Title: For a Muse of Fire
Author: Heidi Heilig
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)
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.
For a Muse of Fire is a vivid, lush tale of shadow magic, ghosts, and rebellion. It's pageantry cloaked in mystery, it's shadows and flames, it's hope and despair. Life and death. It's a search for peace and safety in a world consumed by war. It's a young woman who faces the truth of herself and must make a hard decision.
Jetta is a young woman dealing in secrets, in the forbidden ways of making their puppets move using the souls of the dead. No one must ever know the truth, especially with the colonial army moving closer and closer, but they need to keep performing. Need to keep making a name for themselves in order to gain the attention of the King. Because there's somewhere they need to go, somewhere Jetta needs to go if the madness that plagues her is ever to be silenced. But journeys are never easy, especially in wartime, and soon Jetta and her parents are involved with a curious business owner and smuggler with secrets of his own and places he needs to get to.
There's something enchanting about this book, something lyrical and soothing, the different ways the beginning of Jetta's story is told. Prose read in Jetta's voice, scenes from a play and letters that detail the army's movements and missions. Tales of death and songs of sorrow. It all feels so expansive, so far-reaching beyond just prose. It was like I could hear this book as I read it, hear the sounds of Jetta's puppets, the music, the gunshots, the whispers of the ghosts. The worry that fills Jetta's mother, the desperation that fills Jetta. I can't wait to see what happens next, where Jetta will go and who will appear.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through NetGalley.)