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The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The Language of Fire is a lyrical, dark, and moving look at the life of Joan of Arc, who as a teen girl in the fifteenth century commanded an army and helped crown a king of France.

This extraordinary verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill dares to imagine how an ordinary girl became a great leader, and ultimately saved a nation.

Jehanne was an illiterate p
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Hardcover, 512 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  69 ratings  ·  21 reviews


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Caylynn Bleess
Even if I can't change the direction of the wind, why must I agree that foul air smells sweet?

Meh. I can't say that I really enjoyed this one as much as I hoped I was going to. Admittedly, I found myself continuously comparing this novel to David Elliott's Voices that was published back in March of this year. I was absolutely blown away by that novel, since it was my first introduction to fiction told through verse.

However, The Language of Fire just fell a little too short for me. Where Ellio
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Kelly Hager
Stephanie Hemphill explains in a note before the book begins that she chose to call Joan of Arc Jehanne because that was how she referred to herself. Also, like her other books, this is a novel in verse.

I didn't know very much about Joan of Arc before reading this book. (Young girl hears voices from God, leads an army, burned at the stake, eventually canonized.) I'm over twice her age now; she was martyred at 19.

Another thing I didn't know is that she started hearing voices (technically, she hea
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Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Plot twist: she dies

Why have I never read verse before this year?! It lends itself SO WELL to historical fiction!
I really liked the start of this book especially since her family life is not something I've really ever heard of. I also loved how this showed how heavily manipulated faith was in order to suppress women. Also, big shout out to the author for simplify the Hundred Years War and complex political conflicts into like 3 digestible pages at the beginning.
Emilee King
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should’ve guessed this book would be a little heavy, but I’m shocked at how much it hit me. Such a unique blend of history, fiction, and faith. Honestly makes me wish for more female-led scripture stories. Not only did I learn a lot, but Jehanne’s personal and endearing narrative combined with a unique writing style and hard-hitting tale makes for powerful storytelling 4.6/5
Jennifer
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
3.5/5 stars

The Language of Fire is a Young Adult version of Joan of Arc told through verse.

This book is divided into eight parts and tells the story of Joan of Arc. The book starts with a very long foreward explaining the actual story.

Before reading this I wondered if the verse would be extremely complex. But the book is written quite simply, in very short chapters. And it was easy to understand.

The narrator is Jehanne (how the author refers to Joan of Arc). The book comes across almost as non-f
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Claire
Oct 31, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
UM YES PLEASE

Joan of Arc is the best
Katherine
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book begins when Joan of Arc, in her early adolescence, first hears the voice of God assigning her the task of helping to end the Hundred Years' War, and continues up to and beyond her death. Told in the format of a verse novel, the book reimagines the rise of a well-known historical figure in a way that feels completely fresh and full of the kind of details that are often discarded when discussing the almost mythical leader. An excellent retelling.
Tamara
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, arcs, poetry
Even if I can't change
the direction of the wind,
why must I agree
that foul air smells sweet


The Language of Fire is a fascinating novel. It recounts Joan of Arc's life from her childhood to her early death and fills this myth of a girl with so much life and detail.

It does all that in verse form which is a fascinating writing style in itself and which works beautifully in this context.

Though the plot sometimes drags and the battles and journeys weren't as interesting to me as I would have liked,
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Tasya Dita
I received an e-ARC through Edelweiss Plus in exchange for an honest review

Joan of Arc has been a fascinating figure for many centuries for many people. There's not many known of her as a person, what we know of her is claim to be chosen by God, her subsequent role during the 100 years war and her eventual death. Many fascination rests on the fact she was a simple farmer's daughter, whose role and place were defined strictly at her time, and yet she managed to lead an army towards victory.

This
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Katherine
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Language of Fire is Joan of Arc's story from her own perspective, told in verse. The poems easily flow from one to the next, making a timeline of Joan's life from her childhood and first encounters with the voice of God, to her finals days and execution. In terms of structure, this was very similar to another book I've read, Blood Water Paint . I love seeing these new ways of telling stories becoming more popular. I think it adds a new element to them, especially stories like Joan's that ar ...more
sgould8
This is an intense story- absolutely amazing what thirteen year old Jehanne/Joan of Arc set into motion and accomplished in the 15th century. With everything going against her- her sex, age, and social status- she managed to lead an army and accompany the king of France to his coronation. I hope that's not a spoiler; we probably all know how it ends.

The book itself is told in verse, so it flies by. Historical fiction, but very unique, and in the YA section of my public library.

Highly recommend
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Elizabeth
While it was a little dry for some of the historical parts (the travel and battles, mostly), I thought it was overall interesting and offered insights about society's treatment of women that are still relevant. It was also quick to read and absorb.

I'll be sure to check out the author's Wicked Girls someday (about the witch trials in Salem), to see if it's similarly reflective about women and history.


(EDIT: I forgot to note that my copy was an ARC, so it did have some typos and I'm assuming part
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Lisa
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
In The Language of Fire, Stephanie Hemphill has"reimagined" Joan of Arc's tale and told it not only in verse but in Joan's own voice. She elects to refer to Joan as Jehanne, which is how Joan referred to herself in documentation of the time.
There was so much about Joan of Arc I didn't know and this book really enlightened me as to her journey, how she became a soldier and led the French Army and of her downfall and ultimate execution. It is not light reading but well worth the time to read.
Asteropê
Interesting, there's another Joan of Arc verse novel for 2019 as well: Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. Will be interesting to see the different takes on the same figure.
Sophie
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I don't have much taste for verse, but I received an ARC
and IT'S JOAN OF ARC. She and I have been tight for a long time. The verse was very accessible and being written for a younger (teen/YA) audience didn't detract from the quality. The style feels simplistic but compliments Joan’s earnestness and devotion. Excuse me while I go rewatch Joan of Arc (1999).
Amanda
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While there are a few historical inaccuracies in this novel, it is, overall, true to the central story of Joan of Arc. This book really brought Joan to life with the beautiful verse. She came alive on the page, and I really felt for her. Her story is a powerful one, and this is a great novel to read to gain an understanding of that story. This is a great read!
emma
Jun 20, 2019 marked it as to-read
I have a hard time reading books about Joan of Arc who subscribe to tropes that she hated femininity and things like sewing. This occurs within the first three pages of this book. I've read enough about Joan of Arc to know that this is a modern projection- there was nothing or little in history to suggest this. I might still read this book, but really, this grates on my nerves so much.
Erikka
This wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't great. It got very monotonous after about 100 pages and had way more detail than I think the intended audience would care about. I think the idea was solid and that Joan of Arc is a fascinating character, but this book made her seem very dull. It was definitely well researched and was clearly a passion project, so I'll give it credit for that.
Nora
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Galley through Edelweiss. Some lovely moments in here as well as some dark turns. We trace Jehanne’s journey from young girl to warrior, and Hemphill gives her a strong voice, but I wanted more about her training and her relationships with the Dauphin and those she led in battle, which seemed to skim by.
Shauna Yusko
Long but good. Pair with Elliott’s Voices
Saruuh Kelsey
I'm always on the look out for new novels in verse, so when I saw a poetry book about Joan of Arc? No brainer, got it instantly.

This book is, as you would expect, difficult to read at times. It shows the best and worst parts of religion, humanity, and the treatment of women at the time (and does a not terrible job of reflecting the current state of things, either.) I didn't enjoy the book per se, I don't think you CAN enjoy something this rough and difficult to read, but I am glad I read it. I f
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Jul 16, 2019
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Stephanie Hemphill's first novel in poems, Things Left Unsaid, was published by Hyperion in 2005 and was awarded the 2006 Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Excellence in Poetry by the Children's Literature Council of Southern California.

Her second novel, a verse portrait of Sylvia Plath, Your Own, Sylvia was published by Knopf in March 2007. A third novel in verse for teens, Wicked Girls, a verse st
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