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Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose — to save France. Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of hero Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose — to save France. Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. She runs away from home, dresses in men’s clothes, and convinces an army that she will lead France to victory. As a girl in a man’s world, at a time when women truly had no power, Jehanne faced constant threats and violence from the men around her. Despite the impossible odds, Jehanne became a fearless warrior who has inspired generations. 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. 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.


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Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose — to save France. Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of hero Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose — to save France. Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. She runs away from home, dresses in men’s clothes, and convinces an army that she will lead France to victory. As a girl in a man’s world, at a time when women truly had no power, Jehanne faced constant threats and violence from the men around her. Despite the impossible odds, Jehanne became a fearless warrior who has inspired generations. 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. 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.

30 review for The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i have always been fascinated by joan of arc and im so sad her story is not one that is commonly retold. i love how much effort was put into the research behind this. fact is integrated very well into this reimagining of joans life and mission. i loved reading about what her childhood/home life might have been like, as well as her journey to liberate france. the content is endlessly captivating. however, i just didnt connect with writing. if a story is going to be told in verse, i want the writing i have always been fascinated by joan of arc and im so sad her story is not one that is commonly retold. i love how much effort was put into the research behind this. fact is integrated very well into this reimagining of joans life and mission. i loved reading about what her childhood/home life might have been like, as well as her journey to liberate france. the content is endlessly captivating. however, i just didnt connect with writing. if a story is going to be told in verse, i want the writing to feel poetic. but this just feels very underwhelming to me. its as if a regular prose sentence was separated with a few words on every line. i was missing that beautiful magic that poetry creates. its what could have made an interesting story into a work of art. so that kind of bummed me out. overall, i really enjoyed the subject but the writing left something to be desired. ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I absolutely loved this Joan Of Arc Reimagined! I’ve actually been looking for history books of Joan for quite some time and can find none available. If anyone can give me recs, I’d appreciate it! This book was great and sad 😕. Now I’m going to go paint the edges Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 I absolutely loved this Joan Of Arc Reimagined! I’ve actually been looking for history books of Joan for quite some time and can find none available. If anyone can give me recs, I’d appreciate it! This book was great and sad 😕. Now I’m going to go paint the edges Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I have always loved reading about Joan of Arc. A teenage girl in the 1400s is raised above her station and called by God to fight among men and unite France. It's amazing for it's time. It's amazing for any time. And Stephanie Hemphill does a wonderful job capturing the life and the legend of the Maid of Lorraine. In the Language of Fire, Joan is everything I thought her to be. She is courageous and strong but also humble and pious. Her character is complex and human. And while her life was fille I have always loved reading about Joan of Arc. A teenage girl in the 1400s is raised above her station and called by God to fight among men and unite France. It's amazing for it's time. It's amazing for any time. And Stephanie Hemphill does a wonderful job capturing the life and the legend of the Maid of Lorraine. In the Language of Fire, Joan is everything I thought her to be. She is courageous and strong but also humble and pious. Her character is complex and human. And while her life was filled with miracles she was very relatable. Some creative liberties were taken and most of which I had no problem with. However, I found one place in the book that made me pause. The very last line reads: "The girls who fear the fire inside themselves, I burned for them ". I get what the author is trying to do here but...UMM... No she didn't. While Joan's bravery is a great example for girls or anyone really, Joan is not some social justice warrior. While her story is empowering, she did not die to empower females. She died for her beliefs, that God called her to unite France and the English couldn't have her around to rally the troops against them. I have no problem with stories about female empowerment but Joan's life should speak for itself instead of having today's social/political issues woven into her narrative. With that said, I still recommend this book 100%! The last line gets a bit of an eye roll. The rest of the book get five fantastic stars and I would give it more if I could.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Verónica Fleitas Solich

    If Joan of Arc is mentioned, there I am. This narration in verse in Joan's voice was a profound experience that at times was difficult to read. She, recounting her anguish, her needs, her courage, her fears and her passion shaped a moving story that squeezed my heart painfully, that's why it took me so long to read it. This book caused me the constant need to come to Joan's rescue and for that alone, I think it was a marvelous job. It was nice to read a humanized Joan within all the mysticism of hi If Joan of Arc is mentioned, there I am. This narration in verse in Joan's voice was a profound experience that at times was difficult to read. She, recounting her anguish, her needs, her courage, her fears and her passion shaped a moving story that squeezed my heart painfully, that's why it took me so long to read it. This book caused me the constant need to come to Joan's rescue and for that alone, I think it was a marvelous job. It was nice to read a humanized Joan within all the mysticism of history.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    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. 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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 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 feel like I know more about Joan of Arc now, and I appreciate the further reading bit in the back. This book is so well written, and Joan's faith and belief in God shines through on every page. It's not a book I'll forget, and it's one I'll recommend every time Joan's (or Jehanne's) name crops up.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caylynn

    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 Ell 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 Elliott's novel told Joan of Arc's tale through visually stunning works of written art, Hemphill's book is made up of simple freeform poetry. Relatively short stanzas that don't even rhyme (which isn't usually a problem for me) fill up an unnecessary amount of pages. While I enjoyed the story itself for the most part, I don't think the author's style of writing fits with verse in general. I probably would've liked this book a lot more if it was told in a typical BOOK layout. Also, I hate to admit it... but I was a tad bit annoyed by how monotonous Joan was. There wasn't any change in regards to her POV and voice throughout the entirety of the novel. And since the whole story was told through her perspective, it really dragged the book to the point where I just wanted to skim some of the stanzas. The inclusion of multiple side characters is what really brought my love of Voices up a few notches, since Elliott used numerous forms of poetry to differentiate between each character's POV. If Hemphill had done this, I'm sure it would've broken up the repetitive flow of the story. I would definitely give this book a read if you love reading about Joan of Arc like I do. It wasn't a terrible novel, by any means, but I think that Voices dominates the JoA verse stories to the point where it has ruined every other one for me lol. I'll never say no to getting my hands on more tales about my favorite heroine, which is why I gave The Language of Fire 3/5 instead of 2/5.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    I don't usually write reviews; this was written for a school assignment. Stephanie Hemphill continues her tradition of giving voice to historical and misunderstood women with this captivating novelization-in-verse of Joan of Arc’s life. Born a peasant in a divided France, Jehanne’s one hope is to see her country united under its rightful king, Charles. Guided by the voice of God, she embarks on a quest to drive out the English and see Charles crowned. Hemphill’s novel introduces readers to this det I don't usually write reviews; this was written for a school assignment. Stephanie Hemphill continues her tradition of giving voice to historical and misunderstood women with this captivating novelization-in-verse of Joan of Arc’s life. Born a peasant in a divided France, Jehanne’s one hope is to see her country united under its rightful king, Charles. Guided by the voice of God, she embarks on a quest to drive out the English and see Charles crowned. Hemphill’s novel introduces readers to this determined teen of legend, from childhood through death. The first-person narrative, broken into short journal-like entries, humanizes the prophecy-fulfilling hero who was sainted almost 500 years after death. Readers will relate to Jehanne’s struggles with authority, gender expectations, life purpose, identity, and familial obligations. Hemphill’s use of Jehanne’s own spelling of her name as well as the French spellings of other names adds authenticity to the text and assists in differentiating between the many people named John/Joan. Although the threats of rape, descriptions of battles, and Jehanne’s frequent and detailed dreams of death by fire may be difficult to read, they are the unfortunate reality of Jehanne’s life. The prose foreword is daunting, but it provides important historical context for the story and where it fits in the long conflict between France and England. Backmatter includes an author’s note explaining Hemphill’s motivation in writing the story as well as where the narrative deviates from recorded fact. There is also a bibliography of suggested further reading. Highly recommended for literature and history studies, as well as leisure reading. Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  9. 4 out of 5

    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. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Athena of Velaris

    “I understand now my final purpose-- through my words and deeds to inspire others to find hope and strength to speak and act. The girls who fear the fire inside themselves, I burned for them.” This novel in verse was fine. Telling the famous story of Joan of Arc, it began with her childhood, ending on the date of her death. The poetry itself was mediocre, and did not blow me away. It often felt like the author was pressing enter too many times instead of actually writing lyrically. Personally, I am fascinated “I understand now my final purpose-- through my words and deeds to inspire others to find hope and strength to speak and act. The girls who fear the fire inside themselves, I burned for them.” This novel in verse was fine. Telling the famous story of Joan of Arc, it began with her childhood, ending on the date of her death. The poetry itself was mediocre, and did not blow me away. It often felt like the author was pressing enter too many times instead of actually writing lyrically. Personally, I am fascinated by Joan of Arc, but didn't find this particular narrative to be very compelling. Joan (called Jehanne) did not grow as a person, and she often felt stiff and unfeeling. None of the side characters stood out, and it was easy to forget who was who. That being said, this novel was super easy to read, and I found that it was hard to put down, especially after Part 1. “Perhaps it is easier For others To believe in you Than it is To believe In yourself.” I definitely enjoyed portions of this book, but it could have been 200 pages shorter. The beginning dragged, and the battle scenes were slightly glossed over. It focused mainly on Joan's trial, which is fine, I just would have liked to see more of Joan actually fighting for King and country. Overall, The Language of Fire wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly good either.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    This is the first YA book written in verse that I felt really nailed the execution. There were so many beautifully written sentences, but I never felt like the language's beauty was more important than the actual plot and voice of Jehanne. Everything about this book felt purposeful. I think this book could also be loved by both Catholics and non-Catholics because Jehanne is written as such a good character. This is the first YA book written in verse that I felt really nailed the execution. There were so many beautifully written sentences, but I never felt like the language's beauty was more important than the actual plot and voice of Jehanne. Everything about this book felt purposeful. I think this book could also be loved by both Catholics and non-Catholics because Jehanne is written as such a good character.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cara (Wilde Book Garden)

    Edit: Yeah, I'm dropping this to 2.5 stars. I just can't get on board with the way the author edited Joan's experiences and beliefs and then gave a really weird (and incorrect) reason for it. That, plus all the writing and characterization issues I had, means this was a 2.5 star book for me. *** Still deciding on a final rating for this one...somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. The first 2/3 was incredibly disappointing. The last 1/3 was obviously difficult to read because of the subject matter but ove Edit: Yeah, I'm dropping this to 2.5 stars. I just can't get on board with the way the author edited Joan's experiences and beliefs and then gave a really weird (and incorrect) reason for it. That, plus all the writing and characterization issues I had, means this was a 2.5 star book for me. *** Still deciding on a final rating for this one...somewhere between 2 and 3 stars. The first 2/3 was incredibly disappointing. The last 1/3 was obviously difficult to read because of the subject matter but overall was much better written and had a strong emotional impact, and Hemphill's characterization of Joan/Jehanne actually had some depth in this section. But wow, still a disappointment overall. I'm gonna need to wait for my wrap up to really sort out all the exact ways this didn't work for me, but just a few for starters: -turning Joan of Arc into a bland Strong Female Character™ for the first 300 pages -writing a novel in verse in a way that...basically was just stringing out regular sentences into multiple lines -some parts of the Author's Note REALLY rubbed me the wrong way. Specifically, Hemphill made the decision to write that Joan heard one voice, the voice of God, instead of the 3 voices she attests to in all the records: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. Which seems like an odd authorial choice, but whatever, maybe Stephanie Hemphill felt that simplifying that was really important for the story. But then, she gives her reasoning, and it's this: "I chose to simplify three voices into one, not only for ease of reading comprehension, but more importantly because although in the fifteenth century hearing the voices of saints was not hard for people to imagine, modern readers do not in large part pray to saints." ...Excuse me? I can definitively tell you that Roman Catholics still very much ask for the intercession of the saints, and I believe the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches do as well. (And while we're on the subject, no Christian denomination prays TO saints or worships them - we ask them to pray for us. This might sound nitpicky, and maybe it is, but it's something we get accused of all the time and you'd think someone who did so much research on Joan of Arc would come across that information at least once.) And it would have been so easy to avoid the issue! If the author made the decision because she believed it would make her book more accessible/relatable to more people, it still seems like a weird detail to change, but whatever, that's fine. Just say in your author's note that you did it for those reasons. But don't act like it's because saints just aren't relevant anymore or that the story wouldn't be understandable if you didn't alter that aspect. Also, I'm in no way saying that the three denominations listed above outrank other belief systems or should be the deciding factor of what an author does! Just that with the way the author worded things, she made it sound like *almost no one* is concerned with saints anymore, so she *had* to change an important detail of Joan's story. Anyway. Still stewing over my rating and how much I should let these personal feelings affect that. In the meantime, I would highly recommend David Elliott's Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc over this book. Different structure and set-up, but much better written in my opinion. CW: War, grief, sleep and water deprivation torture, threat of rape, execution, death by burning; off-page: death in childbirth, stillbirth; references to: torture

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    I don't know much about the story of Joan of Arc other than the simple details of her hearing angels, helping to crown the Dauphin, and subsequently being burnt at the stake by the English. That being said, I really enjoyed this book! The point of view of Jehanne (as she called herself) was so vivid. I felt as if I was with her throughout her journey. However, I would have enjoyed knowing what was happening in a broader sense, like what other people were thinking or doing. I might end up looking I don't know much about the story of Joan of Arc other than the simple details of her hearing angels, helping to crown the Dauphin, and subsequently being burnt at the stake by the English. That being said, I really enjoyed this book! The point of view of Jehanne (as she called herself) was so vivid. I felt as if I was with her throughout her journey. However, I would have enjoyed knowing what was happening in a broader sense, like what other people were thinking or doing. I might end up looking for more novels and nonfiction to help expand my knowledge of this time period. It was also very interesting to read this after watching Netflix's "The King", starring Timothee Chalamet. The movie shows the events that led to the Hundred Years War. I'm not sure of its accuracy, since I haven't read much about the war. But the idea that the war wasn't intentionally started by the English is interesting to compare to Jehanne's view of the English as a horrible enemy. Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than Hemphill's other work, "Wicked Girls". The verse writing style merged well with this story and the plot was much less juvenile. If you're interested in Joan of Arc, the Hundred Years War, or French history, I highly recommend "The Language of Fire".

  14. 4 out of 5

    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 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 heard from three saints) at 13. I can't even imagine how terrifying that must have been or how hard it would be to find the courage to believe that you're really supposed to lead the French army and get the correct person on the throne. It'd be hard enough to believe it today, but back in the 1400s when women didn't do anything but get married and have kids? Hard pass. While I learned a great deal about Jehanne while reading this, it didn't feel at all like homework. She was a trailblazer although I don't think she would've agreed with that assessment; she felt she was just doing what God wanted.  As Stephanie Hemphill pointed out, she's the only female warrior most people can name and the only woman who saved a country who wasn't born into a royal family. (She was actually a peasant.) It's an amazing legacy, but it's also more than time for there to be multiple examples of this. At any rate, I loved this book and hope to read more about Joan of Arc.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffani Reads

    At the young age of 12, I was introduced to the story of Joan of Arc. Ever since then she has been someone in history that I had searched out books about. This book stays true to her life for the most part, the author does talk about changing or interpreting some details for the sake of the story. Like the parts about Joan’s childhood, which little is known. Told in verse, this may be one of my favourite retellings of her life and ultimate death. There are just a few things keeping me from givin At the young age of 12, I was introduced to the story of Joan of Arc. Ever since then she has been someone in history that I had searched out books about. This book stays true to her life for the most part, the author does talk about changing or interpreting some details for the sake of the story. Like the parts about Joan’s childhood, which little is known. Told in verse, this may be one of my favourite retellings of her life and ultimate death. There are just a few things keeping me from giving it a full five stars. Some of the pacing was off for me, and I found myself having to reread passages for them to make sense. Overall I would give this book, 4.25 stars and I recommend that anyone with an interest in Joan of Arc check this book out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emilee King

    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

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    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 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-fiction. But I guess it is a combination between actual facts and how the author imagined things happening. But truthfully when I saw that the book was called "Joan of Arc Reimagined" I was sort of hoping for a different type of retelling. Maybe a contemporary setting. Or the author completely re-imagining Joan's life. But that is not what this book is at all. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the way this story was told. It was a very interesting way to tell the story. It is basically the retelling of a famous historical figure told through verse. Thanks to edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for allowing me to read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen-Jen

    Joan of Arc is one of my favourite female figures from history and I thought that this story told in verse was excellent. I wasn't expecting it to be 400 pages long but I flew through this, and I didn't want it to end. I noted down so much of my favourite parts and imagery: "The surface of the lake is blackened as though it has been scorched by dragon's breath." - pg 64 "Our eyes lock like two swords clashing." - pg 163 Seeing Joan's journey was inspiring but also tragic as you already know how it's Joan of Arc is one of my favourite female figures from history and I thought that this story told in verse was excellent. I wasn't expecting it to be 400 pages long but I flew through this, and I didn't want it to end. I noted down so much of my favourite parts and imagery: "The surface of the lake is blackened as though it has been scorched by dragon's breath." - pg 64 "Our eyes lock like two swords clashing." - pg 163 Seeing Joan's journey was inspiring but also tragic as you already know how it's going to end. There are moments where my heart racer in anger as men were threatening her and joking about her virginity which was uncomfortable. The story was heavy and the last 50 pages of the book hit me hard. I thoroughly enjoyed Hemphill's writing style and I really want to dive into her other work. I think that anyone who hasn't experienced a book told in verse before, I'd recommend starting with The Language of Fire. Five star read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Ferencz

    This book took me a while to read, but I learned a lot about Joan of Arc and appreciated the way the author helped take us inside the story and situation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin Pelletier

    I do love a good heroine story that’s historically accurate. And I do so love a novel in verse. This novel has both. I’ve always loved Joan of Arc. This story chronicles Joan’s earlyish life to her martyrdom. Creative liberties were taken. But overall, it’s based in history.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    My first novel in verse! Beautiful and haunting.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shauna Yusko

    Long but good. Pair with Elliott’s Voices

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    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). 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).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I've always been fascinated with Joan of Arc and this reimagining of her life was a wonderful exploration into her journey. I am inspired by her. Although I'm not particularly religious, I am her for Joan because she was steadfast in her beliefs and although she may not have intended to be she was quite ahead of her time. I've always been fascinated with Joan of Arc and this reimagining of her life was a wonderful exploration into her journey. I am inspired by her. Although I'm not particularly religious, I am her for Joan because she was steadfast in her beliefs and although she may not have intended to be she was quite ahead of her time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book is a stunner, an epic work of poetry retelling the story of Joan of Arc in a very accessible and modern way. It’s meticulously researched and focuses more than anything on her humanity—her fears, her doubts, her devotion, and her bravery. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a story all girls and women need right now. She spoke her truth and never backed down. She was a true warrior.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I love novels in verse and I love historical fiction and I really love strong, warrior women. This version of Joan of Arc's story begins with the horrific knowledge that our protagonist will be burned at the stake. Then reading the story of this unwavering and powerful teenage girl makes us ache. I love novels in verse and I love historical fiction and I really love strong, warrior women. This version of Joan of Arc's story begins with the horrific knowledge that our protagonist will be burned at the stake. Then reading the story of this unwavering and powerful teenage girl makes us ache.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vanshikha Vij

    “ Perhaps it is easier for others to believe in you than it is to believe in yourself ” Let’s talk the The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined I’m not going to lie when I say this was a cover read for me. I was browsing, looking for a new book to read when I saw the gorgeous cover, and decided I needed to read it. It doesn’t take an expert to see that the cover is beautiful! Whoever designed this deserves an award. The colors work so well together, and work well with the image and cont “ Perhaps it is easier for others to believe in you than it is to believe in yourself ” Let’s talk the The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined I’m not going to lie when I say this was a cover read for me. I was browsing, looking for a new book to read when I saw the gorgeous cover, and decided I needed to read it. It doesn’t take an expert to see that the cover is beautiful! Whoever designed this deserves an award. The colors work so well together, and work well with the image and content of the story. The more muted background color with the black outline of Joan pops and is drawn to attention by the bold orange and pinks of the flames and other decorative elements on the cover. While I picked the story up because of the cover, that isn’t why I continued on with it. Stephanie Hemphill has AMAZING writing! This was my first read from her, and it's safe to say I will definitely pick up another book from her in the future. The imagery and language used throughout the story gave me GOOSEBUMPS. Her writing is fantastic, providing images for even the darkest of moments within this era of French history. Everything from the relationships to the battle itself, to the very ending was written in such a beautiful, lyrical manner. I went into this not knowing a single thing about Joan of Arc or the Hundred Year’s War and the impact she had on France. Knowing the history before reading isn’t needed as Hemphill does a spectacular job at keeping the timeline of events clear and coordinated for the reader. In the case that you would like to know some history about Joan of Arc I am here to save you the trouble of a google search. If you don’t want to know about the history and would like to go into the book blind, STOP reading this now. Joan of Arc was a peasant girl who lived in France. She believed that God had chosen her to lead France to its victory after a long ongoing war with England. With no military training, and the challenges of being a woman during the fifteenth century Joan convinced Prince Charles of Valois to let her lead the French army to the city of Orléans. After seeing the prince crowned as King Charles VII, Joan was captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces. She was ultimately tried for witchcraft and heresy and was burned at the stake. This information is obviously conveyed throughout the length of the book. But on the off chance that you wish for more information about Joan, Hemphill added some of her favorite parts of her research as well as a timeline of kings during the war in the last chunk of the book. On the note of research, Hemphill’s time and dedication to research for this book is commendable. She put so much effort into understanding the events and people at the time. It’s the small details like spelling Joan’s name as Jehanne as it was signed during the trial that really displayed her dedication to the story. One final aspect I enjoyed about this book, and perhaps my favorite was the repeated discussion of feminism. Jehanne is known as La Pucelle which translates to the virgin. On many accounts in the story people threaten to take her virginity away or claim that she was a whore, all because she was a woman in power. Every couple of pages had a challenge regarding Jehanne being a female leader in a time where this was never before seen. I loved to see her will and strength shine through every obstacle she encountered. She knew what she needed to get done and she would do it. Out of every line in the book, one section stood out to me the most. If anything in this review sums up Jehanne as a person and character, this is it. “ I understand now my final purpose- through my words and deeds to inspire others to find hope and strength to speak and act. ” “ The girls who fear the fire inside themselves, I burned for them.”

  28. 5 out of 5

    River

    How many characters in this novel were named Jean/Jeanne? Your guess is as good as mine! I decided to pick Stephanie Hemphill’s “The Language of Fire” up as a way to get out of a reading slump because: (A) I was already enamored and familiar with the story of Jeanne d’Arc, and (B) it was a verse novel, so I expected to fly through it quickly. When I picked up my copy, I was surprised to see how dense it was. Like, almost 500 pages dense. For some, it seemed too long and Hemphill seemed to get too How many characters in this novel were named Jean/Jeanne? Your guess is as good as mine! I decided to pick Stephanie Hemphill’s “The Language of Fire” up as a way to get out of a reading slump because: (A) I was already enamored and familiar with the story of Jeanne d’Arc, and (B) it was a verse novel, so I expected to fly through it quickly. When I picked up my copy, I was surprised to see how dense it was. Like, almost 500 pages dense. For some, it seemed too long and Hemphill seemed to get too much into detail. However, for me, the length seemed like an opportunity to really dive into the almost mythical character of Jeanne d’Arc and humanize her. One of the things in this book I liked was the way Hemphill explores Jeanne’s relationships. Whether it be with her parents, her fellow soldiers, or the few interactions she has with women despite being on a mission that many people of her time would consider a 'man’s job'. The book also expands on Jeanne’s battles, making the reader feel the anticipation that comes with a fight. In the same manner, the trial of Jeanne is also drawn out, making the final judgment and execution even more heartbreaking. When “The Language of Fire” first hit the shelves, I remember seeing it next to David Elliott’s “Voices” — another verse novel about Jeanne d’Arc. You can definitely read the two together and feel like they expand one another. While Elliott’s book allows others to assess Jeanne’s character, Jeanne tells her own story in Hemphill’s. However, I enjoyed Elliott’s novel more since he made more creative moves and his work actually read like verse. Although Hemphill’s poetry is accessible, it felt more like bare prose. If we were going to get a 500-page book about Jeanne d’Arc, I would have much preferred it done in prose with dynamic scenes and full conversations. Still, I really enjoyed “The Language of Fire” for really exploring the brief yet fully lived life of Jeanne. I give this book 2.5 to 3 stars. It’s always fun to read about Jeanne. Despite her impact, I feel like there are very few fiction books — especially in the YA department — that tell/retell her story. For anyone interested in reading this book, trigger warnings for rape and sexual assault. While none happen ‘on-screen’, there is an assault attempt on Jeanne and there are rape threats made. Unfortunately, these were the times she was living in, but Hemphill doesn’t go into graphic or prolonged detail about it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    This beautiful cover holds a retelling of an amazing young adult who rose above many obstacles and many hardships to follow the path of her calling: to save France. This verse novel describes the bravery and the amazingly belief of a 17 year old girl, Jehanne (Joan of Arc). Do not doubt this, Jehanne. You are the girl from the old prophecy. You will be called La Pucelle. You will lead an army. And you will save France. In the author's notes, Stephanie tells more about her inspiration about her n This beautiful cover holds a retelling of an amazing young adult who rose above many obstacles and many hardships to follow the path of her calling: to save France. This verse novel describes the bravery and the amazingly belief of a 17 year old girl, Jehanne (Joan of Arc). Do not doubt this, Jehanne. You are the girl from the old prophecy. You will be called La Pucelle. You will lead an army. And you will save France. In the author's notes, Stephanie tells more about her inspiration about her novels. I put it in spoiler protection since it is at the end of the novel. (view spoiler)[ Stephanie's books deal with girl empowerment or lack of in some cases, such in Joan's time period (14th century). Joan of Arc is an interesting case like Stephanie writes. Jehanne has become a symbol of female strength, she would not have seen herself like that. She would have seen herself as simply doing what was required, not making a statement about gender identity or empowerment or women's role in society. She was following a mission from God. I understand now my final purpose - through my words and deeds to inspire others to find hope and strength to speak and act. The girls who fear the fire inside themselves, I burned for them (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tesia Lewis

    The Appalachian Bookworm content warnings: mentions of rape and assault, death, war *************************** The Language of Fire by Stephanie Hemphill is a retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. Although I haven’t done much research into the tragically short life of Joan of Arc, I have always been intrigued by her story. When I saw this beautiful cover on the shelf in the used bookstore, I was immediately drawn in. But when I saw that it was written in verse, I knew that I had to have it. Even The Appalachian Bookworm content warnings: mentions of rape and assault, death, war *************************** The Language of Fire by Stephanie Hemphill is a retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. Although I haven’t done much research into the tragically short life of Joan of Arc, I have always been intrigued by her story. When I saw this beautiful cover on the shelf in the used bookstore, I was immediately drawn in. But when I saw that it was written in verse, I knew that I had to have it. Even though I was trying to avoid buying anything that wasn’t already on my TBR. It starts off relatively strong, with beautiful descriptions of Joan’s home and family, the life she led before she first heard the voice of God. When Joan begins her mission to liberate France from the English, the writing becomes much less poetic, and a little clunky at times. It sometimes took me out of the story because it felt a bit like I was reading a history textbook. However, the time and effort put into researching is definitely what makes the story what it is. I enjoyed learning more about Joan of Arc and there were a few lines that were just absolutely wonderful. I just wish it had been more poetic.

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