Book Reviews

Review: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Having really enjoyed The Girl from Everywhere series by Heidi Heilig, I knew I wanted to check out For a Muse of Fire. It promises discussions of colonialism, shadow puppet masters, and a story of family. And it delivers a slow burning story of rebellion and fire. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts!


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.


TW: racism

For a Muse of Fire is a slower paced fantasy that deeply explores the effects of colonization. Intensely political, Heilig’s series is a story steeped in secrets, questionable alliances, and histories in flames. Featuring a bipolar heroine, For a Muse of Fire springs us immediately into the crossfire. And Jetta has to figure out how she, and her family, could survive unscathed. As For a Muse of Fire progresses, it becomes clear that survival will entail sacrifice. Each of them have their own secrets they’re running away from, hiding, and not sure if, or when, it will catch up.

Not only did I sincerely appreciate the ways Heilig discusses colonization, but also the layout of For a Muse of Fire (which had scenes written out like a play and sheet music). All the lives who are torn in between, who’s daily lives are pushed and pulled forces with no regards for them. The ways ‘politics’ ends up costing ‘lives’ without recognizing them. The world Heilig introduces us to is rich and complex. I am so intrigued to see how it will develop in the sequel. A world where there are outlawed religions, ghosts lingering in darkened corners, and magical springs.


For a Muse of Fire sets up the beginning of what seems like it will be an introspective and action packed series. What will we do when ordered to and when we are fighting an enemy not of our choice? What choices will we make for family, our country, and power?

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Find For a Muse of Fire on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite YA that tackles colonization?

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