Yes, hello there! I’m not even sure I can write this post today, or ever. I go back and forth, not sure where to begin or where to go. Maybe I’m still very Emotional after finishing We Unleash the Merciless Storm. Hmmm, maybe we can start there.
Exactly one year ago, a book that blew my mind, filled my heart with joy and made me an annoying stan, came out. It was my first ever review on the blog! I created an original book tag! I didn’t know how to contain my love, I refused to contain my love, so I was everywhere praising this wonderful Latinx sapphic book.
Its sequel was probably, hands down, my most anticipated sequel ever. And now that I have read it, I’m not sure what to do with my life? THIS FREAKING SERIES OH MY GOD. Tehlor’s mind snapped and she outdid herself here.
I have a lot of feelings for these books, as you can see, and at this point, I’m not even sure how to express my love anymore. I don’t think people find amusing anymore my all caps tweets and reaction memes. So here I am, trying to find and use words to sort of construct a love letter. Yes, a love letter to Dani, Carmen and Tehlor, because I can’t review this series yet. I can’t be serious or talk about the genius themes of these books, my mind is still screaming.
What I loved of We Set the Dark On Fire
- It’s a story of revolution, fighting against a system of oppression
- Dani is the best, that’s it. She is the best.
- Rivals to lovers sapphic romance
- An unapologetic Latinx world
- A book about hope
I was in love with these characters, by how gay Dani is, by how clear her crush for Carmen is for everyone except her, in love with the slow burn romance that was so satisfying and good. I was so deeply touched by how this book dealt with xenophobia, machismo, and classicism with a rawness and respect that I haven’t seen before. This is a story of individual and collective rebellion, and I can’t even explain how powerful that is when it centers a brown, Latinx sapphic immigrant girl. When the Latinx community breathes the patriarchy, when the voices of immigrants are being silent… Dani is the center of her own story but not the center of the revolution, she’s allowed to reclaim her autonomy and to fight for her community at the same time. This is Dani’s story and the story of her people. It’s mind-blowing, for real, the power of that statement.
What I loved of We Unleash the Merciless Storm
- Character growth
- 10 times gayer
- Higher stakes, more intense and darker
- Found family
- Hope, again, everything is these books come back to hope
I was in awe of this sequel, Tehlor not only expanded the world-building but also showed a whole new side of the characters that we haven’t seen before. The duality of Carmen, her shadows and lights, her fears and pains. Oh god, it was so painful to read but amazing. She goes on such an incredible self-journey that left me with tears in my eyes. It’s clear with this book how this series is all about individual and collective rebellion. And Carmen’s revolution is CHEF’S KISS.
Let me tell you, friends, this book is way gayer. Carmen’s love and heartache were so raw and out of the page. Dani and Carmen’s relationship is very intense, revolutionary and powerful. There’s banter! And kisses! And important discussions to make their relationship grow! But also, their love for each other is so unapologetic and big and an unstoppable force that I was so taken aback for a minute. How much I needed that from Latinx sapphic girls. It gave me ten more years of my life.
The book kept me at the edge of the seat, holding tight with fear as things were very tricky, dangerous and hopeless. While we understood everything Dani sacrificed, she still was living in the privileged part of the Medio, here, here we see what it means to be poor and an immigrant in this world. It’s painfully, very painfully, realistic, a hard slap in the face. However, Tehlor would never leave us without hope, and this story is also such a beautiful portrait of a community, of family, of love.
As an immigrant, let me tell you, community is essential for our survival. My heart hurt, hurt from seeing all these people, who have so much to lose, coming together to protect and care. The goodness of humanity, connecting to other people’s pain and suffering, is a big part of the story. And I love Carmen’s realization about how it’s, in its own way, an act of revolution, too.
That’s one thing I took from this book: how revolution can look so different and it’s all equally important. Revolution is not only fighting, small acts of defiance or resistance are also part of the revolution.
I mentioned found family, too, and I’m not sure exactly how to talk about it without revealing anything. But friends, it’s AMAZING and one of my favorite things in the book. This book is very much Latinx, and you’re probably tired of me talking about it, but there’s so much POWER of a group of different, equally strong and brave, Latinx people forming a loyal and fierce family.
We Unleash the Merciless Storm was fantastic, nothing like I have ever read, exquisite. And yes, my favorite book of the series, and one of the best books of my life.
I had cried enough writing this post, making threads and posts on bookstagram. Hopefully by now some of the reasons why I love these books so much are coherent. I feel so seen and validated with Tehlor’s words. I’m very sad that Dani and Carmen’s story ended yesterday, but the hope and love they gave me? Yeah, that I will never forget.
Just read it, read the whole series. And come back when you want to scream at Tehlor for being so mean. And we can unleash that storm together!