Book 113 of 2018: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig.
Jetta's family is one of the most notorious troupe of shadow players in the land: Jetta has perfected the craft of moving the puppets without any visible stick or string, a trade secret, her mother explains wherever they go.
The truth is, Jetta can see the spirits of the dead and command them by binding them to objects using the magic of her blood. But Jetta's ability was forbidden when the colonial army conquered the land, and thus she must never show the reality of what she can do.
Her family's fame was meant to earn them a spot in the royal ship to Aquitan, where rumors abound about a spring that can cure any illness: Jetta's malheur will soon be a thing of the past.
But things are not supposed to go as planned and as Jetta finds herself in the middle of a rebellion and in the company of a smuggler, she will have to make decisions she never would have thought possible.
There are only a few books I've ever read that have a fun format, but never one as great as For a Muse of Fire; half of it is written in regular book format, the other half is written as a play and if that wasn't enough, there are pieces of sheet music throughout the story. I felt supremely excited every time I was about to turn a page because I didn't know what I would find. The book was over before I knew it, but I never once felt disappointed because the story was so good and the ending such blinding perfection, that I couldn't help but feel giddy about the whole situation.
Heidi Heilig managed to write a story so original and compelling I did not realize how fast time had gone until I reached the last chapter (which was only in a few hours, mind you).
The world building is absolutely amazing: a combination of French colonialism, Asian customs and history, as well as a whole lot of bad-ass. Both cultures were blended so seamlessly and created such a beautiful undertone for the story.
The writing is lush and compelling, because not only is the story written in the format described above, but there are also letters as well as folklore stories that made the experience that much... 5/5 ⭐ Full review on Goodreads account, link in bio!