For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Helig
ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss for a fair review.
Publish date: September 25, 2018
In a land stricken with war between a country colonizing it and its local rebels, Jetta and her family make their way across the country to hopefully catch the eye of the Boy King as a shadow troupe. If they manage to catch his favor it may be their ticket out of the dangerous country and a new life.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. For most of this book I was confused, and I still am about a few aspects. Most of my issue was in the back story that coincides with the world building, but I will dive into that below. As far as the story went, it was unique and compelling. I liked the story about this girl who was traveling with her family in hopes to escape a country that is riveted with war. It was unique in the fact that they’re just trying to get out of there. They’re not part of the rebellion or the army trying to keep control of the country. You discover through the story that there are actually a few other reasons they are traveling out of the country, one being Jetta’s malheur. This problem she had was woven into the story that I almost missed it until they blatantly started to point it out. I really wish it was a lot more evident in her actions as it does play a major role for motivation, and her decision making in general.
The story itself was slow in progress, but it had enough action to keep you turning the pages and entertained. through this action there are some trigger warnings that can include: death, colonialism, racism, blood magic, war, implied of torture, implied of suicide, implied sexual abuse.
The World Building
This is where I had the most trouble with the book. So to curb the pain of trying to get it out, I am going to talk about what I liked first.
I liked the Asian culture mixed in with the French bits. I can see where some people may find it offensive that the seemingly Caucasians are invading this darker skinned populated jungle-like country. But that doesn’t bother me, even with having some Filipino heritage. I know it’s most likely not inspired by the Philippines, but there are parts that just made me think of it. So, let me just say in advance, if anyone has an issue with that sort of parallelism, just maybe stay away? Like I said, it didn’t bother me, so let’s not make a big deal about it. I loved the description of the jungle, of the housing raised off the ground, the animals, etc, etc. Even though I struggle with French, it was a unique feeling to have the language interwoven into the culture of the people because of who they are occupied by.
Okay, on to the parts that didn’t make sense. I really wished Jetta’s magic was explained a little better in the beginning, because it would have helped me understand some of what was happening. By the end, I had a decent grasp on her abilities and it’s range, but there are still parts that slip through, such as the type of different spirits. I sort of just went with it rather than trying to think too hard on which type she was talking about. I did really like the magic and how it worked, it was unique and fit into the story and her occupation seamlessly.
The other part that I had an issue with was the political bits, mostly just because there was so much going on, and not a whole lot explained. And when it was explained it came in bits and pieces that felt disjointed as I read. There was some Boy King..that was getting crowned? I don’t know where he came from. Is he the rightful heir? There is some rebel leader named The Tiger…who we don’t really need to know anything about except he’s some rebel leader. There is some other….old king/leader, named Les Trespas? I don’t know who he was except that he had the same power as Jetta and…had some sort of role? There was something called the Victorie that was….when the country invaded? When that guy was captured? I don’t know, but they refer to it, and I either completely missed the explanation of what that event was…or it wasn’t explained all together.
So you can see how some parts were a little bit hard to follow due to understanding of the history and it’s characters with how they impact the story.
Jetta was a great character to read about. Her love of her family and what she did really made her character likeable. I loved the uniqueness of her talent, her magic and situation altogether. I really wished her problem was discussed a little better and was a bit more evident, I realized the issue after the fact and saw it later in what she does. But for part of the book I seriously thought they were referring to her magic. Nope, it was something different. Oh what the hell, it’s mentioned in the synopsis, so I will tell you that she is apparently bi-polar and is trying to get a cure for it? Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about it to definitively say if it was represented well by her character.
The romance in the book is almost non existent, which is sometimes a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t a driving factor for this heroine. Her family and their safety is such a large focus for her that when the romance aspect did come in, it almost seemed forced because I didn’t ‘ship the characters at all. It was sort of like, okay well I guess they can have romantic feelings, didn’t notice it before, but yeah, okay.
French for Rabbits – Cold