the meantime, I"m looking forward to the start of another duology by the author which begins with Paola Santiago and the Drowned Palace, out in May 2020.