Latinitas Magazine

A Strong Voice For Latina Youth

Book corner: A Latina’s take on “We Set the Dark on Fire” by Tehlor Kay Mejia

posted May 10, 2019 | in Uncategorized by Natasha Ford

There is a legend in the land of Medio, of the Sun God, his two wives, the Moon Goddess and Queen Constancia, and the Sun God’s jealous brother, the Salt God. The legend says that because of the Salt God’s jealousy, the outer ring of Medio is cursed, along with everyone who lives there.

The inner ring of the island is blessed by the Sun God and his wives. To protect themselves, the blessed built a giant wall around their territory, and leave the cursed to suffer in their squalor. And to honor the Sun God, the blessed young men of Medio pick two wives, a
Primera (wise, severe and the husband’s equal in every way) and a Segunda (the lover, full of emotion and bearer of children) from the Medio School for Girls. But there is revolution brewing on the island, and caught in the middle of it is Medio School for Girls’ shining star Primera, Daniela Vargas, who has a dark secret of her own.

Daniela, Dani, just wants to fit in and quietly accept her life, but fate has other plans for her, and, as more secrets about her husband’s plans for the cursed come to light, she has no choice but to become a part of La Voz, the dangerous leaders of the revolution.

In this electric debut novel from Tehlor Kay Mejia, readers explore a dystopian world set with a Hispanic backdrop, something rare and exciting in the science fiction genre. Readers follow Dani, whose parents smuggled her across the wall, forged her documents, and sent her to the top school in Medio to be trained as a Primera. Dani feels like she has the weight of the long-suffering cursed on her shoulders. Her struggles between fitting into the society of the blessed, who live extravagantly, and remembering the cursed, who barely have enough food to eat, are real and timely. We Set the Dark on Fire is an important allegory to our current political tension
and a call to arms for the young readers.


About the author: Natasha Ford lives and works in Austin as a bookseller. She enjoys reading young adult fantasy, eating tostones, and playing with her schnorkie.