Narrator: Kyla Garcia
Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 26, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.
On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
We Set the Dark on Fire was the June BOTM for the Latinx Book Club. I’ve seen a lot of hype about this book and I was nervous to start it because let’s be honest hype books and I are always at odds. I was truly hoping that We Set the Dark on Fire would live up to the hype for me because the cover is so gorgeous.
We Set the Dark on Fire is a queer Handmaid’s Tale. (I’ve never seen/read Handmaid’s Tale but I explained the book to my book club, and they mentioned it sounded similar and I’ve seen a few other reviews that do the same.) This is set in a country where a man has two wives. One is La Primera, the one who basically the one you see out and about, the “smart” one the one that handles all operations of the household and the husband’s image. The Segunda isn’t the “smartest” one, but she is the one who will have the children. This is the norm in the country because of the Gods way. You even go to school to be the best Primera or Segunda you can be. However, across the border they don’t believe in having two wives and excess amount of food. So, there is a bit of tension and anger between the two borders.
We Set the Dark on Fire started out strong. I couldn’t stop listening to my audiobook because I was so captivated by the world and especially Dani. I especially loved the prologue, it set an awesome foundation for the story. I was curious to see how this would be worked into the book however half way through the book I found myself bored.
I honestly put the book down for a good couple days before picking it up again. And when I did pick it up again, I was once again bored. It felt like it started out so strong and the writing was so intriguing, but the middle part of the story was very sluggish. I was honestly so bored. The concept of having a Primera and a Segunda was intriguing but I also felt like I didn’t fully understand the reasoning. But I do have to say We Set the Dark on Fire is a first book and it does a decent job of setting up the series so I’m sure all my questions and things I’m confused about will be answered in the next couple books.
Dani was honestly the best of the book. She was a strong female lead and she was so fierce and so loyal. PROTECT DANI at all costs, she’s a bit too pure for this story. I loved how hard working she was and how dedicated she was to be the best Primera. I also loved how she never forgot why her parents sent her to the school to be a Primera. This was very reminiscent for me because I felt like it could a line for a lot of what happened in my life. My family came from over the border to make sure future generations had a better chance at life. It is also a lot of pressure because you don’t want to disappointment your family, but you also have to do what is best for you and I felt like Dani had this feeling a lot throughout the book.
Mateo is the husband of both Dani and Carmen. He is the son a politician and is said to be on the same road towards politics except he is aiming higher than his father. So, he needs a very smart Primera who can handle all the demands of this quest towards power and he needs a segunda that will be pretty. He was your typical cold hearted, zero kindness, heart made of stone villain.
Carmen was the segunda in the story and I guess you could say Dani’s sister wife. I felt like she could’ve really been the star of the book or at the very least been used as something other than a love interest and used for her looks. Hopefully in the next books we will get to explore Carmen more because she has a lot of backstory that I am so curious about. Although, I will say I’m not too fond of her. I just feel like she could be a snake.
The story features a romance and honestly, I went back to listen to this book TWICE because I thought that maybe I wasn’t paying attention and missed the start of the romance. I didn’t. The romance was introduced so suddenly and so randomly that I was confused by it. I guess for me, I would’ve loved a little bit more hints towards the romance because I felt like it came out of left field and I wasn’t entirely sure how we ended up it.
We Set the Dark on Fire is a decent start to the series. I feel like the kinks that I had with it such as the romance, Carmen basically just being involved for her looks will eventually be turned into something in book 2. I felt like the book lacked a little more substance because it started out so strong then it just fizzled out. I felt like I didn’t fully understand La Voz and their mission towards the rebellion. Overall, I’ll probably pick up book 2 eventually but it won’t be a top priority.