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For a Muse of Fire

(Shadow Players #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 ratings  ·  396 reviews
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 the acclaimed Heidi Heilig blends traditional storytelling with ephemera for a lush, page-turning tale of escape and rebellion. For a Muse of F ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  1,551 ratings  ·  396 reviews

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Heidi Heilig
Sep 19, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-did-the-thing
Okay I'm going to paste my preliminary author's note here, because it includes content notes at the bottom and I want to get those in front of people now because ARCs will become available soonish and I don't want anyone to be taken by surprise! I will format with spoiler tags as well, to keep anyone from being spoiled.

So! Here goes:

Sometimes, the inside of my head seems like the pile of returned books on a library cart. A well-worn high fantasy beside an account of the lives of party girls i
Elle (ellexamines)
I'm going to be putting this on hold at about 33%. I'll keep this at a bulleted list because I'm... almost 200 pages in? and that doesn't quite feel like enough to actually Dislike The Thing, and also there is a good chance I will finish this at some point

→I think this might just be one of those fantasy books that is heavier on the world and plot than on character, and I honestly... don't find either worldbuilding or plot particularly interesting
→fantasy names for real life things are cool and i
Jul 16, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Originally, I was going to power through this in a few days, but I just can't.

This isn't a DNF, I'm just going to put it back on my to-read pile and pick it up later in the future.

I don't hate it, but after 100 pages, I just can't get into it. Nothing has really captured my attention. Even the necromancy is lacking substance.

Hopefully I can read the story all the way, but for now, I'm setting it down.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To the mad ones

I knew I was going to like this book right from the dedication.

For a Muse of Fire is the first book in a YA trilogy set in a high fantasy world inspired by Southeast Asia during French colonization. It's the story of Jetta, a girl with bipolar disorder who is trying to get to a "magic" spring whose waters should be able to help her (because of the lithium which naturally occurs there).

It means a lot to me when I find SFF in which the main character is mentally ill. For two reaso
Lauren ✨ (TheBookishTwins)
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
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

In a vivid, rich world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism… A bipolar 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. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts and ephemera such as telegrams and letters, we are taken on a journey that weaves
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]


I started writing this review and it was basically a bunch of fangirling, so I’m starting over again. From the beginning this time. Here goes…


So, Jetta and her parents are shadow players – they tour Chakra and put on plays with puppets. They’re famous for how easily their puppets manoeuvre. But what the audience doesn’t know is that the puppets are essentially alive: they’re animated by souls, because Jetta can do awful necromantic things like that, even
Welcome to the fourth in my series of reviews of ARCs for which I traded this August, and for sure one of the best, brightest, and most unique new books of the year! Heidi Heilig impressed me a great deal with her first duology, The Girl from Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time. Now, she starts a new trilogy in For a Muse of Fire, another stellar fantasy in Heilig's signature style. It's dark and deadly, very lavish, highly critical of colonialism, and decidedly unconventional in its structure. ...more
Adah Udechukwu
The cover art is good, the title is good, the novel is not so good.
There is a spark of potential that needs to be exploited in subsequent books in the series.
Cori Reed
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I tried to read this book many months ago as a manuscript and couldn't get into it, but the audiobook is GREAT. An interesting and unique world that I have never seen before.

PS - There is quite a bit of French in here, definitely not enough to take away from the story if you're 100% unfamiliar with the language. That said, if you're a non-French speaking Canadian (like me!), the basic education we learned from the back of cereal boxes makes all the French thrown in really fun.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our review.

Perform a shadow play before the General. Wow the General. Impress him so much he takes you to perform before Le Roi Fou. Get on a ship to Aquitan. Get cured.

Simple, right?


I absolutely loved this book. It took the oft-used YA plot of special girl with powers+boy+evil government+rebellion and turned it into something fresh and new and exciting.

There's necromancy as I've never seen it before. Shadow players and desperation. A world filled with Sout
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: xeno, fantasy, ya, arc

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ARC provided via Edelweiss for a fair review

In a land stricken with war between a country colonizing it and its local rebels, Jetta and her family make their way across the country to hopefully catch the eye of the Boy King as a shadow troupe. If they manage to catch his favor it may be their ticket out of the dangerous country and a new life.

The Story-
Okay, I’m not going to lie. For most of this book I was confused, and I still am about a few aspects.
DNF @ 62%

I’ve been pretty good about not DNF’ing this year but I just can’t get into this story. It may be the format (audiobook) but I just can’t connect with the story or world building. I may try this in physical format one day but for now it’s a no.
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
ARC received from the Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review


INITIAL THOUGHTS: There's so much to love about this uniquely dark tale told in play format, 3 acts where we follow our MC Jetta as she is uprooted from the only place she's known as home. A story about Colonialism, mental health, racism, and necromancy that I just could not stop reading. This story will appeal to those who loved Rin Chupeco's The Bone Witch or anyone really who has interest in
Lenore .
Aug 28, 2018 marked it as you-keep-me-hanging-on  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-2018
Thank you Harper Collins for the early copy! I'm very excited for this! ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1018
I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books*

Jetta has an extraordinary ability...which must remain hidden if she and her family want to survive. In this world of Empires, conquered cities and full of spies, revolutionaries, and secrets Jetta will discover the extent of her own abilities and struggle with what she considers to be madness.

There were many parts at the beginning of the book that I didn't quite understand but slowly
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
“Never show, Never tell.”
Okay, before i start the official review, i wanted to know: didn’t that line remind you of Frozen? Just me? That’s fine.

I have a feeling a lot of you are going to like this book, and that’s good. Personally I am really not sure about my feelings regarding this book. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I read every page, i wanted to. But I didn’t devour it. There were some things that I didn’t predict, but unfortunately I predicted most of them. Also if you want to know, i
It was a little hard to make sense of the world, language and storytelling format initially. But there was just enough of a draw to keep me interested in finding out how things would play out in the end.
Vicky Again
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I liked it a lot and I think it's really well written, although I realize this is definitely not for everyone. It doesn't have as much commercial appeal, but the dissection of colonialism and the intricate approach to the politics was something I greatly enjoyed.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Necromancy with puppets...

French and Asian influences.

Magic and epic adventures.

For a Muse of Fire is a story about a girl named Jetta. Her family is the Ros Nai – a troupe of shadow players that is on their way to being the most famous in the country. Their puppets seem to move and dance without strings and everyone is always captivated by the stories they tell with her father singing the old tales and her mother playing the thom and flute while Jetta directs the puppets behind the scrim.

Cindy ✩☽♔
This sounds quite interesting, and I love the cover <3
Queen Cronut
That moment when the French you learned in high school actually becomes helpful.

Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2019-read

While I did like this, I generally feel a bit underwhelmed as a whole with this book. I think my brain was mostly in a "I don't want to listen" mood so a majority of the story probably went over my head. I think I'd really like this had I the time to sit down and read this book.

For example, it took me way too long to realize that Jetta was performing necromancy when she'd put spirits into her puppets. And this was such an essential piece of information to both the plot and many characters'
Lauren Stoolfire
For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Heilig had been sitting on my shelf for way too long and I'm glad I finally decided to pick it up for Book Riot's 2021 Read Harder Challenge. It gave me the perfect excuse to start in on this trilogy and now I have a great reason to catch up on the series before the release of the final book in the trilogy because I really enjoyed this series opener. It may not have found myself quite as enamored with it as I was with Heilig's The Girl From Eve ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heidi Heilig is a master of her craft.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arc of For a Muse of Fire provided by Edelweiss and
HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. 
Warnings (mentioned by author in book): Mental illness (bipolar), blood use in magic, gun violence, war, colonialism, racism, descriptions of dead bodies, mention of reproductive coercion, mentions of torture, mention of suicide

Heidi Heilig  has created a piece of art that is multi-faceted in characters, writing structures and plot points. Within this she has interwoven an own voice struggle as a
All Things Urban Fantasy
FOR A MUSE OF FIRE captured my attention--and held it--with its unique magic and believable characters. Jetta contends with family secrets and the horrors of war. The novel pulls no punches and is all the stronger for it.

Many readers will no doubt love the letters, telegrams, and plays that are scattered between chapters. For me, the play sections in particular jarred me out of FOR A MUSE OF FIRE. Jetta’s POV is a close first-person, so her story is stopped in its tracks between each telegram or
Athena of Velaris
3.5 stars. For a Muse of Fire took place in an interesting and lush world full of jungles, rice paddies, and cities. Jetta, the main character, was bipolar, and that fraction of her personality added to the story. Parts of the plot were fast moving, while other chapters were slow. This book did a great job of incorporating sheet music, letters, and scripts. The additional mediums really sucked the reader in. The story itself was predictable, and the relationships between characters were never de ...more
Jun 24, 2018 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2018
The initial set-up of the book was pretty confusing. There is a lot of terminology and a lot of people to keep track of. Although I liked the mash-up of French words in an Asian-style setting, I did find the storyline behind this blurry and odd, at times.

I just couldn't connect with the characters or the plot. Putting this down for now.
Bianca (The Ultimate Fangirl)
Actual rating: 3.3 - 3.5 ish? It's right in the middle of a "That was okay, I guess" and a "well, that was fun" rating.

I don't know if it's just me but there was a lot to process when it comes to this story. For starters, the pacing was a bit more like an "up-down situation", wherein some parts were laylow but it serves like a calm before a storm. But it's a good thing in a way because it gave me more time to invest myself with the large cast. The different ways it tells the story got me hooked
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Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko'olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.

She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theat

Other books in the series

Shadow Players (3 books)
  • A Kingdom for a Stage (For a Muse of Fire #2)
  • On This Unworthy Scaffold (Shadow Players, #3)

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