Review From User :
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
Jetta is a member of a famed troupe of shadow players, where a story is told through the shadows cast by puppets. But Jetta and her parents have a secret to their success - Jetta's has necromancy powers and uses it to bind souls to her puppets so they can move without strings. With her skills and their fame, Jetta and her family are trying to make their way from Aquitan and Chakrana (the former inspired by South East Asia, and the latter by France, their interaction and history based on French colonialism), fleeing the rising rebellion, but also where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring to cure his ills, because the spirits of the dead are not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as the rebellion lands on her front step, Jetta finds herself facing truths and decisions she never imagined.
I am a massive fan of Heidi Heilig's duology THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, and so I was ecstatic to get my hands on an e-ARC of FOR A MUSE OF FIRE. It did not disappoint - not in the slightest. It's an Asian inspired fantasy with a vibrant and dynamic cast of characters, fantastic world-building, a unique magic system (NECROMANCY!), and such lush writing.
The characters - both the main and the secondary - were complex and well-developed and the group dynamics and interactions were exceptional. I adored Jetta, how intelligent, caring, and kind she was. Jetta's malheur is also very much inspired by the author's #ownvoices experience with bipolar. I adored Leo. I adored the feeling of found family, and I also adored the slow burn romance between Jetta and Leo.
Another thing that makes this book so unique, aside from the exceptional world-building and unique magic system, was that whilst most of it was written in the first-person narrative from Jetta's POV, there were letters and transcripts and folklore stories and it enhanced the reading experience and made it feel so immersive. Even though FOR A MUSE OF FIRE is a fantasy, it is very much based on history, with themes of colonialism. I do think that fans of both fantasy and historical fantasy/fiction will find a lot to love here.
FOR A MUSE OF FIRE is a book that I will be recommending to fantasy fans for a long time to come.
A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from Heidi Heilig.
Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick – a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined – and safety will never seem so far away.
Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.