title: for a muse of fire
author: heidi heilig
genre: fantasy, historical
content warnings: blood, violence, death
my rating: recommended
i had been looking forward to reading for a muse of fire for a long while, and i’m so happy i finally got the chance. i first came in contact with heilig’s writing when i read the the girl from everywhere in 2016, and i’ve been a huge fan ever since.
when for a muse of fire was announced i was beside myself with excitement, and so happy for heilig that she got to write write this book. i follow her on twitter, and i’ve seen her talk about her mental health many times, and how scary it was to put this book out in the world. it’s not said on page – probably because the characters didn’t have the word – but our protagonist, jetta, clearly shares heilig’s bipolar disorder.
for a muse of fire follows jetta and her parents, who are a trio of famous shadow players travelling the land and trying to make their way to a neighbouring country to escape the colonising army that’s taken over their home. jetta has the gift of being able to see and tie the souls of the dead to her puppets, which is how she and her parents became so successful. then they meet the smuggler leo, and they are thrown headfirst into the fight between the army and the rebellion.
i listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by emily woo zeller. while i do feel like i missed some small parts – which was entirely my fault and had nothing to do with heilig or zeller, i just zone out sometimes and forget to listen lmao – i adored it. zeller did an amazing job narrating, and because of how the story is told she sings a capella at a few points. her voice is beautiful and it was a delight to listen to. i also don’t want us to forget the fact that this is a book inspired by asian cultures, by an asian writer, read by an asian narrator. the fact that they didn’t drop the ball and got a white narrator makes me so happy.
hands down my favourite part of this book was the characters. they are all so layered and interesting, with their own motives and thoughts and beliefs. jetta is hot headed and impulsive, but loves fiercely and will do anything to ensure the safety of her family. she also goes through a depressed episode, followed by a manic one, a little ways into the book. as i previously mentioned, this isn’t flat out said with those words, but it is what happens. we need more main characters with mental illnesses written by people with those same illnesses, so that it gets done right and with care.
all in all i really enjoyed this book, and i recommend you pick it up. really the only down side is that i was a bit confused at times because i didn’t really follow how all things went from point a to point b, but i think that’s mainly my own fault and not something that the book should be held accountable for.
i listened to for a muse of fire for #mythothon, which i’m participating in this month. it served as the book for the zeus prompt – read a book that’s at least 400 pages long. be on the lookout for a catch-up post with updates on how the first half to the readathon has gone sometime within the next couple of days!