We Set the Dark on Fire’s byline of “let rebellion burn” combined with the contrasting doves on the cover drew me into this one. The colors chosen as a backdrop clearly selected to look like a fire in the night.
This book had politics, rebellion, inner conflict, and a female female romance. Yes, it was a young adult book, but it felt thin and forced. Dani started the novel as a young girl fresh out of school. Practiced and poised, trained to deceive and to analyze the world around her. This training, combined with her marriage to Mateo, set her up to be the perfect spy for the rebellion.
At first, they had to blackmail her, having provided new forged documents to replace her old ones so that she could make it through the new checkpoints. Each favor was done reluctantly until Dani realized that her parents wish for her to be safe didn’t reflect her own need to make a difference. I expected more resistance from Dani, despite the powerful image that made her choose sides.
As soon as Dani saw the peaceful protesters being attacked, a switch seemed to occur that turned her emotions on. It was as though something snapped and she couldn’t hide who she was anymore. This was the perfect reason for Dani to want to help the rebellion, I just felt as though it needed a little more build up.
Speaking of needing a little more build up, Dani’s relationship with Carmen went from zero to sixty in three point five. They distrusted each other in school, Carmen bullying Dani every chance that she got. Putting her down and making Dani feel like she was out to get her. Then, suddenly, they were together. Laughing in the market and almost kissing each other before witnessing a peaceful protest fall apart. Carmen quickly slipping into Dani’s heart and gaining her trust with a few pouts and kisses.
Once Carmen was in Dani’s bed, I couldn’t help but hold my breath while waiting for Dani to be betrayed. Carmen knew everything, she was given ultimate power over Dani. When it finally happened, a lot of things clinked into place. The reason that Carmen had watched Dani so closely. The reason that Carmen had worked so hard in school to push Dani away. Suddenly their love saga began to slide into place as a mirror image to the story of hope and trust in a world filled with lies and war raged around them.
I haven’t decided if I will read book two yet, but I’m leaning towards probably.
July’s bookclub will take us under the sea in The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. I can’t help it, I’m drawn to things that take place near or by the water. It must be the fish in me.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.