Friday, December 20, 2019

We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Trained to be observant and quick thinking at the Medio School for Girls to become a primera (trusted companion, confident, and first wife) Dani is cautious and rational.  Top of her class, she is the opposite of Carmen, the top-ranked segunda.  Segundas, in contrast, are trained to be beautiful and sensual.  Every powerful man of Medio has two wives (a primera and a segunda).  It is an irony that these two schoolyard enemies end up married off to the same man – a boy who is slated to lead the interior ministry and aims to some day become president.

In the midst of all of this is  La Voz who seek to call attention to the inequality and injustice in society, and raise a rebellion against it.  La Voz is everywhere and while Dani’s husband is committed to crushing them, Dani has been recruited by them to spy on his husband and the family.  She does so at first because of blackmail, but eventually she develops sympathy for their cause and the backbone to support it.

Part one of a projected duology, this wonderfully Hispanic-flavored dystopian combines some great character development with a power struggle complex enough to rival any telenovela.  Things get really weird at the end, but it wraps up with a perfect lead-in to the sequel (not a cliffhanger, but rather a ramping up of the story that makes what comes next look interesting).

No comments: